Esther Palliser was born to a musical family in Philadelphia. She studied on the Continent with Mme Viardot Garcia and Mme Marchesi, through the last of whom she probably met Sullivan.
Esther Palliser appeared in "Ivanhoe" and "Haddon Hall" In the New York production of "The Gondoliers" she played Gianetta, a role in which she occasionally appeared at the Savoy.
She sang for three seasons at Covent Garden where, in addition to playing Santuzza and Brangaene, she alternated with Nellie Melba in "Faust". She sang in "Alexander's Feast" by Handel and "Bach's B Minor Mass", both conducted by Sullivan at the Leeds Festival in 1898.