Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Proust Questionnaire, with Stuart Hamilton

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Stuart Hamilton

Stuart Hamilton is the author of Opening Windows: Confessions of a Canadian Vocal Coach (Dundurn). As the title implies, Stuart spent years coaching some of Canada's top singing talent, and has amassed great stories about the challenges and pleasures of his career spent with our country's songbirds.

In his answers to the Proust Questionnaire, Stuart tells Open Book about his sweet tooth, the importance of humour and the two composers he most adores.

The Proust Questionnaire was not invented by Marcel Proust, but it was a much loved game by the French author and many of his contemporaries. The idea behind the questionnaire is that the answers are supposed to reveal the respondent's "true" nature.


What is your dream of happiness?

What is your idea of misery?
Winter in Toronto.

Where would you like to live?
Downtown Toronto — where I live.

What qualities do you admire most in a man?
A sense of humour.

What qualities do you admire most in a woman?
A sense of humour.

What is your chief characteristic?
My sense of humour.

What is your principal fault?
Eating sweets.

What is your greatest extravagance?
Trying to play the piano.

What faults in others are you most tolerant of?

What do you value most about your friends?
Their love.

What characteristic do you dislike most in others?

What characteristic do you dislike most in yourself?
I like myself.

What is your favourite virtue?
My persistence.

What is your favourite occupation?
Playing the piano.

What would you like to be?
A pianist.

What historical figure do you admire the most?
Bach and Debussy.

What character in history do you most dislike?

Who are your favourite prose authors?
Balzac and Flaubert.

Who are your favourite poets?
Verlaine and Baudelaire

Who are your favourite heroes in fiction?
Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary.

Who are your heroes in real life?
Bach and Debussy.

Who is your favourite painter?

Who is your favourite musician?
Bach and Debussy.

What is your favourite food?

What is your favourite drink?

What natural talent would you most like to possess?
Playing the piano.

How do you want to die?

What is your current state of mind?

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
Opera in Concert.

What is your motto?
Keep at it.

Stuart Hamilton has been one of Canada's premier vocal coaches for 65 years. He is founder and artistic director emeritus of Opera in Concert and was the first artistic director of the Canadian Opera Company ensemble. Hamilton gives master classes in vocal interpretation across Canada and lectures around North America. He lives in Toronto.

For more information about Opening Windows please visit the Dundurn website.

Buy this book at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

Check out all the Proust Questionnaire interviews in our archives.

Related item from our archives

JF Robitaille: Minor Dedications


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