Dominique Labelle (Atalanta) in Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra/s Atalanta. Photo: Dorothea Heise
Dominique Labelle (Atalanta) in Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra's Atalanta. Photo: Dorothea Heise

Our 2018 Opera Canada Awards: The Rubies honoree Dominique Labelle was recognized in a New York Times article last week for her vocal artistry and depth of character portrayal (with a nice shout-out to Opera Canada!)

Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, a classical music critic for The New York Times writes:

When I first encountered the soprano Dominique Labelle, she was catty, flamboyant and wild. Her portrayal of the witch in Handel’s “Teseo” in a production by the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra was so sharply drawn that it put me in mind of the extravagant baddies from Disney cartoons. This week, it was announced that Ms. Labelle, a native of Montreal who is also on the faculty of McGill University, would be honored with an Opera Canada Award that will be presented to her at a gala in October.

The news had me perusing her discography, which reflects her special affinity with Baroque music. Just listen to her take on the aria “M’adora l’idol mio” (also from “Teseo,” but this time sung by the goody-two-shoes character Agilea) and note the precision with which her 16th notes match those of the solo oboe as she riffs on the word “contenta.” Not only does Ms. Labelle give each note the same bite and fullness, but she finds space to breathe life into the runs with a gusty, organic crescendo that perfectly captures the character’s joy.

Dominique Labelle (Medea) in the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra's Teseo in 2014. Photo: Alciro Theodoro da Silva
Dominique Labelle (Medea) in the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra’s Teseo in 2014. Photo: Alciro Theodoro da Silva

Her recital disc “Moments of Love,” with the pianist and composer Yehudi Wyner, shows a very different side of Ms. Labelle’s artistry. Especially in the songs by Ravel and Saint-Saëns, her languorous, weightless phrasing and soft-grained tone are the epitome of French sex appeal.”

Read the original story with musical excerpts of Dominique’s work on The New York Times website here.

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