V2507. LÉOPOLD SIMONEAU: Songs by Haydn & Schubert; PIERRETTE ALARIE: Songs by Hugo Wolf; PIERRETTE ALARIE & LÉOPOLD SIMONEAU: Duets by Carissimi, Legrenzi, Perez, Schumann (all w.Janine Lachance (Pf.), Live Performance, 18 Aug., 1967, Montréal Expo, via Radio Canada; PIERRETTE ALARIE & LÉOPOLD SIMONEAU, w.Mario Bernardi Cond. National Arts Centre Orch.: Four Haydn Arias - recorded 1970, Ottawa. (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL 33-440, from Private Collection of Léopold Simoneau. [A jewel of a recital, beautifully recorded!] Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
"Simoneau was the most elegant Mozart tenor of his time – and it was a time that saw the likes of Valletti, Gedda, Alva, Kraus and Burrows. He had a uniquely beautiful voice, seamlessly produced, with a rich, gleaming middle range and a perfect legato. His control of dynamics was peerless: any note could be swelled or diminished at will, without the slightest disturbance to the vocal line. All the finesse did not preclude strength and virility; Simoneau was always dramatically alive and responsive to the words."
- Ralph V. Lucano, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, May/June, 2005
"Léopold Simoneau was the epitome of the French tenor, meaning that he had a light voice, beautiful diction and a mastery of musical nuance….By the time he made his Met début as Don Ottavio in Mozart’s DON GIOVANNI, in 1963, Mr Simoneau was acknowledged as one of the world’s leading performers of the role….After initial voice studies in Québec City, he moved to Montréal…where he met Ms Alarie….they were married in 1946…."
- Anne Midgette, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 29 Aug., 2006
“Pierrette Alarie-Simoneau sang in UN BALLO IN MASCHERA, among other operas at the Metropolitan Opera in the 1940s. A coloratura whose light, lyric voice was often described as silvery or crystalline, Mrs. Alarie-Simoneau was known for her dynamic stage presence and refined musical interpretations. She and her husband, the renowned lyric tenor Léopold Simoneau, often performed together and were long considered the first couple of Canadian opera. Mrs. Alarie-Simoneau, who before her marriage in 1946 was billed as Pierrette Alarie, was a winner of the Metropolitan Opera Auditions of the Air in 1945. She made her Met début on 8 Dec., 1945, as Oscar in Verdi’s UN BALLO IN MASCHERA. She remained at the Met for three seasons, appearing 26 times between 1945 and 1948. Her other rôles there included Xenia in Mussorgsky’s BORIS GODUNOV, Blonde in Mozart’s ABDUCTION FROM THE SERAGLIO and Olympia in Offenbach’s LES CONTES d’HOFMANN. Reviewing her Olympia in The New York Times in 1946, Olin Downes wrote, ‘She has a brilliant coloratura, and good stage business in the representation of the stiff gestures of the mechanistic doll’.
Mrs. Alarie-Simoneau also sang with the New York Philharmonic, the Paris Opéra-Comique and the Salzburg, Aix-en-Provence and Glyndebourne Festivals. Her rôles over the years included Rosina in Rossini’s BARBER OF SEVILLE and the title rôles in Delibes’ LAKMÉ, and LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR.
Pierrette Marguerite Alarie was born in Montréal on 9 Nov., 1921. Her father, Sylva, was a choirmaster; her mother, Amanda, a singer and actress. Pierrette began acting on local stages as a child and as a teenager sang popular songs on Canadian radio. She later studied at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia with the distinguished soprano Elisabeth Schumann. After retiring from the opera and concert stages, Mrs. Alarie-Simoneau worked as an opera director and teacher. In 1982 she and her husband Leopold Simoneau founded Canada Opera Piccola, a training company in Victoria.”
- Margalit Fox, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 19 July, 2011