Théâtre lyrique de Nouvelle-France

Théâtre lyrique de Nouvelle-France (Théâtre lyrique du Québec 1966-70). Founded in Quebec City in 1961 by the bass Roger Gosselin and the soprano Nelly Mathot, this company offered a regular season for 10 consecutive years.

Théâtre lyrique de Nouvelle-France

Théâtre lyrique de Nouvelle-France (Théâtre lyrique du Québec 1966-70). Founded in Quebec City in 1961 by the bass Roger Gosselin and the soprano Nelly Mathot, this company offered a regular season for 10 consecutive years. Its initial production - The Barber of Seville with Colette Boky, Roger Doucet, Fernand Martel, Roger Gosselin, and Napoléon Bisson in the leading roles and Edwin Bélanger conducting - was given in Chicoutimi in May 1961. The first offering in Quebec City itself was Delibes's Lakmé, with Boky in the title role, in April 1962 at the Palais Montcalm. With the support of the MACQ the company became more efficiently organized, with Roger Gosselin as sole artistic director until the 1966-7 season. The baritone Gilles Lamontagne, Gosselin's successor, served until 1970, when the company was dissolved.

Although only one work was presented during its first two seasons, three and often four productions were offered subsequently, first at the Palais Montcalm and later (1964) in the hall of Quebec City's Académie commerciale (renamed Albert-Rousseau Hall). In addition to traditional French works such as Lakmé (1962, 1965), Werther (1963, 1968), Les Pêcheurs de perles (1964, 1969), Mignon (1966), Mireille (1965), and Manon (1967), it presented The Land of Smiles (1965), The Merry Widow (1966), La Périchole (1967), Monsieur Beaucaire (1968, 1969), and Ciboulette (1970), and also The Barber of Seville (1961, 1963, 1967), La Traviata, (1965), La Bohème (1962, 1967); Madama Butterfly (1964); Tosca (1963, 1968, 1969) and Così fan tutte (1964, 1970).

Among the artists who sang leading roles were the sopranos Pierrette Alarie, Clarice Carson, Marcelle Couture, France Dion, Marguerite Gignac, Jeanne Guihard (Roger Gosselin's wife), Suzanne Lapointe, Thérèse Laporte, Micheline Tessier, and Cécile Vallée; the contraltos Réjane Cardinal and Geneviève Perreault; the tenors Léonard Bilodeau, Pierre Boutet, Pierre Duval, Jean-Louis Pellerin, Guy Plamondon, Paul Trépanier, André Turp, and Richard Verreau; the baritones Dominic Cossa, Jacques Jansen, Gilles Lamontagne, and Robert Savoie; and the basses Claude Corbeil and Yoland Guérard. Sylvio Lacharité was music director 1962-5, followed 1967-70 by Jean Deslauriers. Guest conductors were Wilfrid Pelletier, Pierre Hétu, Louis Fourestier, Ernesto Barbini, and Charles Dumas. The company took productions of The Merry Widow and Manon to Montreal, appearing at the Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier (PDA, 1967), and made several tours of Quebec. By 1970 the annual budget had reached a half-million dollars, and a considerable deficit caused the troupe to cease activities. The company's records have been deposited with the municipal archives of Quebec City.


Further Reading

  • Boeckh, Sherry. 'Théâtre Lyrique de Nouvelle-France,' OpCan, Dec 1965

    Gosselin, Roger. 'L'Opéra au Québec... six pieds sous terre?' Musicien québécois, Aug-Sep, Oct-Nov 1974, Dec-Jan 1974-5