Bernard Labadie serves up Handel’s most regal compositions in a program featuring some of the maestro’s most celebrated works, including Music for the Royal Fireworks and Zadok the Priest! With a roster of astounding soloists, La Chapelle de Québec and Les Violons du Roy, Bernard Labadie delivers a performance worthy of the oath of allegiance he has long sworn to King Handel.
This concert was originally intended for Les Violons du Roy and La Chapelle de Québec’s 2020–2021 season.
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.
Magali Simard-Galdès is a young Canadian soprano renowned for her shimmering tone, refined musicality, and magnetic stage presence.
Magali has appeared in opera, recital, and with orchestra. Most recently, she appeared with I Musici de Montréal in Vivaldi’s Dixit dominus, RV 807, ECM+ in Gonneville’s Bonhomme de chemin, and Harmonie des saisons in Handel’s Messiah. She also portrayed Agnès in George Benjamin's Written on Skin with Opéra de Montréal, where she previously sung Constance in Dialogues des Carmélites, and Frasquita in Carmen. In past seasons, on the orchestral stage, she has performed with ensembles including Atelier lyrique de Tourcoing in Dubois’s Paradis Perdu, Opéra Grand Avignon in Charpentier’s Pastorale sur la nativité, Orchestre Métropolitain with Yannick Nézet-Séguin in Parsifal at the Festival de Lanaudière, as well as Orchestre Philharmonique du Nouveau Monde, Ensemble Novello, and Orchestre symphonique de l’Estuaire.
In 2019, Magali recorded three new song cycles by Deirdre Gribbin, Ailis Ni Riain, and Fuhong Shi, with the Tionscadal na nAmhrán Ealaíne Gaeilge/Irish Language Art Song Project. On the ATMA Classique label, she can be heard in Berlioz’s 25 Romances for Voice and Guitar and Ana Sokolovic’s Sirens. She also self-produced her first recital album Muses, which made Radio-Canada’s 2017 “50 Albums of the Year” list.
Counter-tenor Tim Mead is praised for his “alluring” and “consistently excellent” interpretations (New York Times). With his “rich, mellifluous sound” (Guardian), he is recognized as one of the finest across the generations of counter-tenors.
Recent operatic highlights include Goffredo in Rinaldo at Glyndebourne; Endimione in La Calisto for Teatro Real, Madrid, and at the Bayerische Staatsoper; Bertarido in Rodelinda for Opéra de Lille; Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Opera Philadelphia, Glyndebourne, and Bergen National Opera; Hamor in Jephtha at the Opéra National de Paris; the title role in Akhnaten and Ottone in Agrippina for Opera Vlaanderen; the Boy/Angel in Written on Skin at the Bolshoi; Bertarido in Rodelinda at the English National Opera; and Arsamene in Cavalli’s Xerse with Le Concert d’Astrée at Opéra de Lille, Theater an der Wien, and Théâtre de Caen.
On the concert platform, recent highlights include Handel’s Jephtha with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra at the BBC Proms; a European recital tour with Le Concert d’Astrée; Bach’s St. John Passion with Jonathan Cohen and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra; an appearance with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl and Walt Disney Concert Hall; a tour of Asia with The English Concert; Athamas in Semele with the CBSO and the Handel and Haydn Society; Didymus in Theodora with Akademie für Alte Musik; the world premiere of Theo Loevendie in Spinoza at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam; Handel’s Messiah with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, the New York Philharmonic, and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (OAE), Gabrieli Consort, the Handel & Haydn Society, the Academy of Ancient Music, and Le Concert d’Astree; the Bach B Minor Mass with The English Concert and Les Arts Florissants; Bach’s Magnificat with Le Concert d’Astrée; Bach’s St. Matthew Passion at the London Handel Festival and with the Netherlands Bach Society; Handel’s Theodora with the English Concert; Handel’s Solomon with Akademie für Alte Musik; Handel’s Judas Maccabaeus with the OAE; and Handel’s Joseph and his Brethren at the Internationale Händel-Festspiele Göttingen.
Neal Davies studied at King's College, London, and the RAM, and won the Lieder Prize at the 1991 Cardiff Singer of the World Competition. He has appeared with the Oslo Philharmonic under Jansons, the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Boulez, the Cleveland and Philharmonia orchestras under Dohnanyi, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe under Harnoncourt, the OAE under Brüggen, the English Concert with Harry Bicket, the Gabrieli Consort under McCreesh, the Hallé Orchestra with Elder, Concerto Koeln under Bolton, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra with Adam Fischer, the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra with Edward Gardner, Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin with David Zinman, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra with Sir Andrew Davis, and the London Symphony and Vienna Philharmonic orchestras under Harding. He has been a regular guest of the Edinburgh Festival and BBC Proms.
Recent concert appearances include Shostakovich 14 with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Kirill Karabits, a return to Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin for King Arthur, concert performances of Peter Grimes with the Bergen Philharmonic, and Messiah with the Lucerne Symphony. Previous seasons highlights include the Edinburgh Festival with Edward Gardner (Creation) and the BBC Proms (Vaughan Williams’ Dona nobis pacem), as well as concerts with David Afkham and the Spanish National Orchestra, and with Maxime Pascal conducting the Hallé Orchestra. The 2018/19 season saw appearances with Les Violons du Roy and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra (Jonathan Cohen), the Bach Collegium Japan (Masaaki Suzuki), Music of the Baroque (Jane Glover), and the Philadelphia Orchestra (Bernard Labadie).
Neal Davie’s wide discography includes Acis and Galatea under Christian Curnyn (BBC Music Magazine Award, 2019), Messiah, Theodora, Saul and Creation (Gramophone Award, 2008) under McCreesh, Jenufa and Makropulos Case under Sir Charles Mackerras, Barber’s Vanessa under Leonard Slatkin, Messiah under René Jacobs, the Hyperion Complete Schubert Edition with Graham Johnson, and Britten’s Billy Budd with Daniel Harding (Grammy Award, 2010).
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.
• Zadok the Priest, HWV 258 (Coronation Anthem No. 1)
• Let Thy Hand Be Strengthened, HWV 259 (Coronation Anthem No. 2)
• Music for the Royal Fireworks, HWV 351
• My Heart Is Inditing, HWV 261 (Coronation Anthem No. 4)
• Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne, HWV 74
• The King Shall Rejoice, HWV 260 (Coronation Anthem No. 3)