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MacDonald, Cheryl.

Toronto, Dundurn Press, c1984. 205pp, paper, ISBN 0-919670-75-X (cloth) $19.95, 0-919670-74-1 (paper) $9.95. (Dundurn Lives) CIP

Grades 10 and up
Reviewed by Louise Griffith

Volume 13 Number 2
1985 March

Emma Albani was the first Canadian to achieve world recognition on both the opera and the concert stages, and as such she merits our attention. The author has carefully researched the backgrounds of the many places where Albani lived and tells us much of the local and social history that influenced her time.

Born in Chambly, Quebec, the daughter of a French Canadian music teacher, Albani sang at her Quebec convent school and in Albany, New York, before going to Europe to study in France and Italy. She sang in Russia, Austria, France, Italy and Belgium, as well as in the United States and Canada.

Everywhere, she was welcomed in the highest musical circles. Sir Arthur Sullivan, Gounod and Dvorak wrote music especially for her. She was also a great favourite of Queen Victoria, for whom she gave many private concerts.

Mendelssohn, Emma felt, especially pleased the Queen, for she would often sit enraptured, perhaps dreaming of bygone days when Albert was still alive.

She sang at the funeral of Queen Victoria, as well as at the coronation of Edward VII.

School and public librarians will want a copy of this biography for their Canadiana collections. Feminists will be happy to read of a successful Canadian woman. Social historians will welcome the intimate picture of life in that period. Musicians will be interested in the intimate picture of the struggles and jealousies in the life of a star.

Louise Griffith, Agincourt, Ont.
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