Le Magicien

Le Magicien. One-act opera, with libretto and music by Jean Vallerand, commissioned by the JMC to serve as a curtain raiser for Debussy's L'Enfant prodigue on one of its tours. The work was inspired by the commedia dell'arte: a magician brings to life the marionettes Colombine and Arlequin, who then refuse to return to their former state. It was premiered 2 Sep 1961 at the JMC Orford Art Centre by the soprano Louise Gosselin (Colombine), the tenor Claude Gosselin (Arlequin), the baritone Napoléon Bisson (Magician), and the pianist Colombe Pelletier, with Raoul Jobin as director. It was performed more than 100 times during the JMC 1961-2 Canadian tour by two casts - the original one and another comprising Cécile Vallée, Pierre Boutet, and Jules Bruyère. The radio premiere, 6 Jun 1962 on the series 'CBC Wednesday Night,' starred Pierrette Alarie, Léopold Simoneau, and Napoléon Bisson, with an 18-piece orchestra under Jean-Marie Beaudet. Beaudet also conducted three performances of the work in August 1962 at the Comédie-Canadienne as part of the Montreal Festivals. The roles were sung on that occasion by Claire Gagnier, Jean-Louis Pellerin, and Napoléon Bisson, in a production staged by the composer. Le Magicien was recorded in 1967 (CBC SM-42/3-ACM 19) by Louise Lebrun, Jean-Louis Pellerin, Gaston Germain, and a CBC orchestra conducted by Michel Perrault. The work was revived 11 Dec 1989 at a concert of the Orchestre métropolitain de Montréal conducted by Agnes Grossmann, with the singers Christiane Riel, Guy Bélanger, and Erik Oland.