OP3234. DIE ENTFUHRUNG AUS DEM SERAIL (in French) - Excerpts, recorded 1967, w.Otto-Werner Mueller Cond. Radio-Canada Ensemble; Leopold Simoneau, Pierrette Alarie, Joseph Rouleau, Jean Coutu, Louise Lebrun & Jean-Louis Pellerin; LEOPOLD SIMONEAU, w.Jean-Marie Beaudet Cond. CBC S.O.: Per Pieta, non ricercate (Mozart, K.420) [without any reservation, a contender for Simoneau's most glorious solo recording - a 'desert island' rendition!]; Arias from Don Giovanni & La Clemenza di Tito; LEOPOLD SIMONEAU & PIERRETTE ALARIE: Duets from Cosi Fan Tutte & Entfuhrung. (Canada) 2-St Laurent Studio YSL T-530. 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
“Joseph Rouleau studied in Milan under Mario Basiola and Antonio Narducci. By 1950, he had sung small roles with the Opéra national du Québec and the Minute Opera in Montreal. Rouleau made his first appearance with Covent Garden in London in 1956. During the next 20 years, he held leading roles in more than 40 productions. His Count Rodolfo in Bellini’s LA SONNAMBULA, with Joan Sutherland in 1960, led to a collaboration with the soprano that included Rouleau’s debut at the Paris Opéra that year as Raimondo in LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR. He won high praise during an Australian tour in 1965–66, particularly for his Assur in Rossini’s SEMIRAMIDE. His tours of the USSR (1965–66; 1966–67; 1969–70), singing FAUST, DON CARLOS, and BORIS GODUNOV, brought great acclaim. He made his New York City Opera debut as Méphistophélès in FAUST In 1968. He made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera as the Grand Inquisitor in Verdi's DON CARLOS under James Levine on 13 Apr 1984. An untiring performer, Rouleau continued to perform in his later years.”
- Giles Bryant, THE CANADIAN ENCYCLOPEDIA, 9 May, 2007