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Éva Gauthier - Concert Tours

After her disappointment with the London Covent Garden Opera Company, Gauthier left Europe for Java, Indonesia, where her future husband, Frans Knoote, (also a trained singer) was a Dutch importer and plantation manager. They married there on May 22, 1911, and for four years Gauthier became engrossed in the music of Java. Through this fortuitous circumstance, she began to incorporate Javanese music into her repertoire. She even obtained permission from the Javanese court to perform and study with a Javanese gamelan (an instrumental ensemble of gongs and chimes), making her likely the first Western woman with classical musical training to do so.

Printed announcement of the marriage of Éva Gauthier to Frans Knoote

Éva Gauthier in the Javanese costumes for which she became known   Éva Gauthier wearing a Javanese headdress

During this period, Gauthier toured Japan, China, Singapore and Malaya, giving recitals in Hong Kong, Canton, Shanghai and Peking (now Beijing) at a time when Western classical music was rarely performed there. Her reviews reflected this fact: "She is the finest singer North China ever heard" (Tientsin Times); "Mlle. Gauthier came, saw and conquered; her concert scored such a musical success, that it is doubtful whether any previous one held in the colony has equaled [it]" (South China Morning Post). Reviewers began to compare her to other famous Canadian performers: "Mlle. Éva Gauthier . . . stands on the same platform with Mme. Albani and Kathleen Parlow, a trio of brilliant examples of Canadian musical talent" (Singapore Free Press).

Booklet of newspaper reviews of Éva Gauthier's performances on her tour of China, 1911

Gauthier also undertook a tour of Australia and New Zealand, but at the outbreak of the First World War, she left for the security of North America, settling in New York City in the fall of 1915, at the age of 29. She eventually divorced her husband after finding, as have many women performers, that the demands of a career did not mix easily with marriage. She maintained her privacy about these events, but it is known that she had a son, named Evan, and that she maintained a friendly correspondence with Knoote for many years.

Éva Gauthier, mezzo-soprano and voice teacher (1885-1958)

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