Lily Elsie (Mrs Bullough), c.1916. Sir James Jebusa Shannon (American, 1862-1923). Oil on canvas. National Portrait Gallery.
Elsie’s biggest success came in creating the title role in the English-language version of The Merry Widow in the London production (1907). George Edwardes took Elsie to see the original German version (Die Lustige Witwe) in Berlin. Elsie was at first reluctant to take on the demanding part, thinking her voice too light for the role, but Edwardes persuaded her to accept.