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Music Archives at the National Library of Canada

MUS 72

Thumbnail[57K] Minutes of the first meeting of Incorporators of the Opera Guild, March 10, 1942.

Pauline Donalda fonds.  - 1901-1984.  - 75 cm of textual records.  - 231 photographs.  - 4 negatives.  - 1 tintype. 

Biographical sketch
Born in Montréal, Quebec, Pauline Donalda studied music at Royal Victoria College.  In 1902, she received a grant from Lord Strathcona and continued her studies in Paris with Edmond Duvernoy (voice), Paul Lhérie (stage production), Pierre Breton (elocution) and Babette Rosen (Italian).  Thanks to the intervention of Massenet, she made her debut in 1904 singing Manon in Nice.  Endowed with an exceptional voice, the soprano performed in Canada, the United States, Europe and Russia.  In 1922 she opened a studio in Paris and turned her attention to teaching.  She returned to Montréal permanently in 1937, opened a studio and founded in 1942 the Opera Guild of Montreal Inc.  President and artistic director of this organization until 1969, she presented 29 operas in 28 seasons. 

Scope and content
The fonds consists of records pertaining to Pauline Donalda's singing career and activities of the Opera Guild.  It contains four scrapbooks relating her career as a performer and teacher from 1901 to 1937; 12 scrapbooks covering her activities with the Opera Guild company from 1943 to 1969; administrative records of the Opera Guild, including a minutes book; correspondence with various personalities such as Ellen Ballon, Rose Bampton, Wilfrid Pelletier, Gratien Gélinas, Mischa Elman, Albert Einstein and Edward Johnson; diplomas; writings; concert programmes; biographical notes (Sarah Berne); photographs, tintype and negatives, chiefly depicting Pauline Donalda and personalities of the music world. 

Immediate source of acquisition:  acquired from May Lightstone (sister of P. Donalda), Sarah Berne (treasurer of the Opera Guild) and La Scala Autographs Inc., in a number of accessions, between 1976 and 1990. 

Restrictions:  none. 

Finding aids:  none. 

Associated material:  the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, McGill University Libraries, holds some correspondence received by Pauline Donalda. 

Proactive Disclosure