Claude Corbeil

(Paul) Claude Corbeil. Lyric bass, b Rimouski, Que, 17 Apr 1940; premier prix (CMM) 1958. He studied 1955-8 at the CMM under Dina Maria Narici and Ruzena Herlinger, and at 18 made his debut as Schaunard in La Bohème with the Quebec Symphony Orchestra conducted by Wilfrid Pelletier.

Corbeil, Claude

(Paul) Claude Corbeil. Lyric bass, b Rimouski, Que, 17 Apr 1940; premier prix (CMM) 1958. He studied 1955-8 at the CMM under Dina Maria Narici and Ruzena Herlinger, and at 18 made his debut as Schaunard in La Bohème with the Quebec Symphony Orchestra conducted by Wilfrid Pelletier. He won the 1962 CBC Talent Festival, received a scholarship in 1967 from the International Nickel Co of Canada, and in 1969 won the second prize at the International Singing Competition of the City of Toulouse. He made his Covent Garden debut in 1965 as Silvio in I Pagliacci and appeared also in Britten's Billy Budd. Reviewing the latter Arthur Jacobs commented, 'Among the newcomers Claude Corbeil brought a fine voice and dignity to the small part of the Novice's Friend' (Opera, June 1965). The same year Corbeil sang Mac Jorry in the premiere of Gilbert Bécaud's Opéra d'Aran at the PDA. His roles with the Théâtre lyrique de Nouvelle-France included Nilakantha in Lakmé (1965), Don Andres in La Périchole (1966, 1967), Colline in La Bohème and the Count in Manon (1967), Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor (1968), and Guglielmo in Così fan tutte (1970). He also toured Quebec with this company in 1967 as Basilio in The Barber of Seville. For his 1970 debut with the COC he sang Masetto in Don Giovanni, and in 1974 for that company he sang Zuniga in Carmen and Bluebeard in Bartók's Bluebeard's Castle. He repeated the roles of the Count (1973), Colline (1975), and Basilio (1976) with the Opéra du Québec. He participated in many productions of the Opéra de Montréal, notably Le Nozze di Figaro (Figaro, 1983), The Barber of Seville (Basilio, 1984, 1986), Don Pasquale (Malatesta, 1985), and Carmen (Escamillo, 1988). He has also appeared with the Vancouver Opera (Leporello, Don Giovanni, 1988), the Edmonton Opera (Dulcamara, L'Elisir d'amore, 1989), the Manitoba Opera, Opera Hamilton, Festival Ottawa and the NAC, the Société lyrique d'Aubigny, and the Opéra de Québec.

Corbeil's lyric bass, mellow and resonant, is adaptable equally to the lightness required in the Rossini operas and to the heavier demands of oratorio or the recital repertoire. He has sung with the MSO, the Quebec Symphony Orchestra, the TS, and the NACO. Among his roles on CBC TV have been the Grand Inquisitor in Don Carlo (1968) and le Bailli in Colas et Colinette (1969). He sang in Lausanne in 1965 and 1967 and appeared in Mulhouse and several other cities in France in 1969. He sang the title role of Don Giovanni in 1968 in Chautauqua, NY, and appeared in Samson et Dalila in 1968 in Pittsburgh and in Manon in 1969 with the New York City Opera and in Los Angeles. He sang in Tosca (1969), Lucrezia Borgia (1969), and Otello (1971) with the Philadelphia Lyric Opera. From 1970 onwards, he has made regular appearances in Miami, New Orleans, and Hawaii. He has participated in a dozen productions from 1977 on at the Santa Fe Festival in New Mexico. In 1982 during a two-week tour of China, he gave a series of recitals and master classes together with Maureen Forrester and Claude Savard. A documentary about this trip, titled Singing: A Joy in Any Language, was made in 1983 by the NFB.

See also Paul-Émile Corbeil (his father).


Further Reading

  • 'Canadian bass Claude Corbeil: a CBC ''Opera Time'' interview,' OpCan, vol 19, Fall 1978

    Moisan, Daniel. 'Claude Corbeil: la vrai carrière commence à quarante ans,' Aria, vol 4, Summer 1981