Peter (John Fortune) Symcox. Director, producer, set designer, critic, b Chelmsford, England, 7 Jun 1925, naturalized Canadian 1964; MA English literature (Oxford) 1947. He studied piano 1932-47 along with French and English literature and fine arts. Next he took courses in staging at the Old Vic Theatre School, where he staged his first productions. He also worked at Covent Garden. Shortly after his arrival in Montreal in l953 he was hired as a set designer for CBC TV, and he produced music programs 1968-87, directing Britten's The Burning Fiery Furnace
, Verdi's Macbeth
(1973), and Puccini's Madama Butterfly
(1976) and special programs (eg, 'Les Beaux Dimanches') featuring Vladimir Ashkenazy, Grace Bumbry, Maureen Forrester
, Jerome Hines, Marek Jablonski
, André Laplante
, Maria Pellegrini
, Roberta Peters, Louis Quilico
, Shirley Verrett, and others. In l969 he presented a one-hour version of Colas et Colinette
on the program 'One of a Kind'.
Symcox directed for several companies, including the Mountain Playhouse in Montreal (Sandy Wilson's The Boy Friend in 1961, for which he also designed the sets), the Pittsburgh Opera (Roméo et Juliette and Rigoletto in 1972, Don Giovanni in 1973), the COC (Rigoletto, 1973), the Hartford, Conn, Civic Opera (Otello, 1973), the Opéra du Quebec (Madama Butterfly, 1974), the Milwaukee Florentine Opera (The Tales of Hoffman, 1975, La Bohème, 1976, Macbeth, 1979, The Barber of Seville, 1985, Carmen, 1989), the Teatro nacional of the Dominican Republic (Madama Butterfly, 1975), and the Opéra de Québec (Madama Butterfly, 1985). Symcox has been an adjudicator for drama festivals and has contributed articles to newspapers and periodicals, including The Montreal Star and Opera Canada. In 1991 he was living in Victoria, BC.
Lemery, Marthe. 'Peter Symcox, un metteur en scène à la recherche de la vérité,' Aria, vol 7, Summer 1985