Édouard Lebel

Édouard Lebel. Tenor, civil servant, b Wotton, near Sherbrooke, Canada East (Quebec), 11 Dec 1865, d Montreal 17 Feb 1939. He studied voice with Achille Fortier and Guillaume Couture in Montreal.

Lebel, Édouard

Édouard Lebel. Tenor, civil servant, b Wotton, near Sherbrooke, Canada East (Quebec), 11 Dec 1865, d Montreal 17 Feb 1939. He studied voice with Achille Fortier and Guillaume Couture in Montreal. A member ca 1885 of the Montagnards, he later was a soloist at the Gesù and Notre-Dame churches in Montreal and for 30 years at St James' Cathedral (Marie-Reine-du-Monde), where he was appointed choirmaster in 1912. He was frequently a soloist with the Couture MSO and the Montreal Philharmonic Society, performed supporting roles in Elijah, Samson et Dalila, Tannhäuser, and Roméo et Juliette, and sang the role of Abel in the 1905 premiere of Alexis Contant'sCaïn. He was secretary of the AMQ for 24 years and a municipal civil servant 1899-1934.

After LeBel's death, Frédéric Pelletier recalled having heard him in 1885: 'I have rarely heard since, here or elsewhere, so beautiful a voice so artistically handled. Twenty years later those who remembered it did not hesitate to compare it to Caruso's' (Montreal Le Devoir, 25 Feb 1939). For HMV LeBel is thought to have recorded some 40 titles, partially listed in Roll Back the Years.

LeBel's wife was Charles Labelle's sister. Their daughter Germaine - soprano, b Montreal 22 Mar 1894, d there 14 Jun 1972 - studied singing and interpretation with Alfred La Liberté and often performed his compositions (eg, Chansons d'Ève with the CSM, 1935) and folksong harmonizations (CPR Festivals 1927, 1930). She sang Salomé in the 1923 premiere of Couture's Jean le Précurseur. A soprano 'with an agreeable and light voice' (Montreal La Patrie, 14 Apr 1926), she also interpreted the music of Debussy and of Nicolas Medtner and participated in numerous CBC broadcasts.