Minute Opera/Opéra Minute
Minute Opera/Opéra Minute. A chamber opera company founded in Montreal in 1949 by Francis Coleman (music director), Noël Gauvin (director), Jean-Paul Jeannotte (adviser), and Gilles Potvin (administrator). Set up as a co-operative, the troupe presented 11 works in four seasons (1949-53) in a total of 31 performances. Its inaugural program at the Théâtre des Compagnons in 1949 consisted of three works: Mozart's Bastien und Bastienne, Monteverdi's Le Combat (Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda), and Wolf-Ferrari's Le Secret de Suzanne. The second season (spring of 1950) comprised Bach's Coffee Cantata under the title Love in a Coffee Cup, Pergolesi's La Serva padrona and Milhaud's Le Pauvre Matelot. The Milhaud was repeated in the fall, along with Menotti's The Old Maid and the Thief. In 1952 in the Gesù Church hall, the troupe presented the Canadian premieres of Menotti's The Telephone and The Medium. Its last season (1953) consisted of Offenbach's Le Mariage aux lanternes and Weill's Down in the Valley. Some of the operas were given in Quebec City in 1950 and Ste-Adèle, north of Montreal, in 1950, 1952, and 1953.
The conductors were, successively, Francis Coleman, Jean-Marie Beaudet, and Michel Perrault. In addition to Gauvin, the stage directors were Bill Butler, Allen Waine, and Guy Hoffmann. The high quality of both staging and performance was praised by Thomas Archer, for whom the performance of The Telephone and The Medium was 'an extraordinary evening of theatre' (Gazette, 29 Feb 1952). Because young professional singers were increasingly in demand by TV, the company disbanded in the summer of 1953.
Among the singers who participated were Adeeb Assaly, Marie-José Forgues, Yoland Guérard, Jean-Pierre Hurteau, Jean-Paul Jeannotte, Simone Lamarche, Andrée Lescot, Thérèse Laporte, Fernand Martel, Colette Merola, Alan Mills, Gisèle Phaneuf, Guy Piché, Giselle Poitras, David Rochette, Joseph Rouleau, and Irene Salemka.