Jean Watson

Jean Watson. Contralto, b Belfast, Ireland, of Scottish parents, 25 Apr 1909; naturalized Canadian 1920. She moved to Hamilton, Ont in 1920. She studied at the TCM (RCMT) with Marian Kopp and Healey Willan, and sang in recital throughout Ontario.

Watson, Jean

Jean Watson. Contralto, b Belfast, Ireland, of Scottish parents, 25 Apr 1909; naturalized Canadian 1920. She moved to Hamilton, Ont in 1920. She studied at the TCM (RCMT) with Marian Kopp and Healey Willan, and sang in recital throughout Ontario. She then worked as a church soloist and took singing lessons in New York. Her career quickly blossomed and during the 1940s she sang with leading orchestras in every state in the USA. She appeared at Carnegie Hall many times, in recital, in the St Matthew Passion, and under Bruno Walter, Eugene Ormandy, Sergei Koussevitzky, and other leading conductors. In December 1949 she moved to Britain and sang with the Covent Garden Opera for nine seasons. She also appeared at the Glyndebourne and Edinburgh festivals, sang Delilah in Samson and Delilah with Sadler's Wells and Marina in Boris Godunov at the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels, and in 1955 she became the first Canadian to appear at the Bayreuth Festival after World War II. She was forced to abandon her career in 1960 due to sudden illness. She retired to Harrow-on-the-Hill, England, and after her husband's death in 1981 returned to Canada where, in 1991, she was living in Oakville, Ont. She made some recordings for Columbia.