Jeanne Desjardins. Soprano, teacher, born Montreal 1 May 1903, died there 16 Apr 1961. After studies with Salvator Issaurel, she made her debut in 1923 in Debussy's cantata L'Enfant prodigue at the Monday Concerts sponsored by Raoul Vennat.
Soprano, teacher, born Montreal 1 May 1903, died there 16 Apr 1961. After studies with Salvator Issaurel, she made her debut in 1923 in Debussy's cantata L'Enfant prodigue at the Monday Concerts sponsored by Raoul Vennat. She then worked with Henri Pontbriand, Pauline Donalda, Alfred La Liberté, and the pianist Marie-Thérèse Paquin, who collaborated with her on all her subsequent recitals. She was coached in Paris by Mme Louis Fourestier. She appeared with the Société canadienne d'opérette in 1929 at the Palace Theatre and in 1932 sang light music under the name of Jeanne Shaw over radio stations CRC and CRCM. She made her operatic debut in 1933, singing Marcellina in The Marriage of Figaro in a production directed by Victor Brault. She was known as 'the Canadian Kate Smith'. In the admired series of Montreal performances conducted by Wilfrid Pelletier, in which leading stars of the Metropolitan Opera were supported by Montreal singers and a Montreal orchestra, Desjardins sang several roles, notably the Priestess in Aida in 1941 and 1943, Dame Marthe in Faust in 1941 and 1942, and the Innkeeper in Boris Godunov in 1943. She was a soloist in 1941 with the orchestra of the CSM and in 1942 with the McGill String Quartet, and during the 1941-2 season, assisted by her accompanist Marie-Thérèse Paquin and the critic Marcel Valois, she emerged as a distinguished performer of French song in a series of recitals with commentary, 'Les liedistes francais,' at the Windsor Hotel. Valois later wrote of Desjardins that 'Her voice... possessed a unique colour, a blend of subtle shades'. In 1945 she was heard over the CBC's Dominion network in the Canadian premiere of Ravel's Shéhérazade under Jean-Marie Beaudet. Desjardins premiered songs by Jean Deslauriers, Lucien Martin, and Jean Vallerand on the radio series 'Sérénade pour cordes,' ca 1940-50, and was heard in numerous other radio programs.
Gleason-Huguenin, Madeleine. Portraits de femmes (Montreal 1938)
Valois, Marcel. 'On ne pouvait qu'aimer Jeanne Desjardins,' Au carrefour des souvenirs (Montreal 1965)
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