Community Support of the Luciano & Edith Della Pergola Fonds

The Della Pergolas arrival at McGill University, ca. 1956.

Luciano and Edith Della Pergola were instrumental in bringing opera to McGill University. In 1956, they immigrated from Europe to Montreal, and opened the McGill Opera Studio, which put on over one hundred productions in their thirty years at McGill, and trained a number of students who went on to become famous in their fields.

Born in the early 1900s, the Della Pergolas met when Luciano was Edith’s singing teacher. They were married five years after they met, and then had a daughter, Felicity, who went on to collaborate with her parents in a volunteer capacity at the Opera Studio. Through the 1940s, before moving to Montreal, Luciano sang primarily in Italy, notably at La Scala, while Edith sang in Italy, Austria and Tel Aviv, spending her time primarily at Zurich’s Stadttheater. Upon moving to Montreal, they joined the Beth Sholom Congregation (today Temple Emanu El-Beth Shalom), where Luciano was cantor until 1966. Luciano passed away in 1991, and Edith passed away in 2012, at which time their records were donated to the Jewish Public Library-Archives.

Thanks to a number of generous donations, the JPL-Archives have finally been able to process the Della Pergola fonds. The donations made in honour of Alice Lehrer achieving her Master’s degree in Jewish Studies made possible the hours put into processing the fonds. As such, the JPL-Archives would like to extend its gratitude to Vivian and Howard Stotland, Sylvia Sklar, Alice Herscovitch and Robert Kleinman, Alice and Joel Raby, Reisa and Bruce Vineberg, Alissa and Barry Katsof, and Anne Wacjer and Rick Rubin.  Most of all, we extend a heartfelt congratulations to Alice Lehrer as well as our gratitude to her for continued dedication to Jewish scholarship, heritage and the Montreal community.

These donations not only permitted the fonds to be processed, which benefits researchers and public alike, as the fonds is now publicly available, but also benefits the continuation of the JPL-Archives as a training ground for new archivists and information professionals. The Della Pergola fonds was processed by a student of the McGill University Masters of Information Studies program, whose education has been positively supplemented by the experience gained by working with the Della Pergola fonds.

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