Thursday, June 17, 2010

Maureen Forrester: A great Canadian, an epic Talent

World-renowned contralto Maureen Forrester dies 

(From the Toronto Star)

Surrounded by her children, one of Canada’s best known contraltos died in Toronto on Wednesday from Alzheimer’s complications. She was 79.

Growing up with the CBC as I did, Maureen Forrester was a regular TV presence.  She was really my first exposure to opera.  I remember feeling particularly cultured when in grade eight I got to sing the father's role in our school production of Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel.  (Only because my voice broke first). Performing as the witch's in that production (At the Met, not Queen Street School's) was one of her more popular roles.

“One of her funny songs later in life was bemoaning the fact that she always played mothers, witches, bitches, but never the bride,” said Gina Dineen, her daughter.

Forrester grew up in a working-class Montreal family and dropped out of school when she was 13. She started her singing career as a member of a church choir, singing during ladies’ tea time. Within years, she was touring Canada and Europe, where her rich voice startled the audience.

Forrester was well known for performing classical music and opera. She was especially revered for her interpretation of Gustav Mahler’s symphonies, but her family says she did everything in her career, performing in productions of Cinderella, Gilbert and Sullivan pieces and cabaret numbers. Her versatility was her specialty. The consummate performer even danced with Karen Kain on one occasion.

In addition to receiving a myriad of honorary degrees and doctorates, Forrester was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1990, and became chair of the Canada Council in 1983. She was made a Companion of the Order of Canada in 1967, and received the Order of Ontario in 1990.

" Erbarme dich, mein Gott " , Bach

No comments:

Post a Comment

Share It If You Like It