Pierre Boutet

Pierre (André) Boutet. Tenor, radio producer, born Quebec City 6 Nov 1925, died Charlesbourg, Que, 27 Oct 2010; LRCT 1951.

Pierre (André) Boutet. Tenor, radio producer, born Quebec City 6 Nov 1925, died Charlesbourg, Que, 27 Oct 2010; LRCT 1951. He began vocal studies in 1943 with Émile Larochelle, giving his first recital at the age of 17, then attended regular music classes 1947-8 on scholarship at Columbia University. He also studied 1948-51 at the RCMT with George Lambert (voice) and Herman Geiger-Torel (staging). He won several competitions, sang in oratorio performances in Toronto (notably the St Matthew Passion with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir), and in 1950 made his debut with the Opera Festival (COC) as Ottavio in Don Giovanni and sang the title role in Faust. After Boutet's performance in the St Matthew Passion for the Montreal Festivals, Marcel Valois wrote: 'the voice is rich, the singer already seasoned' (La Presse, 9 Jul 1950). Boutet was the tenor soloist with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir in its 1950 performances of Beethoven's Missa solemnis and Verdi's Requiem. A winner in 1950 (second place) and 1951 (first place) of the radio competition 'Singing Stars of Tomorrow,' he continued his training 1951-3 in New York with Paul Althouse and Cesare Sturani. In 1953 he took part in the Canadian premiere of Jeanne d'Arc au bûcher at the Montreal Festivals. After winning the CBC French-network competition 'Nos Futures Étoiles' in 1955 he performed with the MSO, the Quebec Symphony Orchestra, the TSO, and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. On a scholarship from the Quebec government he studied 1957-8 in Rome with Manfredi Palverosi and Rachele Maragliano-Mori, and on a Canada Council grant he continued his studies 1958-60 in Paris with Giuseppe Boralevi and Simone Tillard. He also made recital tours throughout Europe and North Africa. His performance in Haydn's The Creation (Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Paris, 1959) and Bach's Mass in B Minor (Notre-Dame de Paris, 1960) earned him much praise from the critics and confirmed his aptitude for oratorio.

Returning to Quebec in 1960, Boutet sang in recitals and with orchestras across Canada as well as on CBC radio and TV. He performed the role of Jean in the premiere (30 Jul 1960) of Blackburn'sPirouette and sang excerpts from the work for the 45 rpm recording produced by JMC. He also participated in the JMC tours of Pirouette 1960-1 in Canada, and of the stage version of Debussy's L'Enfant prodigue 1961-2 in France, then sang the role of Count Almaviva in The Barber of Seville at the Théâtre lyrique de Nouvelle-France in February 1963. Choirmaster at the Quebec City churches of Charlesbourg in 1968 and Ste-Odile in 1974, he also taught 1965-72 at the municipal centre in Rimouski and privately 1968-70 in Quebec City.

In 1964 he undertook an important career as producer for the CBC FM network in Quebec City. The programs 'Récital,' 'Concert intime,' 'Mélodie,' 'Les Grands concerts,' 'En concert,' and those of the CBC Quebec Chamber Orchestra allowed numerous Quebec performers and conductors to perform regularly. In 1983 he created the CBC Sinfonietta, an orchestra of 24 young musicians, the direction of which he entrusted to Gilles Auger. He also has encouraged the broadcasting of Canadian music on his programs and commissioned, since 1980, some 15 works for orchestra from such young Quebec composers as Denis Bédard, Daniel Bolduc, Denys Bouliane, Denis Dion, Bruno Fecteau, Alain Gagnon, and Mario Parent.

A delegate several times for the CBC at festivals, including the CBC Talent Festival, Boutet also served as adjudicator of the examinations for the CMQ, Laval University, the MSO Concours, the Concours Raoul-Jobin, as well as abroad. He was president 1972-85 of the Amis de l'orgue de Québec and artistic consultant 1972-5 to the Opéra du Québec, and he became artistic vice-president of the Opéra du Québec in 1984. In 1990 he was made a Member of the Order of Canada.

His discography includes five LPs in the series La Bonne Chanson présente nos plus belles chansons (RCA Victor) and the LPs Chansons d'hier ... chansons d'aujourd'hui (1957, RCA Victor LCP-1021), Noël Noël Noël (RCA Victor CGP-109), Chants pascals et religieux (Radio-Marie NDC-336306), and Chants de Noël (Radio-Marie NDC-336318). In addition, he was the soloist on the recording of the Messe solennelle pour le jour de Pâques (BML-10) with the choir of St-Dominique Church in Quebec City.

See also Benoît and René (his sons).