Gérald Desmarais

Gérald Desmarais. Bass, choirmaster, b Montreal 30 Mar 1906, d Hardwick, Vt, 29 Jul 1950. He studied singing and theory with Alfred Lamoureux, Paul Doyon, and Alfred La Liberté, and received a scholarship in 1927 from the Delphic Study Club.

Desmarais, Gérald

Gérald Desmarais. Bass, choirmaster, b Montreal 30 Mar 1906, d Hardwick, Vt, 29 Jul 1950. He studied singing and theory with Alfred Lamoureux, Paul Doyon, and Alfred La Liberté, and received a scholarship in 1927 from the Delphic Study Club. With La Liberté he concentrated on Wagnerian roles and Lieder. He made his Montreal Orchestra debut in 1936 in Wotan's farewell scene from Die Walküre. With the Orchestra of the CSM he was a soloist in Bach's Mass in B Minor in 1937 and in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony in 1941, 1944, and 1947. At the Montreal Festivals he made his operatic debut in 1944 as King Mark in Tristan und Isolde, repeating the role that year, and also singing Hunding in Die Walküre at the Chicago Opera. At the Montreal Festivals he was a soloist in Mozart's Coronation Mass in 1945 and Bach's St Matthew Passion in 1946 and 1950 and sang Zuniga in Carmen in 1946 and 1947, the Bonze in Madama Butterfly in 1947, and the Comte des Grieux in Manon in 1949. Desmarais also sang at the Opera Guild (1947, 1949, 1950) and at the Variétés lyriques (1949). Following his performance in Tristan und IsoldeMarcel Valois wrote: 'Gérald Desmarais's King Mark was excellent in voice, delivery, phrasing and accent... It truly was a revelation, and the whole audience responded with prolonged applause' (Montreal La Presse, 30 May 1944). Desmarais also gave recitals of Lieder and French songs. He sang in numerous Montreal churches; his last appointment of the kind was at St-Germain in Outremont, where he served 1938-50 as choirmaster. A few days after appearing as a soloist in the St Matthew Passion, he died as the result of a road accident.