Bernard Labadie has established himself worldwide as one of the preeminent conductors of the Baroque and Classical repertoire, a reputation closely tied to his work with Les Violons du Roy and La Chapelle de Québec. With these two ensembles he has regularly toured Canada, the U.S. and Europe, in major venues and festivals such as Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Kennedy Center, the Barbican, The Concertgebouw and the Salzburg Festival, among others. He began a four-year term as Principal Conductor of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s in the 2018–19 season.
Since his triumphant debut with the Minnesota Orchestra, Labadie has become a regular presence on the podiums of the major North American orchestras, including the Cleveland Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal. Internationally, he has conducted the Bayerischen Rundfunks Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Zurich Chamber Orchestra. On the opera podium, he made his Metropolitan Opera debut with Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte and his Canadian Opera Company debut with the same work. He made his debut with the NAC Orchestra in 1996, with his most recent appearance in March 2018.
Bernard Labadie is an Officer of the Order of Canada and Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Québec.
German soprano Marie-Sophie Pollak studied with Gabriele Fuchs at the University of Music and Performing Arts Munich, where she completed her studies with distinction. In 2011, she made her debut at the Innsbruck Festival of Early Music as Vespetta in Georg Philipp Telemann’s musical comedy Pimpinone or The Unequal Marriage. Important highlights of her international career include Haydn’s oratorio The Seasons under the baton of Kent Nagano at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie, and her debut at the Vienna Musikverein in Handel’s Susanna.
Highlights of the 2019-20 season include a collaboration with the recently-founded Vox Orchester under Lorenzo Ghirlanda featuring Handel’s Alexander’s Feast and Gluck’s Orphée et Eurydice at the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, Beethoven’s Egmont with Camerata Salzburg under Sir Roger Norrington, and her debut with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal in Bach’s Christmas Oratorio. Pollak will also appear as “L’Amour” in Hector Berlioz’ Orphée at the Salzburg Whitsun Festival in 2020.
Marie-Sophie Pollak can be heard on a recording, released by Harmonia Mundi, of Lutheran cantatas by Bach under the direction of Christoph Spering. Together with Ensemble 392 – of which she is a co-founder – a recording of a collection of French cantatas and chansons was released with the fra bernardo label.
A native of Jupiter, Florida, Avery Amereau studied at Mannes College of Music and The Juilliard School, where she was the proud recipient of a Kovner Fellowship and the Shoshana Foundation 2017 Richard F. Gold Career Grant. Exceptional in baroque repertoire, whilst at Juilliard she performed with the school’s historical performance department and sang at the Bachfest Leipzig and the Boston Early Music Festival.
Amereau made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 2016 as the Madrigal Singer in Puccini’s Manon Lescaut. She has since sung at the Glyndebourne Festival (Dryad/Ariadne auf Naxos), Seattle Opera (Ursula/Béatrice et Bénédict) and the Salzburg Festival (Page/Salome). Last season, she made her house and role debut as Eduige (Rodelinda) at Opera de Lille, reprising the role for Opera de Lyon.
This season, Avery Amereau will sing Bradamante (Alcina) at Glyndebourne and in her house and role debut for the Hannover Staatsoper, as well as Irene (Bajazet) for Portland Opera. On the concert platform, she will open the season with the world premiere of The Listeners by Caroline Shaw on a U.S. concert tour with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra. She will also record her debut solo album with the ensemble.
A first-rate interpreter of the works of Bach, Handel and Mozart, Aaron Sheehan has performed at Tanglewood, Lincoln Center, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Washington National Cathedral, the Early Music Festivals of Boston, San Francisco, Vancouver, Washington DC, Carmel, Halle, Potsdam Sanssouci and Regensburg, and with the Seattle Symphony, American Bach Soloists, Handel and Haydn Society, Philharmonia Baroque, Boston Baroque, Tafelmusik, Calgary Philharmonic, North Carolina Symphony, Charlotte Symphony and Pacific Music Works.
His many stage roles have included Orlando (Orlando generoso), Actéon (Actéon), Orfeo (Orfeo), Eurimaco, Eumete and Telemaco (Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria), Orphée (Le Carnaval de Venise) and Liberto/Soldato (L’incoronazione di Poppea). He has also appeared as Apollon and Trajan in Rameau’s Le Temple de la Gloire, in the title role in Gluck’s Orphée, and as Dom Pedro and Ottavio in Campra’s L’Europe galante.
In 2019, he made his debuts with the National Symphony of Peru and in the BAROCKTAGE festival at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden, Berlin.
Aaron Sheehan’s recording of Charpentier’s La déscente d’Orphée aux enfers with Boston Early Music Festival won the 2015 GRAMMY® for Best Opera Recording. His many other recordings include Blow’s Venus and Adonis, Charpentier’s Actéon, Lully’s Thésée and Psyché, Steffani’s Niobe and Handel’s Acis and Galatea.
Matthew Brook has appeared as a soloist throughout Europe, Australia, North and South America, and the Far East. This season’s highlights include Bach’s Saint Matthew Passion with the Handel and Haydn Society, Mendelssohn’s Elijah with both the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestre philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, Handel’s Messiah in a return to Les Violons du Roy in Quebec, Argante in Rinaldo with Ópera de Oviedo, and Claudio in Agrippina at Teatro de la Maestranza. He also returns to the role of Il Re di Scozia in Ariodante with the Boston Baroque, having recently performed it with the Staatstheater Stuttgart.
Brook has recently appeared as Herod and Father in Berlioz’s L’Enfance du Christ with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Sir Andrew Davis, and has performed Tippett’s A Child of Our Time at Festival Saint-Denis, Mozart’s Requiem with the Fryderyk Chopin Institute in Warsaw, a tour of Bach cantatas with both the Monteverdi Choir conducted by Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the Nederlandse Bachvereniging, Bach’s Magnificat and Brahms’ Triumphlied with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, and Bach’s Saint John Passion with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.
Bernard Labadie, music director
Created in 1985 by founding conductor and music director Bernard Labadie, La Chapelle de Québec is one of North America’s premiere vocal ensembles. The group is made up exclusively of professional singers who are hand-picked from all over Canada. This unique chamber choir specializes in the choral/orchestral repertoire of the 17th and 18th centuries. The choir performs not only with its other half, the chamber orchestra Les Violons du Roy, but also as a guest choir with some of the finest orchestras in North America. Its interpretations of the oratorios, requiems, masses and cantatas of Bach, Handel, Mozart and Haydn, as well as Fauré and Duruflé, are frequently hailed in the Canadian and international press.
La Chapelle de Québec is heard regularly at Palais Montcalm in Quebec City and the Maison symphonique in Montreal, as well as at the Walt Disney Concert Hall with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and at Carnegie Hall with Les Violons du Roy and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. This season they return to the National Arts Centre, having made their first appearance here in 2018 singing Bach’s Mass in B minor and other works by Bach and Handel with the NAC Orchestra. The choir’s concerts are often broadcast by the CBC and Radio-Canada, as well as by National Public Radio (NPR) in the United States.
“One of the major highlights of the current London orchestral season”
– Classical Source, U.K., 2019
The NAC Orchestra is a world-class ensemble of outstanding musicians from across Canada and around the world, under the inspiring leadership of Music Director Alexander Shelley. The Orchestra has been praised for the passion and clarity of its performances, its visionary education and community outreach programs and its prominent role in nurturing Canadian creativity.
"The NAC Orchestra’s current European tour has achieved the highest degree of cultural diplomacy."
– Le Devoir (Montreal), 2019
The Orchestra has toured regularly across Canada and internationally and in May 2019, it presented five Canadian artists and six Canadian composers across Europe.
“…uplifting, unsettling, mischievous and deeply poignant…”
– BBC Music Magazine on Life Reflected, 2017
The NAC Orchestra has recorded many of its 80+ commissioned works for radio and on over 40 commercial releases, including Life Reflected, which includes 2018 Classical Composition JUNO winner My Name is Amanda Todd by Jocelyn Morlock; and New Worlds, featuring Ana Sokolović’s Golden Slumbers Kiss Your Eyes, 2019 Classical Composition JUNO winner.
“Life Reflected reminds us that when we try new things, art regains its primal power.”
– The Globe and Mail, 2017
In 2019, the Orchestra played on Parliament Hill for the Canada Day noon concert, a live broadcast for CBC television.