N.B.: The detail displayed about each honorary degree recipient varies, as
the database was compiled from a variety of sources. However, more information may
be available at the University Archives.
Convocation date: November 23, 1963
Discipline / contribution: music
Citation / biographical information:
Eminent Chancellor, on behalf of the University Council and Senate, I present to you JON VICKERS, internationally celebrated and beloved singer. Jon Vickers was born in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, a city noted for its famous sons. I shall resist temptation by merely reminding you Sir, that the city of Prince Albert has provided Canada with an astonishing number of leading figures, the youngest being Jon Vickers who brings to the world a sweet concordance and harmonious song.Degree received: Doctor of Laws
Though his rise to fame came suddenly, he was eminently well-prepared and trained for the enormous responsibilities thrust upon him. World recognition came to him after many years of hard work and devotion to his art which helped him through the dark moments of disappointments and seeming failures, and since that time, Jon Vickers has brought honour to his country through his magnificent and understanding portrayals of leading operatic roles at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Vienna State Opera: Bayreuth Festival; La Scala, Milan; Metropolitan Opera House; and many others.
An English critic* recently recalling the impression made upon him after hearing Jon Vickers at his British operatic debut in 1957, had this to say; “It was not merely the unusual quality of voice that impressed us then, or the direct and expressive way he used it, but also the credibility of character he brought to the part as it changed and developed from act to act. He showed an extraordinary capacity for exposing the heart and mind of a dramatic character in music.”
His most recent triumph has been in Beethoven’s opera “Fidelio,” in which he sang the part of Florestan, and which critics agree is the finest interpretation heard in thirty years.
Opera all over the world has been enriched by the dramatic conviction and magnificent singing of this young tenor, who was born and trained in Canada.
Eminent Chancellor, I present to you Jon Vickers, and ask that you will confer on him the Degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.
*(Noel Goodwin: Opera, April 1962, p. 237)
Degree presented by: Murray Adaskin, Head of Music
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