Marie-Anne Asselin, mezzo-soprano (1888-1971)

Marie-Anne Asselin was born at Sainte-Famille on l'Île d'Orléans on September 5, 1888. She moved to Montréal at the turn of the century, where she studied music with Miss Lemire and vocal art with Béatrice Lapalme.

Asselin made her debut at the Théâtre Français in Montréal on April 25, 1919, as Jeanne in André Messager's La Basoche, opposite Sarah Fischer (Colette) and Édouard Sarrazin (duc de Longueville).

In 1920, Asselin opened a vocal studio at 109 Saint-Denis Street in Montréal. The following year, she gave a series of concerts with tenor Émile Gour, bass Germain Lefevbre, baritone Hercule Lavoie and soprano Blanche Gonthier.

In March 1923 she performed, along with José Delaquerrière, Jeanne Maubourg, Blanche Archambault, Germaine Lebel, André Durieux and Maurice Jacquet, in a series of 12 radio broadcasts for CKAC in Montréal. Some of those programs were heard in New England, and the troupe was invited to give a concert, broadcast in several American states, for the opening of a radio station in Springfield.

The mezzo-soprano only made one recording, a 78-rpm disk (HMV 263118) issued by Berliner Gram-o-phone of Montréal. She recorded the songs "Au clavecin" (At the Harpsichord) and "Tes yeux" (Your Eyes).

She then concentrated on teaching, in her studio at 3672 Saint-Hubert Street in Montréal in the 1930s and at 823 Saint-Joseph Boulevard East in the early 1950s. She died in Montreal in 1971. Marie-Anne was the sister of tenor Pierre-Aurèle Asselin (1881-1964) and the great-aunt of pianist André Asselin (1923-2012).

Source: Unpublished research notes by Robert Thérien, music researcher, Montréal

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