6 September 2012 Archived
Born to a Jewish family in Durban, Vivienne Linder, nee Adley was educated at the Maris Stella Convent before continuing her singing and drama training at the University of Natal Durban, where she spent the next three years under the watchful eye of Elizabeth Sneddon. In 1957, having completed her degree, she continued at the Webber-Douglas School of Singing and Dramatic Art in London, where she was one of the debutantes presented to the Queen at Buckingham Palace in the summer of 1958.
After studying and performing in London for three years, Vivienne left the glitz and glamour of the West End to return to South Africa in 1960 for her first local production, Let’s Make an Opera, staged at the Alexander Theatre, Johannesburg. The performance drew on both her singing and acting skills.
In 1961 she starred in The King Of Diamonds, the new musical about the life of Barney Barnato, who began his career in the musical halls of London and whom Harry Oppenheimer in the programme introduction described as the “mercurial figure from Whitechapel, whose remarkable business flair carried him from ‘gags to riches’”. No less a figure than Anna Neethling Pohl commended Vivienne’s talent, stage personality and her soothing voice and wished her luck with her “natural and charming performance”.
But her passion lay in singing. A talented chanteuse with “a sparkling voice and personality to match”, she enchanted her audiences, who often gave her standing ovations as at the Hotel Edward’s famous, but notoriously intimidating, Causerie restaurant. Those were the days of a bygone era, when an evening’s outing to a restaurant usually included fine dining, quality entertainment and dancing.
‘Vivacious Viv’, as she was often called, was also famous for her sophisticated style, wearing glamorous evening gowns or slinky sheath dresses with plunging necklines offset by elegant jewellery, which she carried off with grace and poise. Her striking beauty and ability to manipulate her sultry voice in ‘torch’ songs made her a sensual and riveting performer.
Her blend of cabaret and musical comedy ensured that she was a hit with audiences. In addition to praise for her singing, she earned critical commendation for her mischievous personality and humorous patter, and was often likened to stars such as Julie Andrews and Eartha Kitt.
Vivienne’s flair for accents and comedy made her popular amongst younger audiences, including those at many children’s hostels, where she took time out of her busy career to do voluntary work.
Her desire to start her own family took priority over Vivienne’s career when she met and married surgeon, Leslie Linder, a Londoner, in 1965. The couple had two children, Richard and Andrew, on whose behalf her collection is offered.
The Vivienne Linder Collection of Jewellery
Strauss & Co, Monday 8 October 2012 at 12pm
The Vineyard Hotel, Newlands, Cape Town
firstname.lastname@example.org/ 021 683 6560