Forgotten Opera Singers

Forgotten Opera Singers
Forgotten Tenors: Leon Laffitte (2 photos), Richard Kubla, Luigi Marletta and William Miller

Feb 15, 2014

Pauline Donalda (Soprano) (Montreal 1882 – Montreal 1970)




Her real name was Pauline Lightstone; her family was of Russian-Polish origin. The college, where she studied in Montreal had been founded by Sir Donald Smith. The first education as singer she received at the Victoria College in Montreal by Clara Lichtenstein, then she studied singing under Edmond Duvernoy in Paris. She made her debut in 1904 at the Opera House of Nice in the title role of Massenet’s ‘’Manon’’. In the 1905-1906 season she appeared with great success at the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels. In 1906 she married to French baritone Paul Seveilhac. Then since 1905 she sang a lot at Covent Garden, where she was promoted by Nellie Melba; here she made her debut in 1905 as Micaela in ‘’Carmen’’ and appeared on 28. 6. 1905 in the premiere of the opera ‘’L'Oracolo’’ of Franco Leoni. Because of an ocular illness she forced to pause in 1906 six months, however, she appeared again by the end of the year at the Théâtre de la Monnaie. In 1906 together with Paul Seveilhac she performed at Manhattan Opera House of New York and both broke the existing contracts with the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels. At Manhattan Opera House her beginning role was Marguerite in ‘’Faust’’ of Gounod (1907). In 1907 she was engaged by the Opera House of Monte Carlo (debuted again as Manon in Massenet’s ‘’Manon’’). Guest performances followed to the Opéra-Comique in Paris (1907, as Manon in Massenet’s ‘’Manon’’) and to the Teatro Colón Buenos Aires, concert traveling through Germany, Holland and Russia. Since 1912 she had again big success at London Covent Garden, among other things as a partner of the legendary tenor Enrico Caruso in ‘’La Bohème’’ and in ‘’La Traviata’’. During the years of the First World War she remained in Canada where she visited just her family with outbreak of war. She was appointed the honorary member of the Red Cross of Canada. In the 1919-20 season she appeared again at Covent Garden, among other things in 1919 as Concepcion in the première of Ravel’s ‘’L'Heure espagnole’’ and finished with it her stage career. After a vast concert trip in the 1921-22 season she lived from 1923-37 as a singing teacher in Paris. After her separation from Paul Seveilhac she was since 1918 in the second marriage with Danish tenor Mischa Léon. Since 1937 she worked as a pedagogue in Montreal, where she also been active as an opera director. In 1942 she founded the Opera Guild of Montreal. She served as president and artistic director until 1969.

Chronology of some appearances

1904 Nice Opera House
1905-1906 Brussels Théâtre de la Monnaie
1905 London Covent Garden
1906 New York Manhattan Opera House
1907 Monte Carlo Opera House
1907 Paris Opéra-Comique
1912 London Covent Garden


RECORDINGS FOR SALE








G&T, London 1906-07-09
Faust (Gounod): Air des bijoux 33620 8453b

G&T, London 1907
Si mes vers avaient des ailes (Hahn) 33655 6851e

Gramophone, London 1908-09
Pagliacci (Leoncavallo): O che volo d'augelli 53537 8880e


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