DESKTOP
TABLET (max. 1024px)
MOBILE (max. 640px)
Return to Top
Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

IN MEMORIAM | Irene Salemka McGillivray (1931-2017)

By Jennifer Liu on August 28, 2017

Irene Salemka McGillivray, pictured on August 23, 1980 in Regina. (Photo Roy Antal)
Irene Salemka McGillivray, pictured on August 23, 1980 in Regina. (Photo Roy Antal)

An important figure in Canadian opera is no longer with us.

Irene Salemka McGillivray passed away early Sunday morning in her Collingwood, Ontario home. The former operatic soprano was 86.

Baritone Peter McGillivray shared in a statement with Musical Toronto that his aunt had been battling illness and dementia in the years leading up to her passing.

Born in small-town Manitoba, Salemka also spent her formative years in Weyburn, Saskatchewan and Regina, where each successive city further nurtured her interest in pursuing an operatic career.

In her prime, she was one of the premiere Canadian singers in Europe’s major opera houses. From early performances in lead roles at the Canadian Opera Company and Vancouver Opera, her later career spanned such cities as Stuttgart, Vienna, London, Naples, Milan, Paris, and Basel. From 1956-1964, Salemka was the lead soprano at the Frankfurt State Opera. She appeared in prima donna roles such as Mimi, Cio-Cio San, The Merry Widow, and Donna Elvira.

Irene Salemka McGillivray (Regina Leader-Post archive photo)
Irene Salemka McGillivray (Regina Leader-Post archive photo)

“Sadly her career has largely been neglected because she retired to private life almost 40 years ago,” Peter McGillivray noted. “I particularly cherish a Deutsche Gramophon recording of Don Giovanni in German with her as Elvira opposite none other than [Dietrich] Fischer-Dieskau.”

For more CLASSICAL MUSIC NEWS, visit HERE.

Want more updates on Toronto-centric classical music news and review before anyone else finds out? Follow us on Facebook or Twitter for all the latest.

Jennifer Liu

Jennifer Liu

Jennifer holds a master's degree in piano performance and is pursuing her degree in journalism at Carleton University. Previously, she lived for the classic in Toronto and Montreal.
Jennifer Liu
Jennifer Liu

Jennifer Liu

Jennifer holds a master's degree in piano performance and is pursuing her degree in journalism at Carleton University. Previously, she lived for the classic in Toronto and Montreal.
Jennifer Liu
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_high_590x300
comments powered by Disqus

Ludwig Van Toronto

CRITIC'S PICKS | 10 Concerts You Should Absolutely See This Week

By Joseph So on October 23, 2017

Classical music and opera events happening in and around Toronto for the week of Oct. 23 to 29.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_high_590x300

SCRUTINY | Adi Braun Thoroughly Moderne In Her Smashing New Disc

By Joseph So on October 25, 2017

The Canadian jazz stylist scintillating as ever in her CD launch.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article

ZERO IN | Tafelmusik's Jennifer Nichols On Why It's Important To Get Out Of The Way Of The Music

By Sara Schabas on November 14, 2017

How Jennifer Nichols plans to take Tafelmusik's Haus Musik to a new level without tampering with what makes the music great in the first place.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_low_590x300
lv_toronto_ssb_atf_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_high_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_mid_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_low_300x300
lv_toronto_tsb_high_300x700
lv_toronto_tsb_low_300x700
lv_toronto_ssb_atf_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_high_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_mid_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_low_300x300
lv_toronto_tsb_high_300x700
lv_toronto_tsb_low_300x700

We have detected that you are using an adblocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we earn by the advertisements is used to manage this website. Please whitelist our website in your adblocking plugin.