La Chapelle de Québec in all its glory! Bernard Labadie conducts a selection of baroque works by some of the greatest composers of the time, including Vivaldi’s celebrated and joyful Gloria. With the outstanding choristers of La Chapelle de Québec, this program will delight all choral music lovers.
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.
Canadian soprano Sheila Dietrich is a versatile and in-demand performer whose style and vocal technique shine in both concert and operatic roles.
Ms. Dietrich has appeared as a concert soloist with ensembles across Canada including Les Violons du Roy, the Calgary Philharmonic, The Menno Singers, Nota Bene Baroque Players, The Toronto Classical Singers, The Elora Festival Singers and The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, The Guelph Chamber Choir, and The Bach Elgar Choir.
Operatic roles include Rose (Ruddigore | Sullivan), Mother (Amahl and the Night Visitors | Menotti), Pitti-Sing (The Mikado | Sullivan), Belinda (Dido & Aeneas | Purcell), Venus (La Dafne | Gagliano), Helena (A Midsummer Night’s Dream | Britten), Abigail Williams (The Crucible | Ward) and La Petite Chaperon Rouge (La Foret Bleue | Aubert).
An Ontario native, Ms. Dietrich received her Bachelor of Music Performance and Opera Diploma from Wilfrid Laurier University where she studied with Victor Martens.
In 2015, Ms. Dietrich made her Carnegie Hall debut as a featured soloist in an evening devoted to the music of Purcell under the direction of Richard Egarr. She was also a finalist in the 2015 New York Oratorio Society Solo Competition and was awarded the Johannes Somary Prize.
Sheila is also a member of Capella Intima, an Ontario based ensemble, which specializes in performing vocal chamber and operatic music of the 17th century in exciting concerts of rarely-heard gems. The ensemble recently finished recording their third CD called “Music in the time of Plague” featuring the music of Heinrich Schütz and the music popular during his time in Venice.
She currently in Staunton, Virginia, with her husband, her cats, and several overly full bookshelves.
Tenor Philippe Gagné is praised for his rich expressiveness, refined musical sensitivity, rare vocal agility, and the beauty of his tone. Specialized in the baroque repertoire, he has performed on many of the world's great venues and has worked with many renowned ensembles such as Les Talens Lyriques, Tafelmusik, Les Violons du Roy, Arion Orchestre Baroque, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, L’Orchestre symphonique de Québec, Les Délices, Les Boréades, Blue Heron, L’Harmonie des saisons, Ensemble Caprice, Le Studio de musique ancienne de Montréal, Ex Tempore, La Bande Montréal Baroque, Clavecin en concert, Mannheimer Hofkapelle et Apotheosis Orchestra. He is recognized as an exceptional interpreter of the French Baroque repertoire, as well as of the music of J. S. Bach, who occupies more than half of his professional engagements. His constant presence on the baroque scene and his numerous past and future engagements testify to his undeniable talent in this community.
Here are some of his most notable participations in recent years:
Recently, in September 2022, he joined the ensemble Clavecin en concert under the direction of Hervé Niquet to present a superb selection of Grands Motets by M.A. Charpentier. Philippe is a regular guest of the ensemble L'Harmonie des saisons under the direction of Eric Milnes. For the past two years he has joined them to present several works by J.S. Bach, including a webcast concert of tenor arias from the sacred cantatas, the Magnificat, the St. John Passion, and several cantatas. In July 2022, he presented a concert of arias with them at the Music & Beyond Festival in Ottawa, entitled Music for the King's Chamber. In November and December 2022, he joined them for a tour of Handel's Messiah, a McCartney Baroque program (a concert to celebrate the 80th birthday of the famous Beatles member), as well as for Noëls anciens de l'ancien et nouveau monde, a special program conceived at the request of Radio-Canada, which selected this ensemble to represent Canada in a EuroRadio Christmas special, presented by European radio stations and their partner stations.
In November 2021, Philippe presented, with the talented guitarist David Jacques, a magnificent program of 19th century Spanish songs at the Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur in Montreal. They will perform this concert again in Quebec City and Prévost in early 2023.
June 2019, he was at the Cydonia Barocca Festival in Ghent, Belgium and then at the Alter Musik Festival in Regensburg, Germany. In August, he was at the MAfestival in Bruges, Belgium for a stage production of J.P. Rameau’s Pygmalion. This presentation also served as the official launch for the recording of this work, recorded in November 2018 in Brussels with Apotheosis Orchestra conducted by Korneel Bernolet (Ramée/Outhere label). This recording was acclaimed by European critics from all sides.
In 2018, in Belgium, he took part in a recording of Graupner’s cantatas under CPO label with Ex Tempore (conducted by Florian Heyerick). In Montreal, he played the title role in Charpentier’s opera Actéon in a stage production by the ensemble Clavecin en Concert (conducted by Luc Beauséjour). He was also invited by the Talens Lyriques under the direction of Christophe Rousset for concerts (Rameau and Campra) at the Philharmonie de Paris and at the Barokkfest Early Music Festival in Oslo.
In 2017, in Montreal, Philippe played the role of Lidio in the first world premiere since 1681 of the pastoral opera Nicandro e Fileno by Franco-Italian composer Paolo Lorenzani with the Nouvel Opéra and Les Boréades. This project was also recorded under ATMA Classique label.
In 2016, he toured Europe (Germany, Netherlands, Belgium) for concert projects and recordings on the CPO label with Ex Tempore. He was also the recipient of a 2016 JUNO award for his participation in the recording Las Ciudades de Oro de L’Harmonie des Saisons (ATMA Classique).
In 2014, he was one of the winners of the Bruce Haynes CBC International Competition, dedicated to the performance of the vocal works of J.S. Bach. Consequently, he was soloist on two CDs dedicated to Bach’s sacred cantatas (ATMA Classique) with the Montreal Baroque Band (conducted by Eric Milnes).
Upcoming, in March 2023, Philippe will be the guest of the Orchestre Métropolitain, under the direction of Yannick Nézet-Séguin. They will present a program of J.S. Bach cantatas as part of the complete J.S. Bach cantatas - Year 8 in Bourgie Hall of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
Nathaniel Watson is a versatile artist who has performed successfully in a wide variety of musical styles. Highlights include Der Freischütz with the New York Philharmonic under Sir Colin Davis, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony under Kurt Masur, and in Carnegie Hall with Sir Roger Norrington in the conductor’s debut concert in New York. He appeared in the title role in the Boston Early Music Festival production of Cavalli’s Ercole amante in Boston, at Tanglewood, and at the Utrecht Festival in Holland, and was featured in the Salzburg Festival production of Weill’s Mahagonny. He has appeared as soloist with the orchestras of Boston, Baltimore, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, Tokyo, Seattle, Santiago (Chile), Montréal, Québec, Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto. Recent seasons have included performances of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with Nicholas McGegan and Philharmonia Baroque, Messiah with the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center, Mendelssohn’s Paulus and Mahler’s Eighth Symphony with L’Orchestre symphonique de Québec, and Handel’s Semele with Pacific Opera Victoria. Performances of Messiah with Tafelmusik in 2015 marked his 21st collaboration with the great Toronto ensemble.
Born in Boston in 1955, Mr. Watson is a graduate of the Eastman School, where he studied with Thomas Paul; and Yale School of Music, where he studied with Phyllis Curtin and Blake Stern. He was a member of the Waverly Consort in for three years while living in New York City, where he also sang often with such groups as the New York Philharmonic, the St. Thomas Choir, Opera Ensemble of New York, and Orchestra of St. Luke's. He moved to Montreal in 1994, and has performed with most of the major orchestras and early music ensembles in North America, as well as several opera companies, having sung some 35 roles, including Papageno at the Carmel Bach Festival, the Speaker (also Magic Flute) in Calgary, Count Almaviva in Marriage of Figaro with Opera Atelier (Toronto), Eugene Onegin at the Banff Festival, and Sid in Albert Herring at Britten’s own Aldeburgh Festival.
Nat appears on a CD of Honegger’s Jeanne d’Arc au bûcher with Kurt Masur and the New York Philharmonic, and a release of Scarlatti’s Agar et Ismaele esiliati with Seattle Baroque. He is also featured in recordings of the Bach Passions, the St. John with Alex Weimann and Orchestre Arion (Montréal), the St. Matthew with Jeffrey Thomas and the American Bach Soloists, and as Polyphemus in Acis and Galatea with Les Boréades de Montréal, directed by Eric Milnes. He has recently appeared with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles in Handel’s Messiah, as well as a concert performance of Handel’s Rodelinda with Mercury Baroque in Houston. His long-time teacher was Herbert Burtis.
Nathaniel Watson has recorded works by the American composers Samuel Barber, Philip Glass, Andrew Imbrie, and Claudio Spies, as well as premiering works by Mr. Spies, Miriam Gideon, Scott Lindroth, Ronald Perera, Lewis Spratlan, Chan Ka Nin and Earl Kim. He has been featured soloist in Ruth Fazal’s Oratorio Terezin, a work that has been performed in six countries, including Israel, and in Carnegie Hall.
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.
Jesu meines Lebens Leben, BuxWV 62
Gloria, RV 589
Tristis est anima mea
Der Gerechte kommt um, BWV 1149