Dr Margreta Elkins AM



"The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not mov'd with concord of sweet sounds, Is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils." 

(The Merchant of Venice)

It is fitting that in an age of technology the University of Queensland should recognise the importance of the role of music in modern life. We have a flourishing Faculty of Music and a number of its students are graduating tonight. The Mayne Hall is one of Brisbane's fmest Concert Halls and the University regularly presents concerts that are distinguished by the breadth of their repertoire and by the quality of the performers. 

It is therefore particularly fitting that we should honour the presence amongst us of a great Queensland artist whose voice has enriched the operatic stages of the world for over thirty years. 

The Mezzo-Soprano Margreta Ann Enid Elkins was born in Brisbane and in 1950 she made an auspicious debut with the Brisbane Opera Company as Azucena in Verdi's Il Trovatore. The role has become identified with her and she has recently sung it again with striking success with the Australian Opera in Brisbane's Lyric Theatre. 

After her debut, Margreta Elkins made equally well-received appearances in Sydney and Melbourne before departing in 1956 for the United Kingdom. 

There she later joined the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, as a Principal Resident Artist. Amongst her many achievements during her ten years with the Royal Opera House was her creation of the role of Helen of Troy in the world premiere of Sir Michael Tippett's opera King Priam. 

After appearing with great distinction in the Sutherland/Williamson Australian Opera season of 1965 and in various opera houses in Europe and America, she returned to Australia to join the Australian Opera in 1976. 

In these years as an artist of international reputation, Margreta Elkins has thrilled audiences throughout the world with her singing of a very wide range of roles. These have included Amneris in Aida, Brangaene in Tristan and Isolde, Sieglinde in The Valkyrie, Azucena in Il Trovatore, Adalgisa in Norma, Oktavian in Der Rosenkavalier, Tatiana in Eugene Onegin and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni. Apart from her career based at the Royal Opera House, she has sung these and many other roles with the Australian Opera, the English National Opera and the Lyric Opera of Queens- land. She has also appeared with orchestras of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on many occasions. 

In 1984 Margreta Elkins' long and distinguished career in world opera was recognised when she was made a Member of the Order of Australia for her services to music. 

Margreta Elkins has become a shining ornament on the Queensland, Australian and international operatic scene. Apart from her own performances, she has always maintained her encouragement of younger performers and students and has particularly endeavoured to impart the benefits of her knowledge, skills and experience to young Queenslanders through her association with the Queensland Conservatorium of Music. 

Mr Chancellor, For her distinguished contribution to music and especially to opera in Queensland, in Australia and internationally, I present to you Margreta Ann Enid Elkins, Member of the Order of Australia, for admission to the degree of Doctor of Music, honoris causa, to which she has been admitted by the Senate of the University. 


Doctor of Music honoris causa