Ensemble cantabile de Montréal
Ensemble cantabile de Montréal. Vocal chamber ensemble and production company specializing in lyric and French repertoire. Formed in 1974 by Bruno Laplante, and originally composed of soloists Céline Dussault (soprano), Gabrielle Lavigne (mezzo-soprano, succeeded by Paule Verschelden in 1976), Paul Trépanier (tenor), and Laplante himself (baritone), the Ensemble cantabile de Montréal made its first public appearance 11 Aug 1974 at the Orford Arts Centre. Although the ensemble initially performed a repertoire of excerpts from oratorios, operas, and cantatas, and songs for vocal duos, trios, and quartets, it eventually favoured the presentation of complete opera buffas, operettas and comic operas, adding performers as needed.
The ensemble has performed at the Poudrière Theatre, notably in Bizet's one-act comic opera Le Docteur Miracle, Debussy's L'Enfant prodigue, Donizetti's Rita, and Barber's A Hand of Bridge. Beginning in 1981, the Ensemble cantabile was entrusted with the touring productions of the Opéra de chambre du Québec, founded the preceding year by the Ministère des Affaires culturelles du Québec (MACQ). It made several tours in Quebec performing such works as Offenbach's Monsieur Choufleuri restera chez lui, La Chatte métamorphosée en femme, and Gounod's Le Médecin malgré lui. The Ensemble cantabile was a part of the touring production of the latter opera in France in 1982, followed by a second tour in 1985 of Henry Barraud's La Farce de maître Pierre Pathelin. In 1985, after the performance of Chabrier's L'Étoile, the ensemble reduced its activities. It resumed small productions in 1988 with 'Un soir à Vienne' at the Orford Arts Centre and at the Palais de la civilisation at Île Notre-Dame in Montreal. Accompanied by pianist Janine Lachance, the group has recorded music of Bach, Fauré, Hahn, Rossini, Saint-Saëns, and Schumann (1976, RCI 446).
Under artistic director Bruno Laplante, in 1994 the Ensemble cantabile de Montréal formally became Le Nouveau Théâtre Musical (NTM). Based in Quebec City, the NTM is predominantly a production company devoted to promoting, performing, and publishing works from the lyric repertoire. Notable productions and publications have included the 1998 performance of Ulric Voyer's historical French-Canadian opera L'Intendant Bigot, and the first publications of Gounod's Fernand cantata and his La Liberté eclairant le monde in 2004.