The Ensemble vocal Bernard Labadie attracted attention early on by winning the 1986 Healey Willan Prize of the Canada Council as "the country's most promising vocal ensemble," and then winning second place in the CBC Radio National Competition for Amateur Choirs. It participated in Mozart's Requiem at René Levesque's funeral in 1987, which brought it increased recognition. The choir later joined the Choeur Symphonique de Quebec for its performances with the Quebec Symphony Orchestra, and in December 1989 sang Handel's Messiah with the Elmer Iseler Singers and Tudor Singers of Montreal, under Elmer Iseler. In 1991 it made its first European tour.
Throughout the 1990s, under its new name, La Chapelle cemented its reputation in part by its participation in many concerts with Les Violons. It performed Handel's Messiah 1997-9 to great critical acclaim in Montreal, Quebec City, and Toronto, and undertook Bach's St Matthew Passion in Toronto in 2000. In 1998, Labadie restructured the choir to make it a professional ensemble. The choir's recording of Mozart's Requiem, made during a concert in New York State with Les Violons shortly after the terrorist attacks of 11 Sep 2001, won a Juno Award. The choir also performed Messiah under Labadie with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in December 2004. David Vernier, reviewing the recording of the Requiem, remarked that "Labadie's choir is second to none - clear-voiced, uniform in tone, exceptionally well-balanced, articulate, technically sound, expressively versatile" (ClassicsToday.com).
La Chapelle de Québec is largely devoted to Classical and Baroque repertoire, mainly sacred music with chamber orchestra, which it often performs with Les Violons du Roy. The ensemble has distinguished itself by the presentation of such other 18th-century choral works as Haydn's Nelson Mass and Bach's Magnificat, St John Passion, and Lutheran Masses. More recently it has forayed into Romantic repertoire, performing works by Fauré and Brahms.
Requiem de Mozart. Les Violons du Roy, Labadie conductor. 2002. Dorian DOR-90310
Celebration. Les Violons du Roy, Labadie conductor. 2004. Dorian DOR-90024
Author Jean-Pascal Vachon, Evan Ware
Links to Other Sites
Les Violons du Roy
The website for the renowned chamber orchestra Les Violons du Roy. Features musiciansï¿½ biographies, performance schedule, discography, and more. Peruse the discography to find online audio clips from their recordings.
Interview with Bernard Labadie
This 2003 interview with Bernard Labadie focuses on his life-long passion for music and his role in the development of the acclaimed chamber orchestra Les Violons du Roy. From the “G.F. Handel” website.
Quebec conductor Bernard Labadie wins National Arts Award
A CBC article about acclaimed conductor Bernard Labadie.