Collection RBSC-ARC-1752 - Irving Guttman collection

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Irving Guttman collection

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  • Graphic material

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Physical description

[ca. 780 photographs] -- 1 invitation -- 6 mounted letters

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Biographical history

Irving Allen Guttman, born the 27th of October 1928, was a revered Canadian opera director. Known as “the father of opera in Western Canada,” Irving Guttman mentored and developed many famous singers, and directed numerous operas in Canada and overseas.

Irving Guttman’s contributions to the opera in Canada are vast. He established himself as artistic director of the Vancouver and Edmonton operas in 1960 and 1965 respectively, and serving in these roles congruently; became artistic director of the Manitoba opera in 1977; and lastly served as the founding artistic director of the Saskatchewan opera in 1999.
Although Mr. Guttman retired in 2003, he continued to mentor young opera students at the University of British Columbia until 2010.

Mr. Guttman received the Canadian Centennial Medal (1967), the Canada 125 Medal (1992), and the Queen’s Golden (2002) and Diamond Jubilee Medals (2012). He was a member of the Order of Canada (1988), and the Order of British Columbia (2002), and was inducted into the Canadian Opera Hall of Fame in 1995.

Mr. Guttman died on December 7th, 2014 in Vancouver, B.C.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The Irving Guttman Collection is a large collection of photographs of different people and places in the opera world. There are two different parts of this photographic collection: The first part of the collection includes pictures of Mr. Guttman directing and coaching opera performers, or posing with opera enthusiasts from across the globe. A large bulk of these first photographs are of Mr. Guttman's production of the operas, Norma, Tosca, Traviatta, and Aida. However, other operas such as Madam Butterfly, Daughter of the Regiment, Othello, Carmen and more are included in the Collection.

The second part of the collection consists of autographed portraits of opera performers, and other operatic stakeholders. The list of operatic singers, conductors, composers and directors, includes but is not limited to: Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Leonard Bernstein, Joan Sutherland, Cristina Deutekom, Montserrat Caballé, John Alexander, Tracy Dahl, Marilyn Horne, Linda Roark-Strummer, Huguette Tourangeau, Renata Tebaldi, Clarice Carson, Regina Resnik, Mary Costa, Irene Salemka, Cecilia Bartoli, Judith Forst, Ermanno Mauro, and Sylvia Sass.

Lastly, there is a collection of congratulatory letters to Mr. Guttman for his 25th anniversary as artistic director of the Edmonton Opera.

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Collection arranged and described by student archivist Dennis Michailides in December, 2015.

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