Yoland Guérard

Yoland Guérard. Bass, TV host and producer, administrator, b Joliette, Que, 11 Oct 1923, d Rueil-Malmaison, near Paris, 2 Nov 1987.

Guérard, Yoland

Yoland Guérard. Bass, TV host and producer, administrator, b Joliette, Que, 11 Oct 1923, d Rueil-Malmaison, near Paris, 2 Nov 1987. He was a bassoonist in the Joliette College ensemble and continued study of the bassoon at the CMM; however, after placing second as a singer in the radio contest 'Les Boursiers de CKAC,' he turned his attention to voice, studying with Albert Cornellier. His first singing engagement was for CHLP radio, and he subsequently sang on the CBC's 'Soirées de chez nous'. He made his debut at the Variétés lyriques in 1948 as Wagner in Faust and sang Sparafucile in Rigoletto (1949) and the Colonel in Posford and Grun's Balalaïka (1950) for the same company. In 1950 he went to Europe with the Disciples de Massenet and, with the help of a Quebec government grant, studied with Robert Salvat, Ninon Vallin, and Vanni-Marcoux in Paris. He made his debut at the Lyons Opera as Méphistophélès in Faust in 1951, and his success led to a return engagement in Maurice Yvain's operetta Chanson gitane.

Guérard's return to Montreal in 1952 coincided with the beginning of Canadian TV, and he participated in numerous opera telecasts, also singing Capulet in Romeo and Juliet at the Montreal Festivals and Jim Bullit in the operetta Colorado at the Variétés lyriques, where he was stage director in 1953. In 1954 he sang Pimen in Boris Godunov with the Opera Guild, then left for a two-year US tour, succeeding Ezio Pinza in the role of Émile de Becque (South Pacific).

Guérard was the founding vice-president of the Grand Opéra de Montréal, for which he sang the title roles of Don Giovanni (1957, Montreal Festivals) and Don Basilio in The Barber of Seville (1958). For the CBC he sang Antonin in Une Mesure de silence (Silent Measures) in 1956, Zuniga in Carmen (1961), the title role in The Barber of Seville (1965), and Doctor Grenvil in La Traviata (1966). At the 1965 Stratford Festival he sang Trinity Moses in Brecht and Weill's Mahagonny. He staged the operettas Les Mousquetaires au couvent and La Vie parisienne at the PDA in 1968 and 1969, and sang with the MSO in concert performances of Aida, La Traviata, and Rigoletto. With the Opéra du Québec he interpreted the role of Sulpice in La Fille du régiment in 1972 and the title role of Don Giovanni in 1974. During that same period he sang in France with the Marseilles Opera in Viva Napoli (1972) and at the Sébastopol theatre in Lille, in Gipsy by Lopez (1974). From 1962 to 1975 he was host and producer on television for numerous opera broadcasts and variety shows, such as 'Découvertes,' 'L'Âme des poètes,' 'Québec sait chanter,' 'L'Univers de Yoland Guérard,' and 'À la bonn'heure'. In 1985 he was appointed director of the Canadian Cultural Centre in Paris, a post which he held until his death.