When Ginette Reno sang at the Montreal Forum (now the Bell Centre) for the first time, she was 23 years old and pregnant with her daughter. But she was even more thrilled when she first performed the national anthem before the first-round Stanley Cup playoff game between the Montreal Canadiens and the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Just 11 seconds into the game, the Canadiens’ René Bourque scored a goal, later reporting that he was “spurred on by Ms. Reno’s powerful singing.”
The iconic chanteuse performed the anthem before the next home game as well, then shook hands with Canadiens forward Daniel Brière, who scored the first goal minutes later. Ms. Reno became something of a good luck charm for the Montreal team, and she was invited to sing before every Canadiens game. Thanks to this new gig, the legendary performer has been introduced to a whole new audience.
"Quebec's golden voice"
Known as “Quebec’s golden voice,” Ms. Reno is one of Canada’s most popular and beloved singers, with more than 50 albums and some 600 songs to her credit. In her art as in her personal life, she is authentic, warm and engaging. Ginette Reno appeared in concert in Southam Hall in 1969, during the National Arts Centre’s very first season.
Now she is set to charm NAC audiences when she appears as part of NAC Presents, the NAC series that celebrates legendary Canadian musicians and the icons of tomorrow.
Films, awards and honours
Ms. Reno is also accomplished actress. She made her film debut in the early 1990s in Jean‑Claude Lauzon’s Léolo, and starred in two films directed by Denise Filiatrault, C't'à ton tour, Laura Cadieux and Laura Cadieux...la suite, earning two Genie nominations for Best Actress. In 2006 she was nominated for a Jutra Award for Best Actress for her lead performance in Ghyslaine Côté’s Le secret de ma mère (A Family Secret).
Ginette Reno has won three JUNO Awards and over a dozen Félix Awards. Her many distinctions include Officer of the Order of Canada (June 1982); Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for lifetime artistic achievement (1999); inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame (2000); and Knight of the National Order of Quebec (2004).
"A minor miracle"
In April, Ms. Reno celebrated her 68th birthday — a birthday she nearly didn’t see, having suffered a heart attack in January at her home in Florida. “I experienced a minor miracle,” she says. Her cardiologist, Dr. Jean‑Lucien Rouleau of the Montreal Heart Institute, even gave an interview on the subject.
After a few weeks’ rest (and a thumbs-up from Dr. Rouleau), Ginette Reno is back on the touring circuit, with several sold-out concerts in the months ahead.