de Foras, Odette
Odette de Foras. Soprano, teacher, b Savoie, France, ca 1895, d Calgary 31 Dec 1976 or 1 Jan 1977. She spent her youth in Paris and at the Château de Thuyset, near Lake Geneva. With her family, she settled ca 1903 in High River, south of Calgary. Her father, the Count of Foras, gave her her first voice lessons, and her mother started her on the piano. She continued her studies with Annie Glen Broder in Calgary until 1916, when a scholarship to the RCM made it possible for her to study 1916-25 in London with Gustave Garcia. In 1924 de Foras sang Mary in the premiere of Vaughan Williams' Hugh the Drover. At the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, where she sang 1927-35, her repertoire included Kundry in Parsifal, Sieglinde in Die Walküre, Musetta in La Bohème, Senta in The Flying Dutchman, and the title roles in Aida, Madama Butterfly, Tosca, and Turandot. When Ravel visited London in 1928 and 1929, de Foras gave the English premieres of most of his songs with the composer at the piano. Returning to Alberta in 1936, de Foras occupied herself with the family ranch, appearing in public only on rare occasions, notably in 1946, when at the urging of friends she appeared as guest artist with the Mount Royal College SO, and again in 1959 when after a solo recital she recieved an ovation at Calgary's Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium. On this occasion Rosemary Wood wrote in the Calgary Herald (17 Jan 1959), 'Her sincerity as an artist, blended with her dignity of person, captivated the house during the varied program'. Among her pupils is Lloyd Erickson.