Ruby (Jeanne) Gordon

Ruby (Jeanne) Gordon

Canadian opera singer (contralto)
Country: Canada

  1. Biography of Ruby (Jean) Gordon
  2. Early Life and Education
  3. Marriage and Career
  4. Metropolitan Opera and Success
  5. Blue Bird and Musical Repertoire
  6. Later Years and Legacy

Biography of Ruby (Jean) Gordon

Early Life and Education

Ruby Gordon, later known as Jean Gordon, was born in Wallaceburg, Ontario, Canada. Her father, John Gordon, was a member of Parliament, and she grew up singing in front of Wilfrid Laurier, the former Prime Minister of Canada. Jean was greatly influenced by her teacher, Albert Ham, who taught her at Havergal College in Toronto.

Marriage and Career

In 1908, Ruby married Ralph K. Trix, a native of Detroit. However, their marriage was unsuccessful, and they eventually divorced in 1917. It was after her divorce that Ruby pursued a career in singing. She gained recognition and was invited to perform in New York City, where she signed a three-year contract with the Metropolitan Opera. It was during this time that Ruby changed her name to Jean.

Metropolitan Opera and Success

Jean Gordon performed at the Rialto Theatre in New York, where she sang opera interludes in local variety shows. She later caught the attention of Creatore Grand Opera agents and made her debut as Amneris in "Aida" on December 11, 1918. She then toured with the Scotti Grand Opera troupe before joining the Metropolitan Opera. Her debut at the Met was as Azucena in "Il trovatore," and she quickly became a leading contralto at the theater.

Blue Bird and Musical Repertoire

In 1919, Jean Gordon gained further acclaim for her portrayal of the Fairy in the premiere of Albert Wolff's "L'oiseau bleu." By this time, she had already added two dozen classical roles to her repertoire, performing in French, Italian, German, and English. Wilfrid Pelletier trained Jean for most of her roles. She regularly performed in operas and solo concerts throughout her career.

Later Years and Legacy

On May 11, 1926, Jean Gordon participated in a special Canadian show in Montreal alongside other renowned artists. In 1928, she performed at the Monte Carlo Opera, and in 1930, she worked with the Toronto Promenade Orchestra under the direction of Reginald Stewart. Sadly, Jean's career was cut short when she suffered a nervous breakdown. She sought treatment in a Missouri sanatorium but tragically passed away from a heart attack.

Many critics believe that Jean Gordon's illness struck at a time when her career had not yet reached its full potential. However, her mesmerizing voice lives on through numerous recordings of her performances. She recorded for Columbia in 1920 and for Victor in 1925, and these recordings are now part of the "Roll Back the Years" collection.