French-Canadian bass Alain Coulombe is coming to us from Montréal, Quebec where he is performing Assistant de Descartes in Opéra de Montréal ‘s production of La Reine-Garçon running February 3 – 11. There are two shows left (tonight and Feb 11), so get your tickets now (info and tickets here).
Alain has enjoyed a thirty year international career with highlights including Il Commendatore in Don Giovanni at the Salzburg Festival, Der Doktor in Wozzeck and Archangel Uriel in the world premiere of CO2 at Il Teatro alla Scala, Clark Gable in the world premiere of Waiting for Miss Monroe, The Director of the Casino in The Gambler and Geronte di Ravoir in Manon Lescaut at the Dutch National Opera, as well as Bishop Taché in Louis Riel at the Canadian Opera Company, le Festival d’Opéra de Québec and the National Arts Centre. In a couple of week Alain will be performing Zuniga in Orchestre Philharmonique et Choeur des Mélomanes’s performance of Bizet’s Carmen, running Feb 24 – 25, (get your tickets here).
In between performances, Alain shared with us what he loved about the city of Montréal; his favourite bistro, where to catch some incredible theater, and his favourite place to see Canadian and foreign cinema. Read on to find out more.
City where you’re working?
How long are you working on contract?
5 weeks contract with l’Opéra de Montréal.
What’s the opera house like?
La Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier is in a big cultural complex called La Place des Arts. It is a very large hall; I love singing there. In the 90s, as a young artist with l’Atelier Lyrique, I developed my vocal projection skills while performing on that stage.
Where is the most peaceful place in the city?
The most peaceful place in the city to me is le parc du Mont Royal.
Best coffee or tea?
I don’t often go out for coffee. I have been travelling with my small espresso machine and my coffee beans since my first singing contract in Milan ten years ago. My studio in the Navigli district was very close to La Scala’s rehearsal space; so I would walk home during breaks and have a quick espresso. The kitchen was equipped with an amazing collection of espresso machines. I got totally hooked! The ritual of making an espresso: the smell of freshly ground coffee beans, the sound of the coffee bubbling through the machine, all of it brings me back to very happy times in Italy.
Coolest bar or restaurant you’ve been to?
I love L’Express! It is a classic French bistro that has been around for a very long time.
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An activity you have done that is unique to the area?
Every time I work in Montreal, I go to Le Cinéma du Parc. It presents an amazing selection of Canadian and foreign movies in their original language with subtitles. If my rehearsals schedule is not too busy, I use every opportunity to see movies there.
Is there something unexpected that happens locally that you discovered?
I truly enjoy the amazing exterior skating rink that was built near La Place des Arts a few years ago. The architecture of the surrounding buildings, the design of the whole area and its festive atmosphere are wonderful!
How did you find your accommodation?
L’Opéra de Montréal is providing accommodation for its visiting artists. The location is convenient and only a few minutes walk from the theatre.
What’s the most important thing you think of when it comes to finding accommodation as a singer?
An important thing for me is to have a nice and clean apartment with a fully equipped kitchen and a non-smoking place. Having laundry facilities is important. Being near a subway station or city transit is also important.
Have you had a chance to explore some galleries or museums?
During this singing contract, I didn’t visit any museum, but I read many novels and plays purchased at my favourite french bookstore.
Is there anything else you’d recommend?
I love seeing plays while working in Montréal. Le TNM, le Théâtre Jean-Duceppe and le Théâtre d’aujourd’hui are some of the companies where I usually go. But there are so many excellent theatre companies in this city!
LEARN MORE ABOUT ALAIN COULOMBE
VISIT HIS WEBSITE
Ⓒ Vivien Gaumand
La Reine-garçon with Opéra de Montréal
Don Giovanni with Salzburg Festival Don Giovanni 2016 • Alain Coulombe (Il Commendatore), Ildebrando D’Arcangelo (Don Giovanni)
Werther with Opéra de Montréal
Bilodeau/Bouchard’s La Reine-garçon
Opéra de Montréal
Feb 3 – 11
COMPOSER Julien Bilodeau
LIBRETTIS Michel Marc Bouchard
DIRECTOR Angela Konrad
CONDUCTOR Jean-Marie Zeitouni
CHRISTINE, QUEEN OF SWEDEN Joyce El-Khoury
COUNT KARL GUSTAV Etienne Dupuis
COUNTESS EBBA SPARRE Pascale Spinney
CHANCELLOR AXEL OXENSTIERNA Daniel Okulitch
COUNT JOHAN AXENSTIERNA Isiah Bell
RENÉ DESCARTES Eric Laborte
MARIE-ÉLÉONORE DE BANDEBOURG Aline Kutan
ASSISTANT OF DESCARTE Alain Coulombe
ORCHESTRE SYMPHONIQUE DE MONTRÉAL
CHOEUR DE L’OPÉRA DE MONTRÉAL
After the great success of Les feluettes (2016) and La beauté du monde (2022), Quebec playwright Michel Marc Bouchard is back with his libretto for La Reine-Garçon, an adaptation of his play, Christine, la reine-garçon. He is joined by composer Julien Bilodeau, with whom he has undeniably developed a privileged creative chemistry. Come and hear great Canadian voices, including those of Joyce El-Khoury and Etienne Dupuis, in a production staged by Angela Konrad (Yourcenar, une île de passions – 2022).
NO NEED FOR A CROWN WHEN YOU STAND TALL
Christine, Queen of Sweden, governs a nation barely recovering from the protracted Thirty Years’ War. While great philosophical and scientific insights emerge throughout Europe, Queen Christine, raised as a boy by her father, seeks to better understand the darkness within her. Love, convictions, duty: where does one draw the line?
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