Irenee (Irene) Byatt. Contralto, actress, b Vancouver 3 May 1926. After lessons in Victoria, BC, she studied 1948-50 with Albert Whitehead at the RCMT, and 1950-4 with Roy Henderson in England. In 1953 she sang in Messiah at Albert Hall with the London SO under Sir Malcolm Sargent. Later in London she was Buttercup in H.M.S. Pinafore at Her Majesty's Theatre. In Canada she sang at first in recitals, drawing praise on one such occasion from George Kidd, who in the Toronto Telegram (11 Nov 1954) described her voice as 'big and strong, with wonderful control, beautiful concentration on diction and an admirable range'.
In 1959 Byatt was a soloist in the York Concert Society presentation of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. She appeared in several Gilbert & Sullivan operettas on CBC TV, and in 1960 and 1961 at the Stratford Festival. She also sang in several presentations by the Ottawa Choral Society (eg, Rossini's Petite Messe solennelle in 1961), and participated in the radio (1959) and stage (1960) premieres of John Beckwith'sNight Blooming Cereus. In 1965 she moved to the USA, appearing in several touring productions of musical comedies, in South Pacific (1967, as Bloody Mary) at Lincoln Center, New York, and as an actress on TV and in movies. In 1976 she returned to Canada to sing Mrs Trapes in The Beggar's Opera at the Guelph Spring Festival. She played Emily Carr in the 1972 CBC TV production 'The Wonder of It All'. In 1978 she was living in Los Angeles.