To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the death of two great French composers, Gabriel Fauré (1845–1924) and Théodore Dubois (1837–1924), the remarkable soprano Florie Valiquette and brilliant pianist David Jalbert share the stage with Nicolas Ellis to present all the nuances of a rich and seductive repertoire.
The concert will be preceded by a talk about the evening’s musical program, including what to listen for. The talk will take place onstage starting at 6:40 p.m.
Conductors and soloists
Nicolas Ellis is the Artistic Director, Conductor and Founder of the Orchestre de l’Agora and currently serves as Artistic Partner to the Orchestre Métropolitain and Yannick Nézet-Séguin. He was recently named Principal Guest Conductor for Les Violons du Roy, starting in the 2023-2024 season.
Mr. Ellis appeared as guest conductor with numerous Canadian orchestras including Les Violons du Roy, the Vancouver Symphony, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Orchestre de chambre I Musici de Montréal, the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, the Orchestre symphonique de Québec, the Orchestre Métropolitain, Symphony Nova Scotia, the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens. He also regularly collaborates with the Opéra de Montréal’s Atelier lyrique.
During the 2022-2023 season, he is invited to conduct performances of Britten’s War Requiem at the Oper Graz in Austria and returns as a guest conductor to the Orchestre National de Bretagne. He has also collaborated as Assistant conductor to conductor Raphaël Pichon and his Ensemble Pygmalion on productions of Fidelio (Opéra comique de Paris) and Idomeneo (Festival d’Aix-en-Provence).
Mr. Ellis founded the Orchestre de l’Agora in 2013. The orchestra uses music as a tool for sustainable social change and has established itself on the Montreal scene for its creative programming and bold projects. Its repertoire ranges from Bach’s six Brandenburg Concertos, to Britten’s Turn of the Screw, to new works by Canadian composers, and more recently the ensemble presented Mahler’s 3rd symphony for its Gala de la Terre, a fundraising concert for environmental organizations. The orchestra has developed projects involving youth with mental health challenges, educational music workshops for children and a monthly concert series at the Prison de Bordeaux in Montreal.
Nicolas Ellis is the recipient of the 2017 Bourse de carrière Fernand-Lindsay and was named Revelation of the Year 2018-2019 by Radio-Canada. More recently, he won the Prix Goyer Mécénat Musica 2021.
Described as an “imaginative and committed soprano with ravishing high notes” by La Libre Belgique, Florie Valiquette is a young Canadian lyric artist on the rise.
She open the season 2023-2024 taking part in two new productions at the Opéra royal de Versailles: Zingarelli Giulietta & Romeo (Matilde) amongst Franco Fagioli and Adèle Charvet, Stefan Plewniak conducting, followed by Don Giovanni (Donna Anna) under Maestro Gaétan Jarry.
This past season, Florie sang Sidonie, Mélisse and a shepherdess in a new production of Gluck’s Armide at the Opéra Comique de Paris and under the baton of Christophe Rousset. She returned to the Opéra Royal de Versailles in the role of Pamina in a french version of Die Zauberflöte with Hervé Niquet conducting. Still on the opera scene, Florie made a remarquable debut during summer 2023 at the Glyndebourne Festival and the BBC Proms singing the role of Soeur Constance (Dialogues des Carmélites) in a new production signed by Barrie Kosky and Robin Tacciati conducting the London Philharmonic Orchestra. We also heard Florie on many occasions on the concert scene; notably with Le Concert de la Loge for the program In Furore, in Poland with Ensemble Capella Cracoviensis for a concert version of Mozart’s Lucio Silla (Giunia), in Splendeurs mozartiennes at Opéra de Tours and in Mademoiselle Duval’s Les Génies in Versailles.
During the season 2021-2022, she made her debut as Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro at the Grand Théâtre du Luxembourg under Maestro Jérémie Rhorer and at the Opéra Royal de Versailles under Maestro Gaetan Jarry. She was Gabrielle in a new production of La vie parisienne staged by Christian Lacroix and conducted by Romain Dumas. She also sang Sophie in Werther the Opéra National de Bordeaux under Pierre Dumoussaud, Zerlina (Don Giovanni) at the Opéra de Québec and appeared in the show Mozart, A particular journey with Laurence Equilbey and Insula Orchestra at the Seine Musicale in Paris.
A virtuoso with a warm, elegant style and a wide-ranging repertoire, pianist David Jalbert has established himself among the elite of his generation of classical musicians, and was named by the CBC among the 15 best Canadian pianists of all time. With his personal style, incomparable stage presence, and refined ear, he has wowed audiences and critics everywhere: “Playing that oozes hedonistic charm” (Gramophone); “In an age of knucle-busting keyboard technicians fixated on a single era, composer or concerto, it is a great pleasure to encounter an artist of Jalbert’s stature for whom the piano is simply a transcendent means of human expression” (WholeNote); “A virtuoso in the best sense of the word” (La Presse); “Wide-ranging musical imagination, phenomenal technique, and an unerring lightness of being” (The Toronto Star).
His first solo disc, dedicated to the works of Corigliano and Rzewski (in preparation for which he worked with both composers), was launched to great applause on Endeavor in 2004 and was followed in 2006 by a recording of Fauré’s complete Nocturnes (a winning selection on La Tribune des Critiques de Disques, France-Culture). His first release on the ATMA Classique label, Shostakovich: 24 Preludes and Fugues opus 87, drew rave reviews, won an Opus Award, and was nominated for a Juno Award. He followed it up with an album dedicated to works by minimalist greats John Adams and Philip Glass (2010), and his 2012 recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations was met with unanimous praise. He returned to his beloved early 20th-century repertoire for Le Comble de la distinction (Poulenc and Satie, 2015) and Stravinsky-Prokofiev Ballet Transcriptions in 2017, another Juno-nominated outing. He recorded the keyboard version of Haydn’s Seven Last Words of Christ in 2019 and is now at work on an ambitious 3-disc set of the complete Prokofiev Piano Sonatas.
An accomplished chamber musician in both the hall and the studio, he has collaborated with Pentaèdre on recordings of Poulenc and Hindemith’s music for woodwinds and piano, and with his long-standing musical partner Denise Djokic on many projects, among which the Chopin and Rachmaninov Cello Sonatas. His piano trio, Triple Forte, with Ms. Djokic and violinist Jasper Wood, has toured extensively and won the 2014 Prix Opus (Album of the Year). Jalbert has also collaborated with violinists Nicola Benedetti and Rachel Barton Pine, the Cecilia and Alcan string quartets, double-bassist Joel Quarrington (on another Opus-winning collaboration, the album Brothers in Brahms) as well as with pianists Anton Kuerti, Wonny Song and Jean-Philippe Collard.
As guest soloist, Jalbert has appeared with many orchestras, including the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Calgary Philharmonic, Orchestre Métropolitain, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra, CBC Radio Orchestra, Bielefelder Philharmoniker, National Symphony of Ireland, Les Violons du Roy and others. He has collaborated with conductors Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Skitch Henderson, Jacques Lacombe, Bramwell Tovey, Mario Bernardi, Peter Kuhn, David Currie, Christoph Campestrini, Dinuk Wijeratne, Tania Miller and others and has performed in Canada, the United States, Mexico, South Africa and Europe. Jalbert’s repertoire is expansive, and he plays Bach, Brahms, Stravinsky or Ligeti with equal pleasure. He has been heard regularly on CBC Radio and Radio-Canada broadcasts, not only as a pianist, but also as a guest host or commentator for special events.
A national and international prize-winner, David Jalbert was the 2007 winner of the prestigious Virginia Parker Prize of the Canada Council for the Arts, has been awarded six Prix Opus by the Conseil Québécois de la Musique, was nominated for four Juno Awards, and is now Full Professor and Head of Piano at the University of Ottawa and on faculty at the Orford Music Academy. He holds two Artist Diplomas from the Juilliard School in New York and from the Glenn Gould School in Toronto. He received his Masters Degree from Université de Montréal at age 21, winning the Governor General’s Gold Medal (awarded yearly to the top graduate student of the University). His main teachers have been Jerome Lowenthal, Marc Durand, André Laplante, and Pauline Charron. He has also worked with Leon Fleisher, John Perry, Claude Frank, Gilbert Kalish, and Marylin Engle.
Suite for Piano and Strings in F Minor
La Bonne Chanson, op. 61
Quartet in F Major (Version for String Orchestra)