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 17th-, 18th-, and early 19th century repertoire, 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 choir, which he founded in 1985. He has toured Europe and the Americas as the head of both ensembles, performing with them at some of the world’s greatest concert halls and festivals: Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York, Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the Kennedy Center in Washington, the Barbican in London, the Berlin Philharmonie, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, and the Salzburg, Bergen, Rheingau, and Schleswig Holstein festivals. In the spring of 2018 he leads Les Violons du Roy on a U.S., Mexico, and Colombia tour featuring violinist Isabelle Faust and soprano Julia Lezhneva.
In 2017 Bernard Labadie was named principal conductor of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s in New York, beginning with the 2018–2019 season. As such, he will conduct the orchestra’s annual concert series at Carnegie Hall. In great demand as a guest conductor, Maestro Labadie makes frequent appearances with major North American and European orchestras. In the 2017–2018 season alone, his engagements include the Cleveland and Minnesota orchestras; the Pittsburgh, Saint-Louis, Baltimore, and Toronto symphony orchestras; the radio orchestras of Frankfurt, Finland (Helsinki), and Berlin; the Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra, Lyon National Orchestra, and the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa. Since the start of his international career in the late 1990s, he has also made appearances with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in Munich, the Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam, the Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, and Atlanta orchestras, the New World Symphony Orchestra in Miami Beach, and Orchestre symphonique de Montréal.
Bernard Labadie is very active in the world of period orchestras. He made his conducting début with Berlin’s Akademie für alte Musik in November 2017 and has also led the Academy of Ancient Music, The English Concert, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Collegium Vocale Gent, the Handel and Haydn Society orchestra in Boston, and Montreal’s Ensemble Arion.
At the opera, Bernard Labadie 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, Santa Fe Opera, Cincinnati Opera, and at Glimmerglass.
Bernard Labadie has recorded some twenty albums for Virgin Classics (Erato), EMI, Dorian, ATMA, Hyperion, and Naïve, both as a guest conductor and with Les Violons du Roy. Two new releases, with the SWR Freiburg Symphony Orchestra and with Berlin’s Akademie für Alte Musik, are due out in 2018.
A tireless ambassador for music in his hometown of Québec City, Bernard Labadie was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2005 and a Knight of the Ordre national du Québec in 2006. In 2008 he received the Banff Centre’s National Arts Award for his contribution to the development of the arts in Canada and an honorary doctorate from his alma mater, Université Laval. In 2016 Bernard Labadie received the Samuel de Champlain award in Paris and was made a Compagnon des arts et des lettres du Québec for his contribution to the arts in Quebec society. He received an honorary doctorate from the Manhattan School of Music in New York City and the Medal of the National Assembly of Quebec in 2018.
A graduate of McGill University, young Canadian soprano Myriam Leblanc was a first prize winner and People's Choice Award winner at the Orchestre symphonique de Trois-Rivières Competition, a Jeune Ambassadrice Lyrique in 2014, Audience Choice Award winner at the Canadian Opera Company Centre Stage Competition, third prize winner at the Ottawa Choral Society New Discoveries contest, and first prize winner in the Mathieu-Duguay Early Music Competition at the 2017 Lamèque International Baroque Music Festival. She is recognized for the purity of her tone, her flexible and warm voice and her mastery of both technique and musical expressiveness.
In 2015, she sang the title role in Romeo and Juliet with Jeunesses Musicales du Canada and performed as a soloist at numerous concerts with Opéra de Montréal’s Atelier lyrique. In 2016, she made her debut with Opéra de Montréal in the role of the High Priestess in Verdi's Aida. La Presse music critic Caroline Rodgers described her voice as one of "rare beauty." In 2017, she sang Micaela in Bizet's Carmen with Orchestre symphonique de Longueuil, and Donna Anna in Mozart’s Don Giovanni with Saskatoon Opera.
Her most recent performances include Milica in Sokolovic's Svadba and Gilda in Verdi's Rigoletto with Opéra de Montréal, Micaela in Bizet's Carmen with Opéra de Québec, Handel's Messiah with Ensemble Caprice, Orff’s Carmina Burana with Chœur classique de Montréal and Musica Orbium, Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 2 "Lobgesang" with Orchestre Metropolitain, and concerts with conductors such as Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Kent Nagano, and Matthias Maute.
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’ Akhnaten, conducted by Karen Kamensek.
In the 2021/22 season, Rihab Chaieb 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, Chaieb 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 Chaieb 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. For Dutch National Opera, Chaieb sang Lola in Robert Carsen’s new staging under Lorenzo Viotti, Dorabella at Teatro Santiago de Chile, Kasturbai in Philip Glass’ Satyagraha at Opera Vlaanderen, and received unanimous acclaim for her first Carmen in Lydia Steier’s intense new production for Oper Köln.
Canadian tenor Andrew Haji is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after voices on both the operatic and concert stages. Winner of the Grand Prix at the 50th International Vocal Competition in ‘s-Hertogenbosch and the Montreal International Music Competition’s Oratorio Prize, Haji recently performed Bach’s Matthäus-Passion with Pinnock and the National Arts Centre Orchestra and Messiah for the Toronto Symphony – Debus conducting.
An exciting season in 2020/2021 is in the plans and includes Alfredo in La traviata for Calgary Opera, Elijah for Symphony Nova Scotia, Rodolfo in La bohème for Edmonton Opera and a recital for the Jeffery Concert Series of London, Ontario. These projects will be subject to health advisories caused by the global pandemic.
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.
In 2017/2018, the Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern winner was heard as Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore in Toronto for the COC and for Vancouver Opera, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 for the Toronto Symphony, Messiah for the Grand Philharmonic Choir of Kitchener-Waterloo and the opening night gala at the Elora Festival. Haji is an alumnus of the COC Ensemble Studio and has also been heard at the Four Seasons Centre as Alfredo in La traviata and Tamino in Die Zauberflöte. During his time as a member of the Ensemble Studio, his leading roles included Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia and Ferrando in Così fan tutte.
The Salzburg Festival featured Haji in its production of Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia, his festival debut. For the Wexford Festival he starred as Hélios in Félicien David’s Herculanum and for Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, as Rodolfo in Puccini’s La bohème.
Selected recent and upcoming concert engagements include performances of Haydn’s The Creation, Verdi’s Requiem, Puccini’s Messa di Gloria, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Rossini’s Petite messe solennelle, and Mozart’s Requiem, Great Mass in C minor, and Coronation Mass.
Andrew Haji holds both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree from the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music where he performed in productions of Les mamelles de Tirésias, Don Giovanni, Candide, Il mondo della luna and Rob Ford: The Opera, among others. He was invited to participate in young artist programmes at the Salzburg Festival Young Singers Project, the Centre for Opera Studies in Italy, the Music Academy of the West and Accademia Europea dell’Opera where he was influenced by some of the world’s finest musicians. A native-born Ontarian, he has received awards from the Marilyn Horne Song Competition in Santa Barbara and the COC’s annual Ensemble Studio Competition.
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.
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)