Alfred Heather. Tenor, teacher, b London 21 Mar 1876, d Toronto 8 Aug 1932. He studied with T.A. Wallworth, Alessandro Romilly, and Sir Charles Santley, was a lay-vicar (adult chorister) 1905-15 at Westminster Abbey, sang at festivals throughout Britain, toured with the Beecham and Quinlan opera companies, and made many records for HMV and, 1906-11, Pathé. He taught for some years at the GSM, London, and after World War I joined a company which had been assembled to stage a 1920 revival of The Beggar's Opera
at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith. The company toured Canada in 1921 and was disbanded abruptly in the mid-West. Nothing daunted, Heather gave a recital in Regina which prompted Regina College to engage him as a teacher. He left Regina in 1923 to sing in Toronto, and taught 1924-5 at the TCM
. As a singer he was best known in Canada in the role of the Evangelist in the early performances of the St Matthew Passion
under Sir Ernest MacMillan
. When he sang the role in 1926 a Toronto critic called him 'an artist of very rare distinction'. His was the standard by which other performances in the work were judged for many years. While he did not sing in public after 1926, he directed the CPR Festivals'
opera productions at Banff (1929), and the Toronto production of Hugh the Drover
(15 and 18 Nov 1929).
Mary Willan Mason