Lyn Vernon

Lyn Vernon. Mezzo-soprano (later dramatic soprano), conductor, teacher, b New Westminster, BC, 19 Aug 1944. She studied piano as a child, then 1962-3 and 1964-6 at the University of British Columbia with Barbara Custance, Kathryn Bailey, and Marshall Sumner. Her voice teacher there was Donald Brown.

Vernon, Lyn

Lyn Vernon. Mezzo-soprano (later dramatic soprano), conductor, teacher, b New Westminster, BC, 19 Aug 1944. She studied piano as a child, then 1962-3 and 1964-6 at the University of British Columbia with Barbara Custance, Kathryn Bailey, and Marshall Sumner. Her voice teacher there was Donald Brown. She was a member 1966-8 of the Vancouver Opera training program, and in 1967 she was a student in the San Francisco Opera's Merola program, winning the Gropper Memorial Award. She furthered her studies at the Zurich Opernstudio, then in Geneva (1968) with Maria Carpi privately and Herbert Graf and Lotfi Mansouri at the Centre lyrique international. She performed 1968-70 in Zurich, Vancouver (Mrs Noye in Noye's Fludde), Berne, Geneva (Carmen), and Palermo (Waltraute in Götterdämmerung), and after appearing in 1972 with the Australian Opera as Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier and Maddelena in Rigoletto, she sang 1972-5 as a member of the Zurich Opera. There her roles included Nicklausse in The Tales of Hoffmann and Ulrica in The Masked Ball. She also, during these years, made guest appearances in Geneva as Annina in Der Rosenkavalier, Barbara in Janáček's Katya Kabanová, and Flosshilde in Das Rheingold and in London with the English National Opera as Octavian. Other European appearances have been with l'Orchestre de la Suisse romande and at the Montreux festival. She made her COC debut in 1974 as Marina in Boris Godunov and Judith in Bluebeard's Castle, sang Marie in 1977 in that company's Canadian premiere of Berg's Wozzeck, and returned in 1978 to take the title role in Tchaikovsky's Joan of Arc and in 1979 to sing Carmen. She was the Female Chorus opposite Jon Vickers in Britten's The Rape of Lucretia at the Guelph Spring Festival (1974). She has sung with the Edmonton Opera, the NACO, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the Saskatchewan Opera (Carmen), the Vancouver Opera (Santuzza and Fidelio), and the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra (Merry Widow and Sieglinde). Vernon re-established a home in British Columbia in 1975, but continued to sing abroad, particularly in Switzerland. She worked 1977-80 with Margaret Harshaw (in Bloomington, Ind) and turned to the dramatic soprano repertoire. She sang Sieglinde with the Vancouver SO in 1982 and the Seattle Opera in 1983. In the latter year she also performed the Wesendonck Lieder with the CBC Vancouver Orchestra and other works for CBC radio. In 1985 she withdrew from professional singing but she has continued to be active as a voice teacher. She has taught privately (from 1978) in Prince George, Smithers, and Sunshine Coast, BC. In 1988 she founded the Sunshine Coast Music Society (involving a 50-voice choir and a 20-piece orchestra) and is its artistic director and conductor; she has conducted Handel's Messiah, Gilbert & Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance, and choral and orchestral concerts. She joined the staff at Capilano College in 1988 and has also been involved in choral training at Pender Harbour and Sechelt.


Further Reading

  • Gothe, Jurgen. 'Down-to-earth diva,' Fugue, Oct 1978