Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Jan Rubes, one of the founding members of the COC, dead at 89

Jan Rubes, one of Canada's great talents, died today. Born in what is now the Czech Republic, Rubes came to Canada in 1948 where he became a member of the Opera Festival Company of Toronto, which became the COC. He became well known for his many, many bass roles, including Bluebeard, Boris, Figaro, and Kecal - 90 roles in all, singing along side some of the greatest singers in the world, including Joan Sutherland. He also ran the COC touring program from '74-'76 and directed at Stratford, the COC and Vancouver Opera.

He also had an enormous life off of the opera stage. He taught at Wilfrid Laurier, appeared in 36 movies (including "Witness" and "Snow Falling on Cedars,") dozens of TV shows (including the X-Files, ER, Stargate, and Due South,) the president of the Family Channel, and was the National Seniors Tennis Champion. Order of Canada, Genie awards, Queen's Jubilee Medal winner. Amazing.

He was an amazing talent, one I sadly never got to meet. He leaves behind a footprint the size of which won't be filled soon and his influence on so many singers of the current and previous generation is undeniable.

No cause of death was given. (UPDATE: It is being reported as a stroke.)

Jan Rubes in Witness (sorry, no singing clips available):

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