I have a teeny little bit of personal history with this opera icon; sad to see that Ms Forrester has left us.
This would have been some thirty years ago, when as a college student I was earning rent money by stage-managing any and every sort of musical event, one of which was a set of master classes given by the diva.
For those who haven’t been to a master class, it’s essentially a public music lesson. The students (young professionals on that occasion) perform little bits and pieces; the Star critiques and praises and makes them retake and rethink and rework. Good fun — she was a natural teacher and obviously enjoyed offering faux-intimate “just between me and all of you” asides to the audience; I sure learned a lot about opera singing.
Anyhow, here’s what sticks in my memory. I’d put in a few hours of hard work setting up the room and polishing the piano and so on; then the Leading Lady swept in. She arrived in a cloud of perfume and pastel taffeta, retainers either side, laughing hugely, her smile framed by a tower of golden hair and a generous helping of creamy bosom. Introductions all around, then she asked “And which way to the little girls’ room?”
I didn’t have the nerve to say it, but I was thinking she was about as far from a “little girl” as it’s possible for a female person to be; it was a thrill to be in her presence.
Comment feed for ongoing:
From: Robert I. Evans (Jun 17 2010, at 13:21)
Back in the late "50's as teenagers my sister and I attended a concert in the big city of Camrose, Alberta. Ms. Forrester was singer we had come to hear. This was our first introduction to this remarkable type of music and we both sat enthrawled as the inspiring lady belted out her songs. l"ll never forget an episode that happened toward the very end of her performance. For her last set on stage Ms.Forrester came out from the wings in a Very Beautiful Emerald colored gown. Velvet; I believe. What a presence! Buxom, Reddish blond hair, Pregnant, Low cut yolk- Busselled dress and that voice! Wow, I was star struck. When Her set finished the entire audience were on thier feet. After a couple of encore's down the main Isle of the theater came an older Bald Gentleman bearing a large boquet of Red Long Stem Roses. He stood mid stage. Ms. Forrester bent over to accept the roses and because of the low cut of her gown the poor Gentleman got to see more than her beautiful smile. The whole audience broke into histerical laughter when the mans bald head BLUSHED into a bright a RED color as the Roses he had just presented.
From: Jim Harve (Jun 17 2010, at 18:39)
From: Mike (Jun 19 2010, at 12:00)
There is a documentary on YouTube of one of her master classes (in three parts):