Bette Cosar will celebrate this weekend as she retires after 50 years in Vancouver Opera’s chorus following the final performance of Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman on Sunday.
This is an incredible accomplishment for any performer, and we are honoured to celebrate and recognize her contributions to Vancouver Opera throughout the years. – Tom Wright
Cosar’s performance in The Flying Dutchman holds special meaning as the production is sponsored by the Vancouver Opera Guild, which was instrumental in helping to shape her career and supported her with her studies at the London Opera Centre after graduating from UBC.
“When I first began at Vancouver Opera, I worked closely with the Guild,” she says. “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.”
In addition to The Flying Dutchman, other memorable career moments with Vancouver Opera include working with the composer and librettist for the premiere of The Architect: An Opera in Two Acts, as well as The Rake’s Progress and Dialogues of the Carmelites.
“As far as music is concerned, my favourite scores to perform are from Turnadot and Madama Butterfly,” she says.
Vancouver Opera’s general director Tom Wright calls it a rare honour to have a chorus member with one company for fifty years.
“Bette Cosar has been involved with Vancouver Opera since 1973, when she first appeared in Verdi’s Don Carlos,” says Wright. “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.”
In addition to performing in 100+ productions, Cosar was also involved in the company’s gala concerts and public forums and has performed in various mixed choirs when not on stage with Vancouver Opera.
“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,” she says.
Cosar says she will enjoy her retirement by increasing her proficiency in badminton and golf.