Elizabeth Benson Guy

Elizabeth Benson Guy. Soprano, born Halifax, NS, 7 Dec 1925; died Scarborough, ON, 8 Jul 2010. Raised in Bridgewater, NS, she studied first with her mother, Sarah Louise Anderson, a European-trained singer, and 1942-5 with Ernesto Vinci in Halifax. She continued with Vinci at the Toronto Conservatory of Music (TCM). Later she studied with Lotte Leonard at the Juilliard School. She gave a recital tour of the Maritimes in the early 1940s and was heard also on radio in Halifax. She made her opera debut in 1947 as Marie in the Royal Conservatory Opera School (University of Toronto Opera Division) production of The Bartered Bride. She won the 1947-8 CBC's Singing Stars of Tomorrow, and subsequently sang several roles with the CBC Opera Company, including Violetta in La Traviata and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni (1949), Princess Turandot in Turandot (1950), and Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte (1953). She appeared in other CBC radio productions of opera, including Don Giovanni in 1949, Gianni Schicchi and Falstaff in 1953, Eugene Onegin in 1954, Otello in 1955, Jenu°fa and Hippolyte et Aricie (as Phèdre) in 1957, Dido and Aeneas in 1963, and Kelsey Jones' Sam Slick in 1967. Also for CBC radio she gave many song recitals, some devoted to works of one composer: Schubert (1949), Morawetz (1949), Brahms (1965), and Berlioz (Les Nuits d'été, 1965).

For the Opera Festival Association of Toronto, Guy sang Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni (1950), Marie in The Bartered Bride (1952), and the First Lady in The Magic Flute (1952). She was a soloist in Messiah with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir in 1965 and appeared frequently with the Festival Singers. As a concert artist she made debuts at Carnegie Hall, New York, 10 May 1959, and at Wigmore Hall, London, 31 Oct 1967, and gave several major recitals in Toronto. Besides the standard French and German repertoire, she sang works by Robert Fleming, Oskar Morawetz, Jean Papineau-Couture, and Clermont Pépin. After an Eaton Auditorium recital, Frank Haworth wrote, "Her voice was rich, free and colourful, the latter quality being manifest not only in her variety of tonal tint but in her ability to adapt her vocal quality, as it were, to the atmosphere and emotional situation of each item" (Globe and Mail, 17 Feb 1964). Guy retired from public performance about 1974. A teacher 1969-79 at the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCMT) and the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto, she taught Mark DuBois, John Keane, and Shawna Farrell and coached Sheila Henig prior to Henig's New York debut as a singer-pianist. She retired from teaching and musical activities in 1979.


Fauré Cinq Mélodies - Purcell Songs. Hamilton piano. ca 1968. CBC SM-32

Gould So You Want to Write a Fugue. A. Darian mezzo, C. Bressler tenor, D. Gramm bar, Juilliard Quar, V. Golschmann conductor. 1963. HiFi/Stereo Review Editorial Recordings Mono 164/ 2-Col M2X-35914

M. McIntyre - Dela - Hamer. CBC Toronto orch, Waddington conductor. 1951. RCI 35

Morley - Dowland - Rosseter - Brahms - Debussy: Songs. Newmark piano. 1962. RCI 205

Purcell Duets - Dvořák Strains from Moravia. J. Simons bar, Newmark piano. (1963). RCI 199

Schutz - Hassler - Vivaldi - et al: Songs. Kraus harpsichord. 1969. CBC SM-92

See also Discography for Orford String Quartet.