Canada mourns an opera pioneer

Stuart Hamilton, first music director of Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble of young singers and a significant influence on numerous careers, died on New Year’s Day, aged 87.

Appreciation here.

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  • I am greatly saddened to read this. Stuart was a tremendously positive person who made a huge contribution to opera in Toronto. I attended numerous operas in concert that he directed from the keyboard with skill and enthusiasm and thanks to him I heard several operas for the first time. His advice on singers was invaluable. He was a wonderful friend and mentor to several generations of singers. He will be mourned and missed.

    • Stuart was indeed one of the pioneers in Canadian musical life. No one cared more nor knew more about young voices than he did. As a conductor active in Toronto in the 1970s and 1980s I often relied upon Stuart for recommendations. To work with him was always a delight and always a great learning experience. And as Costa commented, it was through Stuart’s Opera in Concert that we all learned dozens of opera we barely knew existed. His vast knowledge, wonderful sense of humour and sheer joy in life in all its facets will be sorely missed.

  • I never met him but heard him on CBC Radio a lot. I learned a lot about opera from tuning into his show. A sad loss for all.

  • This is a terrible blow indeed. I remember watching Stuart coach a master class at the University of Victoria several years ago. He had no idea what anyone would sing, and he had absolutely no music in front of him. Nonetheless as part of his remarks on a soprano’s performance he cheerfully volunteered “Well you know this aria at measure 274 is marked “mp” in the Schott edition, but not marked at all in the Ricordi, or the Barenreiter, so it’s really up to you how you sing it.” Where in the world can you find such a mind today?

    Take your rest dear Stuart, God is perhaps chuckling, even now, at your first funny remark.

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