LSM Newswire

Friday, June 18, 2010

National Arts Centre mourns the passing of Canadian opera legend Maureen Forrester

Ottawa (Canada)—It is with great sadness the National Arts Centre (NAC) today learned of the passing of Maureen Forrester, one of Canada’s most celebrated opera singers and a former member of the NAC Board of Trustees.
The legendary contralto had a profound impact on the cultural life of this country. Born in Montreal, she sang with nearly every major orchestra in North American and Europe, Asia and the Middle East throughout her illustrious career. Along the way, she performed under the baton of conductors Eugene Ormandy, Herbert von Karajan, Leonard Bernstein and the NAC’s founding music director, Mario Bernardi.
Ms. Forrester’s connection to the National Arts Centre is two-fold. She served as a valued member of the NAC Board of Trustees from 1973 to 1979, and performed on countless occasions on the Southam Hall stage over the years. Among her many memorable performances was a presentation of The Queen of Spades as part of the NAC’s Summer Festival of Opera in 1976, and her performance of Harry Somers' Five Songs for Dark Voice, which is currently available for download as part of NAC Orchestra 40-year archive found at www.NACmusicbox.ca.
In 1995, Canada honoured Ms. Forrester’s incomparable talent with the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement, presented at the National Arts Centre.
“In addition to being arguably the finest contralto in Canadian history, Maureen Forrester was a passionate promoter of Canadian artists and cultural organizations,” said Peter Herrndorf, President and CEO of Canada’s National Arts Centre. “She championed Canadian composers and artists in her programming, helping to promote our country— and our country’s artists— to the world. She was a great talent and a great Canadian.”
Canada’s National Arts Centre extends condolences to her family and friends, and has lowered the NAC flags around the building in recognition of her passing.

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