Denis Harbour

Denis Harbour. Bass, radio producer, b Oka, near Montréal, 3 Aug 1917, d Oka, 24 Dec 2009. He took voice lessons from Arthur Laurendeau while studying law. Deciding on a career in music, he worked 1945-53 in New York with Paul Althouse, Léon Rothier, Herbert Graf, and Alfredo Valenti.

Denis Harbour

Denis Harbour. Bass, radio producer, b Oka, near Montréal, 3 Aug 1917, d Oka, 24 Dec 2009. He took voice lessons from Arthur Laurendeau while studying law. Deciding on a career in music, he worked 1945-53 in New York with Paul Althouse, Léon Rothier, Herbert Graf, and Alfredo Valenti. He took part in numerous concerts, radio programs, and tours, travelling to 46 US states with the Charles Wagner Opera Company. He performed with the Metropolitan Opera for the 1949-50 season after winning the "Metropolitan Opera Auditions of the Air" in March 1949. He made his debut there 26 November 1949 as the Jailer in Tosca. In New York and on tour he sang 7 roles in 26 performances, including the Helmsman in Tristan und Isolde, the Imperial Commissioner in Madama Butterfly, Ceprano in Rigoletto, Wagner in Faust, and one of the three Streltsy in Khovanshchina. Toscanini engaged him to sing the King of Egypt in a 1949 NBC broadcast of a concert performance of Aida, later released as a recording (VICS-6113) by RCA.

Over the next few years Harbour gave several recitals in the US and Canada and appeared as a soloist with a number of orchestras. For the Montreal Festivals he sang Méphistophélès in Faust in 1950 at the Delorimier Stadium and Frère Laurent in Roméo et Juliette in 1952 at the chalet on Mount Royal. During the 1952-3 season he performed in England, Holland, Switzerland, and Scandinavia. He sang 7 Mar 1954 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Charles Munch in a performance of Messiah. With Claire Gagnier he starred 1953-7 in the weekly CBC radio - later TV - program Serenade for Strings (Sérénade). He was soloist with the MSO in Verdi's Requiem in April 1951, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony in December 1953, and Mozart's Requiem in April 1956. He sang in a performance of the Prologue of Boito's Mefistofele in 1957 with the Quebec Symphony Orchestra. He then gave up his singing career and was a radio producer 1959-72 with CBC, subsequently heading the record department of Dupuis Frères, Montréal, until it closed in 1977. A skilful actor, Denis Harbour was noted throughout his career for his warm and powerful voice.