Academic journal article Alberta History

The Canadian Nightingale; Bertha Crawford and the Dream of the Prima Donna

Academic journal article Alberta History

The Canadian Nightingale; Bertha Crawford and the Dream of the Prima Donna

Article excerpt

The Canadian Nightingale; Bertha Crawford and the Dream of the Prima Donna

by Jane Cooper. 342 pp., illus., soft cover, Victoria, BC: Friesen Press, $15.49.

Bertha Crawford was a Canadian woman who made a name for herself in the opera houses of Europe. She started as a soprano in churches in Toronto but the West was where she really launched her career. In 1909 she signed on as a member of the H. Ruthven MacDonald Concert Party to take part in theatrical programs in towns and cities all across the western prairies and British Columbia.

Once she became accustomed to the routine, her performances followed a set pattern, starting with such Irish songs as "Father O'Flynn" or the Scottish ballad, "The Hunting Tower." To display her operatic skills, she also sang excerpts from The Barber of Saville.

The tour was a success and so Crawford signed on for another tour of the West in 1910. …

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