Opéra de Québec | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Opéra de Québec

Opéra de Québec. Opera company founded in 1984 due notably to the financial contribution of the Fondation de l'Opéra de Québec, created in the preceeding year to promote the lyric arts in the city.

Opéra de Québec

Opéra de Québec. Opera company founded in 1984 due notably to the financial contribution of the Fondation de l'Opéra de Québec, created in the preceeding year to promote the lyric arts in the city.

The creation of the Opéra de Québec gave the capital city of Quebec the opportunity to endow a permanent company, taking over, to a certain extent, the mandate of the Théâtre lyrique de Nouvelle-France, which had ceased operations in 1970. Since that time, even though opera continued to be represented during the artistic season - thanks to the productions of the Opéra de Québec and of the Société lyrique d'Aubigny - the irregularity of the presentations combined with the precarious financial situation confronting these societies, convinced a group of Quebec business men, under the leadership of Jean-Paul Cloutier, to establish a stabilization fund which would allow the financial support of at least two operas annually. The resultant Fondation de l'Opéra de Québec (1983), undertook a subscription campaign and organised a fund-raising evening. The MACQ agreed to match the amount raised, up to the sum of $100,000. On 12 May 1983, a gala performance of La Traviata - a joint production of the Société lyrique d'Aubigny and the Grand Théâtre de Québec - officially launched the Quebec enterprise. On 24 Oct 1984, on the occasion of the opening of the exhibition 'Hommage à Raoul Jobin', at the Grand Théâtre, the Minister for Cultural Affairs, Clément Richard, announced the official establishment of the Opéra de Québec. The artistic and musical direction was entrusted to Guy Bélanger, with the participation of the Québec SO.


On 16 May 11985, the Opéra de Québec presented its first production: Madama Butterfly. It then successively mounted two productions a season: Norma and Carmen (1985-6), The Daughter of the Regiment and La Bohème (1986-87), The Marriage of Figaro and Faust (1987-8), Manon and Samson et Dalila (1988-9), Rigoletto as well as Cavalleria Rusticana and I Pagliacci (1989-90), Lucia di Lammermoor and The Tales of Hoffmann(1990-91).


As the principal goal of the Opéra de Québec has been to nurture Quebec talent, several of these have made their mark there : particularly the sopranos Colette Boky, Claudine Côté, Céline Dussault, Lyne Fortin, Jacqueline Lespérance, Marie-Danielle Parent, Adrienne Savoie and Édith Tremblay; mezzo-sopranos or contraltos Odette Beaupré, Michèle Gaudreau, Christine Lemelin, Sonia Racine and Thérèse Sevadjian; tenors Yves Cantin, Frederick Donaldson, André Jobin, Louis Langelier, Claude-Robin Pelletier and Paul Trépanier; baritones Theodore Baerg, Jean-François Lapointe, Grégoire Legendre, Charles Prévost, Robert Savoie, Mario Tremblay and Bernard Turgeon; basses Jean-Clément Bergeron, Pierre Charbonneau, Claude Corbeil, Claude Grenier and Joseph Rouleau. Singers from outside the province have also been invited to perform, notably the sopranos Eva Baraian, Evelyne Brunner and Aurea Gomez; the contraltos Corina Circa-Popa, Luciana d'Intino and Leslie Richards; the tenors Jean Dupouy, Richard Fredericks, Gérard Garino, Louis Gentile, Mario Malagnini, Luciano Saldari and Giuseppe Vendittelli; the baritones David Arnold, John Fanning and Mark Pedrotti. Staging directors have included Pierrette Alarie, Marc Bégin, Laurent Gerber, Roger Gosselin, Irving Guttman, André Jobin, Roland Laroche, Antonello Madau-Diaz, Peter Symcox, Flavio Trevisan and Bernard Uzan, among others. Set design has been provided mainly by Paul Bussières and Claude Girard, and several sets have come from the opera houses of Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary, from the COC, and from operas in New Orleans, Virginia and Baltimore.

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