The year 1983 marked a turning-point for the history of opera in Québec City. After the pioneering work of Le Théâtre lyrique de Nouvelle-France, l’Opéra du Québec and La Société lyrique d'Aubigny, both of which presented opera performances, La Fondation de l'Opéra de Québec was founded on Jaunary 7, 1983, leading to the creation of La Corporation de l'Opéra de Québec on November 16, 1983 with the mission of producing professional opera in Québec City.

The objective set by L'Opéra de Québec was to produce two major operas each season, drawing on the pool of talent already present in Québec City. The first production by the new company, Madame Butterfly, was presented in May 1985 and was warmly received, thanks in part to the magnificent performance by soprano Evelyne Brunner in the title role.

Well-wishers from around the world expressed their support for the new venture, including Luciano Pavarotti, Jessye Norman, Placido Domingo, Jon Vickers, Wilhelmenia Fernandez, Pierrette Alarie and Léopold Simoneau. On the opening night, L'Opéra de Québec innovated by presenting the libretto in the form of French surtitles, the first time this had been attempted not only in Québec, but in the French-speaking world.

From the beginning, L'Opéra de Québec has worked tirelessly to encourage and promote talent in Québec, and has given several singers from the greater Québec City area their first true opportunity to make their mark as professional singers, including Sonia Racine, Lyne Fortin, Hélène Fortin, Agathe Martel, Odette Beaupré, Monique Pagé, Louis Langelier, Jean-François Lapointe, Claude Robin-Pelletier and many others. These young singers also benefited from singing alongside more experienced colleagues from Québec and around the world, such as Colette Boky, Joseph Rouleau, Robert Savoie, Claude Corbeil, Gaétan Laperrière, Bernard Turgeon, Yves Cantin, Pierre Charbonneau, Theodore Baerg, Brett Polegato, Jean Stilwell, Peter Strummer, Maria d'Aragnès, John Cheek, Stephen Powell, Leslie Richard, Jianyi Zhang, Audrey Stottler, John Fanning, Richard Fredricks, Kevin Glavin, Joanne Kolomyjec, Brenda Harris, Russell Braun and others.

Several outstanding directors have also worked on productions at L'Opéra de Québec: Pierrette Alarie, Irving Guttman, Antonello Madau Diaz, Albert Millaire, Peter Symcox, Bernard Uzan, Brian MacDonald, Brian Deedrick, Serge Denoncourt, Jacques Leblanc, John Pascoe, Louise Marleau.
The arrival of Bernard Labadie and Grégoire Legendre at the start of the 1994-95 season was another turning point, as the new team initiated changes to broaden the repertoire and rejuvenate the staging, while remaining open-minded and respectful of established traditions. Bernard Labadie was the company's artistic and musical director before Grégoire Legendre took over as artistic director in addition to his duties as the general administrator.

With the coming of the new computer age, L'Opéra de Québec understood the need to take action to draw young people into the world of opera. It decided to make an educational contribution by organizing an unusual range of awareness-raising activities. First, it allowed secondary-school students to attend dress rehearsals, and since the spring of 1999 over 10,000 young people in the Québec City area have been able to attend their first opera. The second activity was a drawing contest called "Dessine-moi un opéra", (200 to 2004) an original approach in which elementary-school students were asked to design costumes and scenery for a specific production. This not only introduced them to the world of opera, but also allowed the contest winners to become part of the production team as their drawings were used as the basis for the costumes and scenery of a new production. Four contests were organized, for Mozart's The Magic Flute in June 2000, Humperdinck's Hänsel and Gretel in October 2001, Mozart's The Abduction from the Seraglio in March 2003 and Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’amore.

Grégoire Legendre, the company's general director since 1994, became the artistic director in July 2003.

He was the driving force behind the world première, in Québec, of Luc Plamondon and Michel Berger’s Starmania Opera in the spring of 2008. That same year, Robert Lepage staged a double Québec première of Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle and Schönberg’s Erwartung. And, in November 2009, during ceremonies in honour of excellence of Arts and Culture in the City of Québec, the Opéra de Québec was awarded the Ville de Québec Prize for having succeeded in bringing the Plácido Domingo World Opera Festival to Québec in 2008. This prize was created to acknowledge the effort and underscore the excellent work of a professional cultural organization.

PRODUCTIONS BY L'OPÉRA DE QUÉBEC

Spring 1985
1985-1986
1986-1987
1987-1988
1988-1989
1989-1990
1990-1991
1991-1992
1992-1993
1993-1994
1994-1995
1995-1996
1996-1997
1997-1998
1998-1999
1999-2000

2000-2001
2001-2002
2002-2003
2003-2004
2004-2005
2005-2006
2006-2007
2007-2008
2008-2009

2009-2010
2010-2011
2011-2012
2012-2013
2013-2014

Madama Butterfly
Norma / Carmen
La Fille du régiment / La Bohème
Les Noces de Figaro / Faust
Manon / Samson et Dalila
Rigoletto / Cavaleria Rusticana / I Pagliacci
Lucia di Lammermoor / Les Contes d’Hoffmann
La Flûte enchantée / Le Barbier de Séville / Tosca
L’Elisir d’amore / La Traviata
Les Pêcheurs de perles / Aïda
Mignon / La Belle Hélène / Nabucco
Cosi fan tutte / Carmen
Cendrillon / La Bohème
Faust / Les grandes voix du Québec / Les Noces de Figaro
Don Pasquale / Madama Butterfly
L’Italienne à Alger / La Traviata / Projet spécial La Flûte
enchantée
Norma / Tosca
Hänsel et Gretel / Don Giovanni / Le Babier de Séville
La Veuve joyeuse /L’Enlèvement au sérail / Rigoletto
Turandot / Gala / L'Elisir d'amore / Manon
Un bal masqué / Gala / Les Contes d’Hoffmann
Madama Butterfly / Gala / Carmen
La Bohème / Gala / Roméo et Juliette
Otello / Gala / Starmania Opéra
Barble-Bleue et Erwartung / Le Gala / Cavalleria rusticana
et I Pagliacci
Aida / Le Gala / Lucia di Lammermoor
Il Trovator / Le Gala / La Chauve-souris
Eugène Onéguine / Le Gala / Falstaff
La Traviata / La Vie parisienne
Madama Butterfly / Macbeth

RAOUL-JOBIN AWARDS

Sonia Racine
Lyne Fortin, aequo avec Hélène Fortin
Jean-François Lapointe
Mario Tremblay
Agathe Martel
Renée Lapointe
Monique Pagé
Annie Larouche
Luce Vachon
Sophie Marie Martel
Guylaine Girard
Marie-Hélène Couture
Joane Bellavance
Marie-Josée Lord
Nancy Coulombe

PRIX D’EXCELLENCE

PRIX D'EXCELLENCE DES ARTS ET DE LA CULTURE
(awards for excellence in arts and culture)
PRIX DE LA FONDATION DE L'OPÉRA DE QUÉBEC

 

1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
1996
1997
1998
1999

 

 



Prix de scène (for performers)

Sonia Racine
École de musique de l’Université
Laval
Lyne Fortin
Jean-François Lapointe
Renée Lapointe
Sonia Racine
L’Atelier lyrique du Conservatoire
Monique Pagé
Guy Lavigne
Monique Pagé

Hélène Fortin
Gisèle Petitgrew
non attribué

 

1990
1991

1992
1993
1994
1995
1996
1997
1998
1999

2000
2001
2002

Prix hors scène (for non-performers)

Denis Guérette
Dominique Lemay

Sylvain Doyon
Guy Bélanger
Marc Bégin
Louise Courville
Arthur Labrie
Serge Denoncourt
Claude Gosselin
Mario Dufour –
Festival de musique sacrée
Rhapsodes
Pierre Boutet
Yves Cantin

Beginning in 20003, the Foundation presents a single award.

Jacques Leblanc
Agathe Martel
Marie-Josée Lord
Hélène Guilmette
Lyne Fortin
Serge Gingras
Jean-Guy Gingras
Lyne Fortin
Jean-Paul Cloutier
La Brigade lyrique
Robert Lepage
Robert Huard
2003
2004
2005
2005 (19th édition)
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013

( 2011- The Brigade were young lyric singers talents:
Judith Bouchard, soprano;
Priscilla Ann Smith, mezzo;
Kevin Geddes, tenor;
Jonathan Bedard, baritone
and the two pianists:
Jean-Francois Mailloux and Anne-Marie Bernard )


Grégoire Legendre