Judith Forst | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Judith Forst

Judith Doris Forst, née Lumb, mezzo-soprano (b at New Westminster 7 Nov 1943).

Forst, Judith Doris

Judith Doris Forst, née Lumb, mezzo-soprano (b at New Westminster 7 Nov 1943). A singer with international accolades, Forst studied voice at the University of British Columbia, receiving a B Mus in 1966, and then took part in the training program of the Vancouver Opera Assn until 1968, when she began preparatory work with Robert Keys for the coloratura repertoire. She also won the CBC Talent Festival in 1968 and successfully auditioned for the Metropolitan Opera (New York), which led to a contract and debut. Forst remained in New York until 1975, performing at the Metropolitan in a variety of roles and studying with Hans Joachim Heinz.

She appeared in CBC TV's production of Hansel and Gretel in 1970 and with the CANADIAN OPERA COMPANY (in Eugene Onegin) in 1972. In 1973 she appeared for the first time at the Guelph Spring Festival, and in 1974 had her debut at the San Francisco Opera. She continued to take major roles in COC productions, one of the most memorable events for her being her 1984 appearance (as Jane Seymour) with Joan Sutherland in Anna Bolena and, in 1999, the premiere of The Golden Ass, with a text by Robertson DAVIES. Her Paris debut (in Les Contes d'Hoffmann) came in 1985; in 1986 she sang in a PBS "Live from Lincoln Centre" concert at Avery Fisher Hall (New York); and in 1986 she gave her Munich debut in La Forza del Destino.

Forst continues to appear in significant roles with opera companies in major North American and European cities (eg, New York, Prague) and to make recordings for the CBC label. She not only has a brilliant technique, with a voice of wide range and gorgeous, even tone, but also a rare dramatic sense that makes her a commanding figure in opera as well as on the concert and recital stages. She was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1992 and granted honorary doctorates by the University of British Columbia (Letters, 1991) and the University of Victoria (Music, 1995).

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