Mozart’s final opus is imbued with an enduring emotional power and humanity that make it impossible to resist. Bernard Labadie, La Chapelle de Québec, and Les Violons du Roy revisit this beloved work in conjunction with two never-before-programmed pieces: Meistermusik, also by Mozart, and Kraus’s Symphonie funèbre.
Conductors and soloists
Bernard Labadie, an internationally recognized specialist in the baroque and classical repertoires, is the founding conductor of Les Violons du Roy. He was the ensemble’s music director from 1984 to 2014 and remains the music director of La Chapelle de Québec, which he founded in 1985.
As head of both ensembles, he has toured Europe and North America performing at some of the most illustrious concert halls and festivals: Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center (New York), Walt Disney Concert Hall (Los Angeles), Kennedy Center (Washington), the Barbican (London), Berlin Philharmonie, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées (Paris), Brussels’ Centre for Fine Arts, and the Salzburg, Bergen, Rheingau, and Schleswig-Holstein festivals.
In 2017, Bernard Labadie was named principal conductor of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s in New York. He conducts the orchestra’s annual concert series at Carnegie Hall, often with La Chapelle de Québec.
A much sought-after guest conductor in North America, he makes frequent appearances with major American and Canadian orchestras: Chicago, New York, Cleveland, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Houston, New World Symphony, Montréal, Toronto and Ottawa. In Europe, he has conducted the Mozarteum of Salzburg and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the orchestras of Lyon, Bordeaux-Aquitaine, and Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw. He has also headed several radio orchestras, including the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in Munich, the Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as the radio orchestras in Berlin, Frankfurt, Cologne, Hanover, and Helsinki.
Bernard Labadie regularly collaborates with some of the most prestigious period-instrument early music ensembles: Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, The English Concert, Academy of Ancient Music, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and Handel and Haydn Society (Boston).
At the opera, he served as artistic director of Opéra de Québec from 1994 to 2003 and as artistic director of Opéra de Montréal from 2002 to 2006. He has also appeared as guest conductor with the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto, and the Santa Fe, Cincinnati, and Glimmerglass operas. In 2021, he made his debut appearance at the Glyndebourne Festival.
Both as a guest conductor and with Les Violons du Roy, Bernard Labadie has recorded some twenty albums for Virgin Classics (now Erato), EMI, Pentatone, Dorian, ATMA, Hyperion, and Naïve.
A tireless ambassador for music in his hometown of Québec City, Bernard Labadie was made an Officer of the Order of Canada, a Knight of the Ordre national du Québec, and Compagnon des arts et des lettres du Québec. He is also a recipient of the Medal of Honour of the National Assembly of Québec, the Banff Centre’s National Arts Award, the Samuel de Champlain Award, and honorary doctorates from Université Laval (Alma Mater) and the Manhattan School of Music.
Young coloratura soprano Myriam Leblanc is the recipient of several prizes: first prize and Audience Choice Award at the Trois-Rivières Symphony Orchestra Competition, Young Lyric Ambassador 2014 (Québec Bavaria prize), winner of an Audience Choice Award in the Center Stage competition of the Canadian Opera Company, third prize in the Auditions Nouvelles Découvertes competition of the Ottawa Choral Society, winner of the excellence grant awarded annually by the Atelier lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal, and first prize in the Mathieu Duguay Early Music Competition at the Lamèque International Baroque Music Festival in 2017. Myriam is a versatile artist who is equally at home in the classical repertoire as in bel canto and Baroque. She is recognized for her pure timbre, her supple and warm voice, and her technical and expressive mastery.
She has shone in the roles of Gilda in Verdi’s Rigoletto (Opéra de Montréal), Micaëla in Carmen by Bizet (Opéra de Québec), Donna Anna in Don Giovanni (Opera in Saskatoon), Milica in Svadba by Sokolovic (Opéra de Montréal), the Flower Girl in Parsifal by Wagner (Orchester Métropolitain), the High Priestess in Aïda by Verdi (Opera de Montréal) and Juliette in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette (Jeunesses Musicales du Canada). She also specializes in oratorios and concert singing and has sung Bach’s “Christmas Oratorio” (Ensemble Caprice), Dixit Dominus by Vivaldi (I Musici), Bach’s Magnificat (Les Violons du Roy), Symphony No. 2 “Lobgesang” by Mendelssohn (Orchestre Métropolitain), several cantatas by Bach including “Ich habe genug,” and various other works.
Tunisian-born Rihab Chaieb is a graduate of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Program, where she appeared in numerous productions, including L’italiana in Algeri (Zulma), Luisa Miller (Laura), Cavalleria Rusticana (Lola) and Hänsel und Gretel (Sandmännchen). Returning since as a guest in Don Giovanni (Zerlina) under Cornelius Meister, she appears there this season as Nefertiti in Phelim McDermott’s unforgettable production of Philip Glass’s Akhnaten, conducted by Karen Kamensek.
In the 2021/22 season, Rihab debuts at Washington National Opera in Così fan tutte (Dorabella), sings Penelope on a European concert tour and recording of Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria with Ensemble I Gemelli and Emiliano Gonzalez Toro, returns to Opéra et Orchestre National de Montpellier as Maddalena in Marie-Eve Signeyrole’s new staging of Rigoletto, and joins Palm Beach Opera in the title role of Carmen. In concert, she joins the Toronto Symphony Orchestra for Handel’s Messiah, and Les Violons du Roy for Mozart’s Requiem.
Demonstrating strong repertoire versatility in recent seasons, Rihab debuted as Charlotte in Werther at Opera Vlaanderen under Giedrė Šlekytė, at Houston Grand Opera in the world premiere of Tarik O’Regan’s The Phoenix, as Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia) at Cincinnati Opera, and as Offenbach’s Fantasio at Opéra de Montpellier. She sang Lola in Robert Carsen’s new staging under Lorenzo Viotti for Dutch National Opera, Dorabella at Teatro Santiago de Chile, and Kasturbai in Philip Glass’ Satyagraha at Opera Vlaanderen. She also received unanimous acclaim for her first Carmen in Lydia Steier’s intense new production for Oper Köln.
Canadian tenor Andrew Haji is one of the most sought-after voices on both the operatic and concert stages across North America and Europe. Recent highlights include his debut at the Edinburgh International Festival as Jonathan in Handel’s Saul, Beethoven’s Ninth with the Milwaukee Symphony, and a program of Bach Cantatas with l’Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal and Boston’s prestigious Handel + Haydn Society.
Other recent engagements include Mozart’s Requiem for Orchestra St. Luke’s, Les Violons du Roy, and National Arts Centre Orchestra; Handel’s Messiah with the Houston Symphony and the National Arts Centre; La bohème with Edmonton Opera, La traviata with Calgary Opera; Beethoven’s Ninth with the Victoria Symphony; Bach’s B Minor Mass with the Elora Festival.
Andrew’s 20/21 season pivoted due to the COVID-19 pandemic and saw him star in various digital and streaming productions. This included starring as Satyavan in Against the Grain’s acclaimed production of Holst’s Sāvitri. Haji also performed as the tenor soloist in the digital Mozart’s Requiem for the Canadian Opera Company, and appeared as Rinuccio in the company’s streamed production of Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi. When live performances returned, he took to the stage for Opéra de Québec’s Barber of Seville, reprising the role of Count Almaviva.
Haji’s 2019/20 season began with Alfredo in La traviata for Vancouver Opera, followed by Messiah for the Edmonton Symphony, Pollione in Norma for Calgary Opera, Rossini’s Stabat Mater with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 for the Victoria Symphony. Appearances during the 2018/2019 season included Rodolfo in La bohème and Cassio in Otello for the Canadian Opera Company (COC), Bach’s Mass in B minor for the Amadeus Choir and Alfredo in Die Fledermaus for Saskatoon Opera.
French Canadian bass-baritone Philippe Sly has gained international recognition for his “beautiful, blooming tone and magnetic stage presence” (San Francisco Chronicle). He was the first prize winner of the prestigious Concours Musical International de Montréal and a grand prize winner in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, singing the varied repertoire of Mozart, Bach, Handel, Stravinsky, and Wagner.
In the 2018–2019 season, Philippe Sly returned to the Paris Opera for his first performances of Leporello in a new production of Don Giovanni conducted by Philippe Jordan. He was heard in Handel’s Messiah with the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin and with the Handel & Haydn Society conducted by Bernard Labadie. Additional concert engagements have included Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass and Mozart’s Requiem with Orchestra of St. Luke’s and Labadie, as well as Bach’s St Matthew Passion with the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. In recital he performed Winterreise with pianist Michael McMahon in Montreal, Vancouver, San Francisco, and other venues. He has also been seen in special performances with Le Chimera Project of Schubert’s Winterreise arranged for the Klezmer quartet.
A native of Montreal, Sly frequently appears with Orchestre symphonique de Montréal. He has been heard with the OSM in Debussy’s Pelléas et Melisande as Golaud, Honegger’s L’Aiglon (recorded for commercial release), Bach’s St John Passion, Méphistophélès in Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust, and Nielsen’s Symphony No. 3, as well as songs by Rachmaninoff, Grieg, and Sibelius. As a soloist with Yannick Nézet-Séguin, he has sung performances of Mozart’s Mass in C minor and Bach’s St Matthew Passion, both with the Philadelphia Orchestra, and Bach’s St Matthew Passion again with Orchestre Métropolitain in Montreal. He is featured as Antonio in a recording of Le Nozze di Figaro with Nézet-Séguin at the Baden-Baden Festival on Deutsche Grammophon.
Philippe performed Panthée in Berlioz’s Les Troyens with Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg, which won a Grammy Award (Warner/Erato). He made his Los Angeles Philharmonic debut as Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, his Philadelphia Orchestra debut in Fauré’s Requiem, his Minnesota Orchestra debut in Fauré’s Requiem conducted by Bernard Labadie, and his Dallas Symphony debut in Bach’s St Matthew Passion. Additional concert engagements have included Handel’s Messiah with the Toronto Symphony, Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, and at the National Arts Centre; Handel’s Solomon with Bernard Labadie and Les Violons du Roy; concerts of Fauré, Handel, and Haydn with Orchestre symphonique de Québec; and Mozart’s Requiem with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Labadie.
La Chapelle de QuébecChamber choir
Created in 1985 by founding conductor and music director Bernard Labadie, La Chapelle de Québec is one of North America’s premiere voice ensembles. The group is made up exclusively of professional singers who are hand picked from all over Canada. This unique chamber choir specializes in the choral/orchestral repertoire of the 17th and 18th centuries. The choir performs regularly with its other half, chamber orchestra Les Violons du Roy, and as a guest choir with some of the finest orchestras in North America. Its interpretations of the oratorios, requiems, masses, and cantatas of Bach, Handel, Mozart, and Haydn, as well as Fauré and Duruflé, are frequently hailed in the Canadian and international press.
La Chapelle de Québec is heard regularly at Palais Montcalm in Quebec City and Maison symphonique in Montreal, as well as at the Walt Disney Concert Hall with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, at Carnegie Hall with Les Violons du Roy and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and in Ottawa with the National Arts Centre Orchestra. The choir’s concerts are often broadcast by the CBC and Radio-Canada in Canada and by National Public Radio in the United States.
La Chapelle de Québec is also known for its role in Chemin de Noël, an annual event that brings music lovers from throughout the Québec City region together every December.
Symphonie funèbre in C Minor, VB148
Requiem in D Minor, K.626 (revised and completed by R. D. Levin)