Grand Théâtre de Québec

Grand Théâtre de Québec. A building complex devoted to the performing arts, located in Quebec City at the corner of Claire-Fontaine St and René Lévesque Blvd E. Built at a cost of $14 million it consists of three main components - a large hall (Salle Louis-Fréchette), a smaller auditorium (Salle Octave-Crémazie), and a conservatory (the CMQ) - as well as dressing rooms, workshops, rehearsal rooms, costume storage rooms and display areas, and offices. The project was initiated by Premier Jean Lesage of Quebec, who in 1963 proposed to the prime minister of Canada, Lester B. Pearson, a pooling of federal and provincial resources to build a monument to commemorate Canada's centennial in Quebec City. Following a national competition in 1964, the plans of the Montreal architect Victor Prus were selected and construction began in September 1967. The inauguration took place 16 Jan 1971, and the opening festival 17-27 January included four concerts by the Quebec Symphony Orchestra conducted by Pierre Dervaux and Wilfrid Pelletier, a performance by Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, a recital by the Choeur V'là l'bon vent, and a concert by the Royal 22nd Regiment Band.

The corporation of the Grand Théâtre de Québec, set up in May 1969 as the administrative body, was dissolved 17 Jul 1970 and replaced by the Régie du Grand Théâtre de Québec, a nine-member board. Bill 51, passed 30 Mar 1982 by the Quebec National Assembly, gave to the Régie the status of a crown corporation, directly responsible to the MACQ. From that time onward, the Société du Grand Théâtre de Québec has been governed by a council whose members are named by the Quebec government, three of whom are recommended by the Communauté urbaine de Québec. From 1982 to 1990 the Grand Théâtre has had the following directors or director generals: Guy Beaulne, Michel Rousseau (interim), Jean-Charles Latour, Pierre Duguay, Gilles Marcotte (interim), Yves Lefebvre, Jean-Guy Arnaud (interim), and Michelle Mercier.

The Salle Louis-Fréchette is built of reinforced concrete; an assembly of acrylic rods 2 m in length, each with a light on the end, hangs from its ceiling. It seats 1812 spectators. The apron measures 8.53 x 33 m and the stage floor 17.68 x 26.98 m. The foyers are located on four levels and surround the hall on three sides. A relief sculpture by Jordi Bonet is mounted on the concrete foyer wall, which has a surface area of 3600 square m.

The Salle Octave-Crémazie, a small theatre 33 x 33 m, located one floor below ground level, has a stage of 13.5 m by 21 m and a total of 719 seats. The CMQ occupies the two floors of the building below ground. It has 75 studios (some of which look onto the landscaped courtyard garden 8 m below street level), a record library, a library, and offices.

The Grand Théâtre has presented many Canadian and foreign artists of international repute, as well as theatre, dance, and opera companies. During the 1980s however, there was a significant drop in the total annual number of performances for the set of halls; from 449 in 1984-5, it stabilized to about 281 between 1987 and 1989. It continues to serve as the home of the Quebec SO, le Club musical de Québec, l'Opéra de Québec, and the Théâtre du Trident. The Réseau Billetech, a merger of the ticket networks of the Grand Théâtre de Québec and of Quebec City, began to operate14 sales outlets in the regional territory in June 1987.