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Grand tradition: Edith Della Pergola.

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It is a testimony to the admiration and affection in which she is held that when Edith Della Pergola pergola

Garden walk or terrace typically formed by two rows of columns or posts roofed with an open framework of beams and cross rafters over which plants are trained. Its purpose is to provide a foundation on which climbing plants can be viewed and to give shade.
 was inducted into the Canadian Operatic Hall of Fame on December 8 on the stage of Montreal's Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier The Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier is the largest multipurpose venue in Canada, with the most sophisticated technical equipment. It seats 2,982 people and is part of the cultural complex in downtown Montreal, the Place des Arts.

It is the home of the Opéra of Montréal.
, the 3,000 people present greeted her with a rousing, deafening standing ovation. La Signora La Signora is a character in Commedia dell'arte. She is the wife of Pantalone and the mistress of Pedrolino. She is tough, beautiful and calculating. She wears very wide dresses and very heavy makeup. , as she is known to a horde of friends and admirers, inspires that kind of spontaneous and heart-felt reaction. Edith Della Pergola is, in these parts at least, a living legend Living Legend may refer to:
  • Living Legend, a tourist attraction on Jersey
  • Library of Congress Living Legend, an award
  • The Living Legend, an episode of Battlestar Galactica.
. She has spent the last half-century as one of Montreal's-and Canada's--foremost operatic builders, and that after having enjoyed an important European career as a leading soprano.

Born in Cluj, Romania, some 85 years ago, she studied piano, then turned to voice at the Bucharest Academy of Music. During this time, she acquired not only an impressive technique but also a wide-ranging operatic and artsong repertoire. She debuted with the Cluj Opera as Mimi in La Boheme (which remained a staple of her repertoire throughout her career) and followed this with Johann Strauss's Der Zigeunerbaron. She quickly moved on to the famed Bucharest Opera, where she remained as a leading soprano for some 11 years. She began to perform throughout Europe, making important debuts in Belgium, Germany and Italy (most notably in Trieste, Naples and Milan) and Zurich. The legendary Vienna Staatsoper beckoned at this time. It was to be her spiritual home.

Della Pergola was particularly admired in the Italian roles of Puccini and Verdi; she was a renowned Mimi and Violetta, but also scored major triumphs as Verdi's Aida and Leonora (17 Trovatore) and Puccini's Suor Angeilca and Tosca. Even today, when teaching, she can effortlessly float the opening of "Vissi d'arte Vissi d'arte is the famous soprano’s aria taken from act II Tosca by Giacomo Puccini. It is sung by Tosca thinking of her fate and her lover’s life at the mercy of Scarpia. " and soar to the aria's glorious climax.

She met her husband, the distinguished tenor Luciano Della Pergola, on the operatic stage. A brilliant singing-actor, Luciano was a mainstay of post-World War II operatic Italy, principally performing at La Scala La Scala

Opera house in Milan, Italy. Built in 1776 by Empress Maria Theresa of Austria (which country then ruled Milan), it replaced an earlier theatre that had burned.
. Edith, however, was contracted to Vienna's Staatsoper. Their wish to be together with their infant daughter, Felicity, was a motivating factor in their decision to accept an invitation to create the Opera Studio at McGill University McGill University, at Montreal, Que., Canada; coeducational; chartered 1821, opened 1829. It was named for James McGill, who left a bequest to establish it. Its real development dates from 1855 when John W. Dawson became principal.  in Montreal.

Starting from scratch, the Della Pergolas developed a formidable and successful program at the Opera Studio. They mounted 48 productions between 1956 and 1989, and helped launch many a promising career. They also helped create and nurture a real and lasting love for opera, especially through the studio's educational activities. Initially, Edith had balanced her teaching with professional opportunities, but after a CBC (1) (Cell Broadcast Center) See cell broadcast.

(2) (Cipher Block Chaining) In cryptography, a mode of operation that combines the ciphertext of one block with the plaintext of the next block.
 telecast with the young Jon Vickers
See also: John Vickers, a British economist.

Jon S. Vickers, CC , D.Mus. (born October 29, 1926) is a Canadian tenor.

Born in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, he was the sixth in a family of eight children.
 (the final act of Verdi's Il Trovatore), she was approached to go to New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of
. It was a turning point Though her husband urged her to accept, she chose family and the Opera Studio over her own career, a decision she has never regretted. Today, she still coaches many young singers, and such pupils as Maria Papoulias, Robert McLaren and Giana Corbsiero have benefited from her innate musicality, experience and peerless stagecraft stage·craft  
Skill in the techniques and devices of the theater.

the art or skill of producing or staging plays.
See also: Drama

Noun 1.

Although Edith may have enjoyed numerous and substantial professional successes, it is the person rather than the operatic personality that is most revealing and rewarding. Her performances were characterized by a vocal richness and a profound musicality. They were also notable for the passion, love and generosity that inhabited her art These are precisely the features of her personal life. To say she belies her age is an understatement She still possesses boundless energy and curiosity. She is, happily, ever-present on the Montreal opera and concert-going scene, eager to discover and encourage.

Her passion for and love of life and family are equally inspiring, and are as boundless as her generosity. La Signora has always been a source of wisdom and advice, and as faithful a confidante con·fi·dante  
1. A woman to whom secrets or private matters are disclosed.

2. A woman character in a drama or fiction, such as a trusted friend or servant, who serves as a device for revealing the inner thoughts or intentions
 and as true a friend as one could hope for.

Armed with a radiant smile and blazing eyes, this petite but still strikingly handsome woman has great presence. No, it's more than presence--it's class, what the Italians call nobilita. That nobility encapsulates inherent charm and intelligence with a consuming passion for life and art (No wonder she was a great Tosca!) It is precisely that nobilita that seems to me to be a defining element in Edith Della Pergola's professional as well as her personal life.

Richard Turp is a writer, broadcaster and artistic director of the Andre Turp Musical Society and the Lachine Music Festival
COPYRIGHT 2003 Opera Canada Publications
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2003 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Biography; a profile of the opera soprano
Author:Turp, Richard
Publication:Opera Canada
Article Type:Biography
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Jun 22, 2003
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