A regular guest of the most prestigious international concert venues, contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux is Artist-in-Residence with the OSM* for the 2020–2021 season. This residency has given her the opportunity to perform this fall in a program of French music with the Orchestra in chamber formation, and over the coming months we will have the pleasure of hearing her again on several occasions.
A Melodious Childhood
Marie-Nicole Lemieux was born in Dolbeau in 1975, into a family that enjoyed singing: “I would always see my parents singing duets, and for me, singing is associated with happiness in the home. I could not imagine a household that doesn’t sing!” The family listened to Nana Mouskouri, Claude François, Michel Fugain, and to classical music. Her father especially admired tenors Richard Verreau and Raoul Jobin, and on one auspicious day, he came home from work carrying an LP recording of Luciano Pavarotti. At that point, everything changed. The fugue in the “Sanctus” from Fauré’s Requiem captivated the ten-year-old Marie-Nicole: “It was like being in heaven.” It was this recording that sparked her interest, passion, and curiosity for classical music. She was to go on to become one of the most famous contraltos of her generation.
The Queen Elisabeth Competition: A Milestone
After exemplary academic results at the Conservatoire de musique de Chicoutimi, the new millennium ushered in success for the ambitious and determined Marie-Nicole Lemieux, who proceeded to win prize after prize in various competitions. Her triumph in 2000 at the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels—one of the most prestigious performance competitions in the world—proved to be her greatest achievement at the time, opening Europe’s doors … and those of the OSM! Rapidly diversifying her repertoire of lieder, mélodies, Baroque opera, sacred music, and opera, she began to bring her artistry to the most prominent international stages.
For the past two decades, Marie-Nicole Lemieux has enjoyed a very special relationship with the OSM and has been invited to perform with the Orchestra almost every season. In recent years, she has been featured with the OSM on tour in Europe in Verdi’s Requiem, Mahler’s “Symphony of a Thousand,” Bach’s Mass in B minor, Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder, among other great works. Consequently, she has no hesitation in calling the Orchestra, “my OSM.” For this world-class performer, being an Artist-in-Residence grows naturally out of her special relationship with the OSM, and she looks forward to delighting audiences next
* Artist-in-residence generously sponsored by The Rossy Foundation