Cédia Brault

Cédia Brault. Mezzo-soprano, b Ste-Martine, near Montreal, 4 Jan 1894, d Montreal 27 Jun 1972. The sister of Victor Brault, she studied voice 1911-18 with Céline Marier and 1918-19 with Salvator Issaurel and harmony 1918-20 with Rodolphe Mathieu.

Brault, Cédia

Cédia Brault. Mezzo-soprano, b Ste-Martine, near Montreal, 4 Jan 1894, d Montreal 27 Jun 1972. The sister of Victor Brault, she studied voice 1911-18 with Céline Marier and 1918-19 with Salvator Issaurel and harmony 1918-20 with Rodolphe Mathieu. She made her debut in the title role of Carmen on 19 and 21 Nov 1918 at the Monument national, singing with Sarah Fischer (Micaëla), Ulysse Paquin (Escamillo), and Victor Desautels (Don José). She married Desautels in 1920. In Le Canada musical of 7 Dec 1918 C.-O. Lamontagne wrote: 'In her debut Cédia Brault has established herself immediately as an actress of talent and an artist of rare promise. Her voice is more than sufficient in the lower register, very powerful on top - certain notes being prominent - and of a beautiful timbre in the middle. Her diction is very clear. Mlle Brault had some excellent moments; she sustained the role of Carmen to the end, with no weaknesses'. She performed the role frequently, both in Canada and the USA. In Montreal she appeared in the title role of Mignon, as Charlotte in Werther (1919), and in other roles. She sang Dalila in a 1922 Montreal concert performance of Samson et Dalila with the tenor Émile Gour, and repeated the role the following year in Worcester, Mass, with the Boston SO conducted by Pierre Monteux. In 1923 she sang Hérodiade in the premiere of Couture's Jean le Précurseur. She participated in the performances of the Manhattan Opera Company and the Russian Opera Company in New York and other cities in the USA with marked success, particularly in the role of Carmen.

Brault's career made similar progress on the concert platform. In 1918 in Quebec City she gave the Canadian premiere of Debussy's Proses lyriques with Léo-Pol Morin at the piano; the following year she gave the Montreal premiere. She was one of the first to perform, in Canada, songs of Ravel, Casella, and Milhaud, notably Milhaud's Poèmes juifs, which in 1926 she sang with the composer at the piano. Upon hearing her in Montreal in 1928 Ravel exclaimed: 'I'm delighted to discover in Canada such a faithful performer of my Chansons madécasses'.

With Morin and Robert Imandt, violinist, she participated in a 1927 Debussy Festival at the Windsor Hotel in Montreal. She also took part in the 1927 and 1928 CPR Festivals in Quebec City. Her recitals took her all over Canada as well as to Paris (Salle Pleyel) and London (Aeolian Hall) in June 1931. At her farewell performance, 30 Jun 1939, she sang Carmen outdoors at the Chalet atop Mount Royal in Montreal before more than 6000 spectators.

Brault's husband, Victor Desautels (b Montreal 23 Mar 1893, d 11 Apr 1970), was a pupil of Salvator Issaurel and a very active tenor in Montreal in the 1920s. He organized many operatic shows and concerts with singers. Their daughter is the musicologist Andrée Desautels.