Dr. Irving Guttman graduated from Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music in 1952 and was active in the development of opera in Eastern Canada in the 1950s and ’60s. In 1960 he helped launch the Vancouver Opera, which put Vancouver on the map in the international opera community. Guttman has mounted productions for singers including Luciano Pavarotti, Beverly Sills, Joan Sutherland and Placido Domingo. In 1992, he became a founding director of a non-profit society, Friends for Life, which helps people living with AIDS and cancer. Today, this organization serves over 1,200 West End residents of Vancouver. He is a member of the Order of Canada and a member of the Canada Arts Council advisory committee.