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Audrey Mildmay (19 December 1900 – 31 May 1953) was an English and Canadian soprano and co-founder, with her husband, John Christie, of Glyndebourne Festival Opera. The Canadian Encyclopedia describes her voice "as a light lyric soprano employed with much charm."
Grace Audrey Louisa St. John Mildmay was born in Herstmonceux, Sussex, England. Her father was Aubrey St John Mildmay, a British Anglican priest, and when she was three months old he accepted the parish of Penticton, British Columbia in Canada. She initially studied the piano, but a singing teacher discovered the potential of her voice.
Mildmay first appeared publicly in a children's operetta production sponsored by the Vancouver Woman's Musical Club at the age of 18. She travelled to London to study with Walter Johnstone Douglas at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in 1924.
In 1927–28, she toured the United States and Canada as Polly in a production of The Beggar's Opera. She returned to the United Kingdom and joined the Carl Rosa Opera Company with which she sang, amongst other roles, Musetta in La bohème, Gretel in Hansel and Gretel, Micaëla in Carmen, Nedda in Pagliacci and Zerlina in Don Giovanni, earning £2 10s a week.
Mildmay's teacher Johnstone Douglas suggested to John Christie that she sing the part of Blonde in an amateur production of Act I of Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail in December 1930. Christie was a music lover who modified his house at Glyndebourne to be able to host concerts for his family and friends. Mildmay was paid £5 for her appearance in a hilarious performance, full of comic mishaps. The 48-year-old bachelor Christie was immediately smitten by the much younger Mildmay's charm and vivacity, and during a tour of the house, he impulsively showed her the room that he said they would share after their marriage. He showered her with gifts after her departure, including hampers from Fortnum & Mason because he felt she was too thin. Mildmay was unsure, asking for time to decide and begging Christie not to fall in love with her.