We cannot speak of our mezzo-sopranos and contraltos without starting with Maureen Forrester, considered to be one of the 20th century’s greatest contraltos. Born in 1930 in Montreal and deceased in 2010 in Toronto, she starred on the world’s most famous stages. She was well known to the Canadian public, since there was once a time when our national radio and television paid attention to our classical artists. As the story goes, she first met Bruno Walter in 1956, launching between the lyrical artist and the conductor one of the century’s most famous relationships.
Maureen Forrester’s voice was a rare phenomenon, a contralto with a rich tone, a powerfully rich middle register, and a vibrato that always demanded control to keep the voice harmonious and expressive throughout its range.
Translated by Karine Poznanski
Source: Opera stories from La Scena