Maureen Forrester

Biography

Born: July 25, 1930; Montreal, Quebec, Canada   Died: June 16, 2010; Toronto, ONT  
Canada's most famous contralto, Maureen Forrester, began her vocal studies with Sally Martin in Montreal and later studied with Frank Rowe and Bernard Diamant. Her first professional appearance came in a recital at Montreal in 1953, and she began a musical collaboration with pianist John Newmark which lasted until his death in 1991. In 1955 she went to Paris for a recital, and her New York debut recital was one year later. That recital brought Read more her to the attention of Bruno Walter who asked her to sing the contralto solos in the Second Symphony of Mahler with the New York Philharmonic the following season. This appearance was the beginning of her international fame, as Walter considered her an outstanding interpreter of Mahler's music. During the early years of her career, she concentrated on concert and recital programs. Her first important operatic appearance came in 1962 at Toronto in Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice. In 1966 she debuted at the New York City Opera as Cornelia in Handel's Giulio Cesare with Beverly Sills and Norman Treigle. She made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Erda in Das Rheingold in 1975. Her excellent comic timing brought critical acclaim for her appearances as the Step-Mother in Massenet's Cendrillon, the Witch in Hansel and Gretel and as the Fairy Queen in Sullivan's Iolanthe at Stratford. In her later years, she was in great demand as the Countess in Tchaikovsky's Queen of Spades and in Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmelites.

From 1965 to 1974, she was a member of the Bach Aria Group and made many tours of the United States and Canada with that group. Her solo recital tours took her around the world and, ever a staunch supporter of Canadian composers, she regularly included their songs on her programs. The most important of the works she championed was Fleming's The Confession Stone. Although her orchestral repertoire ranged from Bach and Pergolesi to Elgar and Casals, it was as an interpreter of Mahler that Forrester is best remembered, most especially for the Second Symphony and Das Lied von der Erde. Maureen Forrester's voice was a dark, rich contralto, but with an ease in the upper register which allowed her to sing some mezzo-soprano parts including the Verdi Requiem and Brangäne in Wagner's Tristan and Isolde. Although a large voice, it was very flexible which created a demand for her in the oratorios of Bach and Handel, as well as other Baroque composers, which she sang all over the world. In the 1960s and 1970s, she averaged around 120 performances a year, while raising five children.

Forrester enjoyed teaching, and from 1966 until 1971, she headed the voice department at the Philadelphia Academy of Music. After leaving the Academy of Music, she continued to teach privately in Toronto and to give master classes in conjunction with her recitals. In 1983, she began a five-year term as chairman of the Canada Council for the Arts. She published her autobiography, Out of Character, in 1986, the same year she was named a Companion of the Order of Canada. Maureen Forrester remained one of the great contraltos of the twentieth century throughout her long performing career. Read less

Biography

Born: July 25, 1930; Montreal, Quebec, Canada   Died: June 16, 2010; Toronto, ONT  
Canada's most famous contralto, Maureen Forrester, began her vocal studies with Sally Martin in Montreal and later studied with Frank Rowe and Bernard Diamant. Her first professional appearance came in a recital at Montreal in 1953, and she began a musical collaboration with pianist John Newmark which lasted until his death in 1991. In 1955 she went to Paris for a recital, and her New York debut recital was one year later. That recital brought Read more
WORKS ALBUMS
TITLE/COMPOSER
LABEL
Das Trinklied vom Jammer der Erde (The Drinking Song of Earth's Misery)
Der Einsame im Herbst (Autumn Loneliness)
Von der Jugend (Of Youth)
Von der Schönheit (Of Beauty)
Der Trunkene im Frühling (The Drunkard in Spring)
Der Abschied (The Farewell)
Beethoven: Symphony No.9 In D Minor, Op.125 - "Choral" - 1. Allegro ma non troppo, un poco maestoso
Beethoven: Symphony No.9 In D Minor, Op.125 - "Choral" - 2. Molto vivace
Beethoven: Symphony No.9 In D Minor, Op.125 - "Choral" - 3. Adagio molto e cantabile
Beethoven: Symphony No.9 In D Minor, Op.125 - "Choral" - 4. Presto
Beethoven: Symphony No.9 In D Minor, Op.125 - "Choral" - 4. Presto - Allegro assai
I. Allegro maestoso
II. Andante moderato
III. In ruhig fliessender Bewegung
IV. Urlicht
V. Im Tempo des Scherzos
Mahler: Symphony No.3 in D minor - Part 1 - 1. Kräftig. Entscheiden
Mahler: Symphony No.3 in D minor - Part 2 - 2. Tempo di minuetto. Sehr mäßig
Mahler: Symphony No.3 in D minor - Part 2 - 3. Comodo. Scherzando. Ohne Hast
Mahler: Symphony No.3 in D minor - Part 2 - 4. Sehr langsam. Misterioso: "O Mensch! Gib acht!" 'O Mensch! Gib acht'
Mahler: Symphony No.3 in D minor - Part 2 - 5. Lustig im Tempo und keck im Ausdruck: "Bimm Bamm. Es sungen drei Engel"
Mahler: Symphony No.3 in D minor - Part 2 - 6. Langsam. Ruhevoll. Empfunden
I. Das Trinklied vom Jammer der Erde (The Drinking Song of Earth's Misery)
II. Der Einsame im Herbst (The Lonely One in Autumn)
III. Von der Jugend (Of Youth)
IV. Von der Schonheit (Of Beauty)
V. Der Trunkene im Fruhling (The Drunkard in Spring)
VI. Der Abschied (The Farewell)
Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen
Ich atmet' einen linden Duft
Blicke mir nicht in die Lieder
Liebst du um Schönheit
Um Mitternacht
1. Kräftig. Entscheiden
2. Tempo di minuetto. Sehr mäßig
3. Comodo. Scherzando. Ohne Hast
4. Sehr langsam. Misterioso: "O Mensch! Gib acht!" 'O Mensch! Gib acht'
5. Lustig im Tempo und keck im Ausdruck: "Bimm Bamm. Es sungen drei Engel"
6. Langsam. Ruhevoll. Empfunden
I. Kyrie - Assai sostenuto - Mit andacht
II. Gloria: Allegro vivace
III. Credo: Allegro ma non troppo
IV. Sanctus: Adagio. Mit Andacht
V. Agnus Dei: Adagio
I. Requiem (Chorus, Soloists)
II. Dies irae: Dies irae. Allegro agitato (Chorus)
Tuba mirum. Allegro sotenuto (Bass, Chorus)
Liber scriptus. Allegro molto sostenuto - Allegro agitato - (Mezzo-Soprano, Chorus)
Quid sum miser. Adagio - (Mezzo-Soprano, Soprano, Tenor)
Rex tremendae. Adagio maestoso - (Chorus, Soloists)
Recordare. Lo stesso tempo - (Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano)
Ingemisco. - Qui Mariam. Poco meno mosso (Tenor)
Confutatis. Andante - Allegro come prima - (Bass, Chorus)
Lacrymosa. Largo (Solists, Chorus)
III. Offertorio (Soloists)
IV. Sanctus. Allegro (Chorus)
V. Agnus Dei. Andante (Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano, Chorus)
Messa da Requiem: VI. Lux aeterna. Allegro moderato (Mezzo-Soprano, Tenor, Bass) (Voice)
VII. Libera me (Soprano, Chorus) (Voice)


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