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Handel Messiah with NAC Orchestra

December 16, 2021 at 19:00

Southam Hall

National Arts Centre
1 Elgin Street
Ottawa (Ontario)

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Conductors and soloists

Bernard Labadie Conductor

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.

Magali Simard-Galdès Soprano

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.

Allyson McHardy Mezzo-soprano

A unique vocal colour and commanding stage presence are the hallmarks of performances by mezzo-soprano Allyson McHardy. Hailed by Joshua Kosman of the San Francisco Chronicle as “a singer of enormous imagination and versatility,” she has appeared with the Paris Opera, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, Chicago Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Glyndebourne Festival, San Francisco Opera, Boston Symphony, Canadian Opera Company, Dresden Philharmonic, and Théâtre capitole du Toulouse. Adam Fischer, Seiji Ozawa, Jeremy Rohrer, Kent Nagano, Emmanuelle Haim, Bernard Labadie, Ludovic Morlot, Carlos Calmar, and Jesus Lopez Cobos are among the conductors with whom she has collaborated for performances of works such as L’enfant et les sortileges, La clemenza di Tito, Das Rheingold, Dream of Gerontius, and Messiah.

Recent opera highlights include appearances in Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia in St. Gallen, Switzerland, Roberto Devereux for the Canadian Opera Company, Amadis de Gaule at the Opéra Comique, Handel’s Alcina with Opera Atelier, Madama Butterfly with both Opéra de Montréal and Vancouver Opera, Handel’s Hercules with Toronto’s Tafelmusik, and the role of Sister Helen in Opera de Montréal’s Dead Man Walking.

Allyson’s discography features the Juno-nominated Orlando by George Frideric Handel with the Pacific Baroque Orchestra and Alexander Weimann (ATMA). Other CDs include the Juno- and ADISQ-nominated recording of Caldara’s La conversione di Coldoveo, Re di Francia (ATMA); Bellini’s Norma with the Warsaw Philharmonic (Philharmonia Narodowa); two works by Harry Somers, Serinette and A Midwinter Night’s Dream (Centrediscs); and Ukrainian music by composer Mykola Lysenko in a six-disc collection on the Musica Leopolis label.

Andrew Haji Tenor

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.

Dominic Sedgwick Baritone

British baritone Dominic Sedgwick was a member of the Royal Opera’s Jette Parker Young Artists Programme 2017–2019 where his roles included Kuligin in a new production of Káťa Kabanová, Novice’s Friend in a new production of Billy Budd, Moralès in a new production of Carmen, and Third Ghost Child in the world premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Coraline.

Recent roles include Melot in a new production of Tristan und Isolde for the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, and English Clerk in David McVicar’s new production of Death in Venice for the Royal Opera.

His 2021/22 season sees a return to the Royal Opera House as Marullo in a new production of Rigoletto, his debut at Teatro dell’Opera di Roma as Anthony in the world premiere of Giorgio Battistelli's Julius Caesar, and his debut for the Opéra National de Bordeaux as Belcore in L'elisir d'amore.

Dominic’s recent concert engagements include his debut at the BBC Proms as Pilate in J.S. Bach's St. Matthew Passion with Arcangelo/Jonathan Cophen, Messiah with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (OAE), and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as a number of concerts with the OAE featuring Bach Cantatas as part of their Bach, the Universe and Everything series at Kings Place.

Dominic studied at Clare College, Cambridge and is a graduate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama’s Opera School. He was awarded the Audience Prize in the inaugural 2017 Grange Festival International Singing Competition.

NAC Orchestra Orchestra

Since its debut in 1969, the National Arts Centre (NAC) Orchestra has been praised for the passion and clarity of its performances, its visionary educational programs, and its prominent role in nurturing Canadian creativity. Under the leadership of Music Director Alexander Shelley, the NAC Orchestra reflects the fabric and values of Canada, reaching and representing the diverse communities we live in with daring programming, powerful storytelling, inspiring artistry, and innovative partnerships.

Alexander Shelley began his tenure as Music Director in 2015, following Pinchas Zukerman’s 16 seasons at the helm. Principal Associate Conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and former Chief Conductor of the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra (2009 - 2017), he has been in demand around the world, conducting the Rotterdam Philharmonic, DSO Berlin, Leipzig Gewandhaus, and Stockholm Philharmonic, among others, and maintains a regular relationship with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie and the German National Youth Orchestra.

Each season, the NAC Orchestra features world-class artists such as the newly appointed Artist-in-Residence James Ehnes, Angela Hewitt, Joshua Bell, Xian Zhang, Gabriela Montero, Stewart Goodyear, Jan Lisiecki, and Principal Guest Conductor John Storgårds. As one of the most accessible, inclusive and collaborative orchestras in the world, the NAC Orchestra uses music as a universal language to communicate the deepest of human emotions and connect people through shared experiences.

La Chapelle de Québec Chamber 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.

Other performances of the concert