Gabrielle Lavigne

Gabrielle Lavigne. Mezzo-soprano, b Montreal 16 Mar 1940. She graduated from the Montreal School of Fine Arts in 1961 and pursued her musical studies 1961-9 at McGill University with Ria Lenssens (voice) and at the CMM with Dick Marzollo (repertoire) and Pierre Héral (stage skills).

Lavigne, Gabrielle

Gabrielle Lavigne. Mezzo-soprano, b Montreal 16 Mar 1940. She graduated from the Montreal School of Fine Arts in 1961 and pursued her musical studies 1961-9 at McGill University with Ria Lenssens (voice) and at the CMM with Dick Marzollo (repertoire) and Pierre Héral (stage skills). During these years she taught plastic arts for the Montreal Catholic School Board. She was a finalist in the 1967 Concorso internationale de Voci verdiani in Busseto, a medal winner with distinction at the 1969 International Competition for Musical Performers in Geneva, winner of the first prize in her category in the 1970 CBC Talent Festival, and a finalist in the 1970 Metropolitan Opera regional auditions.

Lavigne made her stage debut with the Vancouver Opera as Azucena in Il Trovatore. Sadler's Wells engaged her for the role the following year. In the autumn of 1973 she returned to Vancouver, this time to sing Eboli in Don Carlo. In 1974 she was Federica in Verdi's Luisa Miller and Maria in Rossini's Mosè in Egitto for the Koninklijke Opera, Ghent, and Mistress Page in Falstaff for the Opéra du Québec. That December she sang Marie in L'Enfance du Christ with the NACO in Ottawa and New York City. For Festival Ottawa she portrayed Ragonde (Rossini's Le Comte Ory, 1974, 1976), Berta (The Barber of Seville, 1978), and Dorothée (Massenet's Cendrillon, 1979). According to Claude Gingras (Montreal La Presse, 23 May 1979), her Marguerite in the MSO's presentation of La Damnation de Faust was 'quite striking in vocal beauty, distinction, and expression'.

Gabrielle Lavigne has performed as soloist with many orchestras, including the McGill Chamber Orchestra (1971, 1972, 1984), the MSO (L'Enfance du Christ, 1972; La Vida Breve, 1976; Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, 1977 and 1982; Mahler's Symphony No. 8, 1984), the Quebec Symphony Orchestra (Verdi's Requiem, 1973), the TS (Le Roi David, 1974; Mercure's Cantate pour une joie, 1978; Bach's St. Matthew Passion, 1981; 9th Symphony performed in New York's Carnegie Hall with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, 1984), the Victoria Symphony Orchestra (1971), the Hamilton Philharmonic (1971, 1972, 1990), and the NACO (1971, 1973, 1984). 'An excellent musician, she brings the greatest artistic care to all she touches,' wrote Gilles Potvin (Montreal Le Devoir, 11 May 1978), following her performance with the MSO of Wagner's Wesendonck Lieder. Lavigne has given many recitals on the CBC, and in the series 'Les Grands Concerts' she revealed herself as a sensitive interpreter of French art songs and Lieder. She was a member 1974-6 of the Ensemble cantabile de Montréal. She has performed frequently at the Opéra de Montréal, including the roles of Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte (1981), Charlotte in Werther (1982), Adalgisa in Norma (1982) and Tisbe in La Cenerentola (1987). She also sang Leoncavallo's Zazà at the New Jersey State Opera (1986). In 1985 she took part in the second International Festival des Açores with the New Orchestra of Boston, and in 1990 at the Festival international de Lanaudière. With the pianist Denise Massé, she recorded Rodolphe Mathieu's 'Larmes,' 'Un peu d'ombre,' 'Les Yeux noirs,' and Deux Poèmes' (4-ACM 32 released in 1988). She began to teach at the Cultural Centre in Joliette in 1985 and also teaches privately.


Further Reading

  • Mercer, Ruby. 'Gabrielle Lavigne. Some Exciting Firsts for a Montreal Mezzo,' OpCan, vol 17, Feb 1976

    'Gabrielle Lavigne artiste lyrique qui peut chanter tous les Français,' Musique périodique, vol 1, Nov 1976

    'Gabrielle Lavigne,' Variations, vol 1, Feb 1978

    'Gabrielle Lavigne,' ibid, vol 2, May 1979