Forrester Maureen (Kathleen Stewart)

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Forrester Maureen (Kathleen Stewart)

Forrester, Maureen (Kathleen Stewart),

outstanding Canadian contralto; b. Montreal, July 25, 1930. She studied piano and sang in Montreal church choirs. At 16, she began vocal training with Sally Martin in Montreal; at 19, she became a student of Frank Rowe; at 20, she found a mentor in Bernard Diamant, with whom she continued to work for over a decade; she also had lessons with Michael Raucheisen in Berlin in 1955. On Dec. 8, 1951, she made her professional debut in Elgar’s The Music Makers with the Montreal Elgar Choir. Her recital debut followed in Montreal on March 29, 1953. On Feb. 14, 1955, she made her European debut in a recital at the Salle Gaveau in Paris, and then toured throughout Europe. She made her N.Y. debut at Town Hall on Nov. 12, 1956. Her extraordinary success as a soloist in Mahler’s 2nd Sym. with Bruno Walter and theN.Y Phil, on Feb. 17, 1957, set the course of a brilliant international career as a concert artist. In subsequent years, she appeared as a soloist with most of the principal conductors and orchs. of the world, and also gave numerous recitals. From 1965 to 1974 she was a member of the Bach Aria Group in N.Y., and also served as chairman of the voice dept. at the Philadelphia Musical Academy (1966–71). She also began to give increasing attention to opera. On May 28, 1962, she made her Toronto stage debut as Gluck’s Orfeo. In 1963 she appeared as Brangane at the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires. She made her U.S. stage debut as Cornelia in Handel’s Julius Caesar at the N.Y. City Opera on Sept. 27, 1966. On Feb. 10, 1975, she made her Metropolitan Opera debut in N.Y. as Erda in Das Rheingold. In 1982 she appeared as Madame de la Haltiere in Massenet’s Cendrillon at the San Francisco Opera. In 1990 she made her debut at Milan’s La Scala as the Countess in The Queen of Spades. From 1983 to 1988 she was chairperson of the Canada Council, and from 1986 to 1990 she was chancellor of Wilfrid Laurier Univ. She received over 30 honorary doctorates. In 1967 she was made a Companion of the Order of Canada and in 1990 received the Order of Ontario. With M. MacDonald, she wrote Out of Character: A Memoir (Toronto, 1986). In spite of her later success in opera, Forrester’s reputation was first and foremost that of a remarkable interpreter of solo works with orch., oratorio, and Lieder.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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