Vancouver Opera Chorister Retires After 50 Years

By Logan Martell

Vancouver Opera has announced the retirement of longtime chorister Bette Cosar, who has served with the company for 50 years.

A graduate of UBC as well as UK’s London Opera Centre, Cosar has taught for several years at the Arts Connection in Richmond, as well as her own private studio.

“It is a rare honor to have a chorus member who has performed with one company for 50 years,” said company General Director Tom Wright in an official press statement. “Bette Cosar has been involved with Vancouver Opera since 1973 when she first appeared in Verdi’s ‘Don Carlos.’ Since that production she has performed in 118 productions. This is an incredible accomplishment for any performer, and we are honoured to celebrate and recognize her contributions to Vancouver Opera throughout the years.”

“As far as music is concerned, my favorite scores to perform are from ‘Turandot’ and ‘Madama Butterfly,’” added Cosar. “Over the years, not only have I performed in over a hundred productions with Vancouver Opera, I have also been involved in Gala Concerts and Public Forums. When I haven’t been on stage with Vancouver Opera, I have performed with different mixed choirs. I have loved singing the rich choral repertoire and the technical balance of choral versus opera singing has been very helpful in keeping my voice healthy for so many years…

“It is a pleasure to be performing in a production sponsored by the Vancouver Opera Guild as they were instrumental in shaping my career by providing the support to study with the London Opera Centre,” concluded Cosar. “When I first began at Vancouver Opera I worked closely with the Guild. I was involved in a production of ‘Candide’ at the Vancouver Playhouse and will never forget the assistance of Guild members. I had a forty-five second costume change twice in every show. The production ran for seventeen performances, and they were waiting in the wings to assist me every night. That’s one of the small memories I will take with me into retirement.”

Her last performance with the company came on May 7, for their production of Wagner’s “The Flying Dutchman.”