DUET by Webster Booth and Anne Ziegler.

I added the following review of Duet to Jean Collen’s site this morning. The link to her bookstore is: JEAN COLLEN’S BOOKSTORE


Duet, the autobiography of famous British duettists, Webster Booth and Anne Ziegler, was originally published by Stanley Paul in 1951. Sixty-five years later Jean Collen has digitised the book and made it available as a paperback, epub and pdf book. She gives her sincere thanks to John Marwood who proofread the book most painstakingly. Webster and Anne tell the exciting story of their rise to fame, and their sensational romance. After Webster’s divorce from Paddy Prior, his second wife, he and Anne married and became the most popular duettists of their day, earning them the deserved title of Sweethearts of Song.
By Fiona Compton
May 31, 2016
I read this book many years ago and am delighted that it has been digitised and once again available to those who are interested in reading about the illustrious careers of tenor Webster Booth and soprano Anne Ziegler. Although the book was written by a ghost-writer, the tone of the alternate chapters written in turn by Anne and Webster captures the personalities of both writers – Webster’s writing is more measured and thoughtful than Anne’s enthusiastic, spontaneous writing. Webster Booth had one of the finest British tenor voices of the twentieth century and had a distinguished career in oratorio and recording in his own right. Anne Ziegler had a pleasant light soprano voice and a charming personality, but she was never in the same vocal class as her husband. This book is entitled “Duet”, so the emphasis of the book is on the work the couple did together as duettists on the concert and variety stage. I thoroughly enjoyed the book but I would have liked to have heard more about Webster’s distinguished solo singing career. No doubt this book was responsible for giving people the idea that Webster was merely a romantic duettist in partnership with his wife, doing nothing more than singing light songs together with her. Despite this reservation, the book moves at lightning pace and is most enjoyable. I recommend it highly. 
The digitised book has been published as a paperback and as an e-book (epub). Links below:


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Book reviews

I have been reading The
Noel Coward Diaries
edited by Graham Payn and Sheridan Morley  (1982) and am nearly
at the end of this large volume of over 650 pages. The diaries extend from 1941
(several years before my birth) to 1969 when Noel Coward was about to be knighted.
                                                         Cole Lesley and Noel Coward.
I found this a fascinating book which gave a clear view into
Noel Coward’s busy and successful life. I dare say that he might have had a
fair inkling that these diaries would be published after his death, but despite
this, he did not pull any punches in what he said about people he met;  plays, films, concerts and operas he attended;
and books he read.
He was a hard worker. He took roles in films and plays,
performed in cabaret, and was always busy writing a new play or novel. He
travelled extensively, and although he had many famous friends in theatre and royal
circles, his inner circle of intimate friends was small and he remained loyal
to them throughout his life – Cole Lesley, Graham Payne and Lorn Lorraine. The last-mentioned was his secretary and manager from 1924 until her death.
By the time his diary reached the nineteen-sixties his
health was deteriorating. He was sad that Graham Payn was not making a success
of his stage career and wrote a touching entry about Graham on 24 November
1966, “He has a loving and loyal heart and no future anywhere but with me… ”
I saw Noel Coward in his last West End performance in 1966 –
Shadows of the Evening and Come into the Garden, Maud at the Queen’s
Theatre. His co-stars were Irene Worth and Lilli Palmer. Apparently Irene Worth
could do no wrong, while Lilli Palmer presented him with numerous irritating problems
during the run of the play. I will always remember seeing a chaffeur-driven
Rolls Royce arriving at the stage door to fetch Noel Coward after his
performance. He waved graciously at the hoi
as the car drove off.
Noel Coward died in 1973. On the day of his death, British
tenor, Webster Booth was in East London directing The Mikado. He and I were having tea and cream scones at Marina
Glen  that afternoon and spoke of him.


I recommend this book to anyone interested in the inner
workings of the theatre. Noel Coward’s diary is beautifully written and gives
fascinating insights into the theatre,  the critics, and the vagaries of a number of
famous performers, by a multi-talented performer, writer and composer who certainly
deserved the title of The Master.
Fiona Compton.
17 December 2015.