Magazine article Opera Canada

In Memoriam Cornelis Opthof (1930-2008)

Magazine article Opera Canada

In Memoriam Cornelis Opthof (1930-2008)

Article excerpt

WITH THE PASSING OF BARITONE CORNELIS OPTHOF, the Canadian opera world lost one of its most enduring and valued stalwarts. For 50 years, he brought his special blend of beauty of tone and dramatic verisimilitude to the stage unfailingly. Opthof passed away Dec. 16 at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto at 78.

Born in Rotterdam Feb. 10, 1930, Opthof emigrated to Canada in 1949. He studied voice with Catharina Hendrikse, was awarded a scholarship to the Royal Conservatory of Music in 1957 and won a CBC Talent Festival competition in 1960. He made his Canadian Opera Company debut in 1957 as an extra in Die Fledermaus, and his mainstage debut as Alcalde in Laforza del destino in 1959. Opthof remained a member of the COC for the next 50 years, its longest serving member. Among his roles were Marcello, Valentin, Einsenstein, Amonasro, Germont, Scarpia, Jack Rance, Michonnet, the Music Master and Sharpless. He also created the role of Sir John A. Macdonald in Harry Somers' Louis Riel.

Internationally, Opthof was noted for his association with Dame Joan Sutherland. His appearances in a 1964 Stratford Festival Le nozze di Figaro conducted by Richard Bonynge led to an Australian tour with Dame Joan, and subsequent appearances as Germont opposite her Violetta and, in his Metropolitan Opera debut in 1976, as Riccardo in I Puritani. …

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