Lebrun, Louise

Louise Lebrun. Soprano, b Montreal 9 Jan 1940; Artist Diploma (École Vincent-d'Indy) 1964. She studied 1956-64 at the École Vincent-d'Indy with Sister Gertrude-des-Anges and Sister Reine Décarie (voice), Roy Royal (French art songs), Bernard Diamant (Lieder), and Pierrette Alarie (stage techniques). She won a scholarship from the Sarah Fischer Concerts in 1958 and was a prize winner in the 1965 CBC Talent Festival.

Engaged for the 1964-5 season by Sadler's Wells in London, Lebrun sang various light soprano roles, including the Fire, the Princess, and the Nightingale in Ravel's L'Enfant et les sortilèges. She was attached 1967-9 to the Regensburg Stadttheater in Bavaria, where she sang leading roles in The Tales of Hoffmann, Fidelio, Falstaff, Der Rosenkavalier, The Marriage of Figaro, and The Barber of Seville. In 1970 she made her debut at the New York City Opera as Gilda in Rigoletto. After her performance Robert Sherman wrote in the New York Times (2 Mar 1970): 'There is musicality behind every phrase'. She also sang Constanze in The Abduction from the Seraglio and Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro.

Lebrun participated in the Glyndebourne (1970), Santa Fe (1971), and Salzburg (1974) festivals, singing one of her best roles, that of the Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute. She also sang this role in 1975 in the Festival Canada (Festival Ottawa) production at the NAC and at the Opéra de Lyon in 1978. For the Opéra du Québec she sang the title role in Donizetti's The Daughter of the Regiment (1971), Gilda in Rigoletto (1972), and Nanetta in Falstaff (1974). She sang the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor (1973) at the Opera Nacional de Mexico, and other leading roles at the Toulouse Théâtre du Capitole (1974, 1975) and the Philadelphia Academy of Music (1975). At the PDA in July 1976 she was Rosina in The Barber of Seville, presented by the Opéra du Québec during the Olympics in Montreal.

Lebrun has appeared as soloist with several Canadian and European orchestras, notably the MSO and the Quebec Symphony Orchestra, and has given public recitals on CBC radio and TV and on Cologne Radio. During 1976 she sang Isotta in Strauss' Die schweigsame Frau and Marguerite de Valois in Meyerbeer's Les Huguenots in Radio France opera productions. For Italian radio-TV (RAI) in 1977 she sang the Countess in Rossini's Le Comte Ory.

Lebrun resided 1977-86 in France, where she made her debut at the Opéra de Paris as Constanze in The Abduction from the Seraglio (1984). She also participated in the premiere of Luigi Nono's Al gran sole carico d'amore at the Opéra de Lyon (1982) and toured Brazil, Germany, and Spain with the Grupo accion instrumental de Buenos Aires. During this period she also sang for the Société lyrique d'Aubigny in The Tales of Hoffmann (1981) and La Traviata and Lakmé (1983). Following her return to Montreal in 1986, she taught at the Cons de Trois-Rivières and performed in concerts and recitals. She sang Poulenc's La Voix humaine at the Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur in Montreal in 1990.

Lebrun's voice is remarkable for its timbre and its control of the coloratura register, and Claude Rostand, in Figaro littéraire (2 Mar 1965), rightly emphasized her 'perfect vocal ease'.