Vinci, Ernesto, 1898-1983

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Vinci, Ernesto, 1898-1983

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1898-1983

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Ernesto Vinci (1898-1983), teacher and singer, was born in Gnesen, Prussia (now a part of Poland) as Ernst Wreszynski. Raised as a Reform Jew by father Adolf Wreszynski and mother, Anna Kalinski, he used the surname Wygram professionally during his time in Germany and in Milan, Italy. The evidence is that the surname Vinci was adopted as a professional name in Italy and was used to distinguish his singing persona from his medical career in North America. It is doubtful that he used the names Vinci or Wygram to disguise a Jewish background, since all early correspondence and documents, including immigration records, bear his given name. However, his son was unaware of his Jewish heritage until 1999. Vinci was educated in Berlin (medical degree, 1924) and in Milan (second medical degree, 1933). He began voice training as a medical student and by 1936 was employed as a professional baritone in Italy and Switzerland. In 1939 he emigrated to Canada and took a position with the Halifax Ladies College and Conservatory of Music. In 1945 he joined the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto, and the Royal Conservatory of Music, later adding the Banff School of Fine Arts to his teaching schedule. In his capacity as a voice teacher, Vinci trained some of the best-known singers in Canadian opera (Portia White, Joan Maxwell, Andrew MacMillan, Patricia Rideout). He introduced opera to Alberta and Nova Scotia and he was responsible for programming opera for servicemen during World War II. He retired from the University of Toronto and the Royal Conservatory in 1979 and moved to Shediac, New Brunswick. He died in Moncton in November, 1983.

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2019/12/11 J. Grant. Added VIAF link.

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