________________ CM . . . . Volume VIII Number 21 . . . . June 21, 2002

cover Emma Albani: International Star. (The Quest Library, 16).

Michelle Labreche-Larouche.
Montreal, PQ: XYZ Publishing, 2001.
179 pp., pbk., $15.95.
ISBN 0-9688166-9-X.

Subject Headings:
Albani, Emma, Dame-Fiction.
Singers-Quebec (Province)-Biography.

Grades 6 and up / Ages 12 and up.

Review by Helen Norrie.

** /4

Emma Albani was born Emma Lajeunesse in Chambly, Quebec, in the year 1847 (she changed her name to Albani when studying in Italy because she felt it would be more appealing to European opera lovers). Before she died in 1930, she had become an internationally famous opera star, a friend of Queen Victoria and had served as the principal soprano at the Covent Garden Opera House in London, England for over twenty years.

     This is one of a series of biographies about famous Canadians, ranging from statesmen and explorers to artists and doctors, presented by this publisher in a series called "The Quest Library." Originally written in French, this translation celebrates the life of a woman who was among Quebec's most revered celebrities in the late 19th and early 20th century. It is written with an educational audience in mind and emphasizes the long and difficult preparation that Emma had to go through before she achieved success in her career. It also chronicles her many successes in Italy, France, Germany and the United States, as well as England. She was received with great acclaim in Quebec on the several occasions when she returned home on tour.

     Emma's story is told in the first person, as if she herself was recounting the highlights of her life, and this approach makes the text more lively than many biographies. Pictures, however, are few and far between, and the preponderance of solid text may discourage students who are used to more visual presentations.

     An interesting feature in the appendix is a chronology of events in Emma's life, which also contains information on world events which were occurring at the same time.

     For those who are particularly interested in the musical scene or in this period in Canadian history, and as a worthy addition to a list of mainly English heroes in this series, this book has a place, especially in junior high libraries seeking new Canadian material.

Recommended with reservations.

Helen Norrie authors the Winnipeg Free Press "Children's Books" column.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364