Meet Lotfi MansouriBy Cecily CarverPosted in COC History
The Canadian Opera Company welcomed Lotfi Mansouri, our General Director from 1976 to 1988, to the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre last Tuesday evening for an intimate chat and book-signing with his successor, Alexander Neef. Mansouri's new volume of memoirs, Lotfi Mansouri: An Operatic Journey, which will be on sale at the Opera Shop, chronicles his illustrious career, including his time with both the COC and San Francisco Opera. He is perhaps best remembered at the COC for introducing SURTITLES™ for a performance of Elektra in 1983, the very first time any opera house in the world had projected a simultaneous translation of the opera for its audience. His other accomplishments at the COC include founding the Ensemble Studio program, which has nurtured generations of young artists in the early stages of their careers. In the picture to the left, current Ensemble Studio member Simone Osbourne is enthusiastically applauded at the launch by Lotfi and Alexander after a performance of O mio babbino caro.
Here's an excerpt from a review of the book by Jeffery S. McMillan in Opera News:
"Beyond the details of a fascinating career, the other draw of this memoir is its charismatic author. Mansouri is enterprising and utterly devoted to opera as an art form, but it is his charm and civility that hold the reader's interest. Whether mediating between an irate orchestra and its conductor or schmoozing with wealthy donors, his engaging manner repeatedly greases the wheels of collaboration, even with the reader. There are other memoirs with more critically astute insights (Daniel Barenboim's recent book comes to mind), but Mansouri's is probably more fun."
And from John Terauds in the Toronto Star:
"Toronto was but one stop in Mansouri’s long career as an opera director and administrator. The still-energetic 81-year-old has wrapped the story of his life in a tapestry of anecdotes and insights that reflect his outgoing, witty and let’s-do-it personality."