Jeanne Pengelly

Jeanne (Isabel) Pengelly (b Hesson). Soprano, teacher, b Port Arthur (Thunder Bay), Ont, 10 Feb 1908, d Kingston, Ont, 2 Nov 1977.

Pengelly, Jeanne

Jeanne (Isabel) Pengelly (b Hesson). Soprano, teacher, b Port Arthur (Thunder Bay), Ont, 10 Feb 1908, d Kingston, Ont, 2 Nov 1977. She studied with Wilfred Coulson, conductor of the Port Arthur Women's Choir, and 1925-8 with Giuseppe Carboni in Toronto, learning 15 operatic roles and more than 250 songs. Pengelly was soprano soloist 1930-74 at Timothy Eaton Memorial Church in Toronto and a leading singer in the CNR's 1930-1 season of opera broadcasts. She also sang in oratorio and she made her TSO debut 23 Feb 1932. Her operatic debut was with the San Carlo Opera in 1933 as Gilda in Rigoletto. In 1936 she became the first exclusively Canadian-trained artist to sing with the Metropolitan Opera, appearing 22 May 1936 as Eurydice in Orpheus and Eurydice. Appearances followed the same year with the Chicago Civic Opera as Eurydice and with the Cincinnati Opera as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni. She returned to Toronto where she sang the lead in the 1937 Canadian Grand Opera Association production of Aida in Massey Hall. In 1946 she was a soloist in Beethoven's Missa solemnis with the Montreal Festivals and in 1949 she gave a recital at Carnegie Hall.

Pengelly taught ca 1932-6 at the TCM and 1950-61 at the RCMT, her students including Billie Bridgman, Herb Brown, Maurice Brown, Johanna White, and the actors Jeff Alexander and Murray Davis.

After her performance with the TSO in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, Pengelly was praised for her 'glorious soprano ringing through the hall like the sound of a thrush. Orchestra chorus and... golden trumpet all combined were subject to her rich, luscious notes' (Toronto Telegram, 22 Mar 1933).