Bruno Laplante, baritone
Career Summary

Bruno Laplante was born in Beauharnois (Province of Québec, Canada), where he came into contact with French music at an early age since the well-known vocal works of Massenet, Franck and Hahn were an integral part of his family life. He studied with Father Léonce Jacob, who was to have a decisive influence over his education, at the Collège Bourget in Rigaud. Father Jacob introduced him to a broad range of repertory and provided him with a strong basic technique: exemplary diction, and a sense of phrasing and nuance, in addition to his growing interest for the French repertory.

By Louise Leblanc (Sainte-Foy, Québec City)

He prepared for admission to the Montreal Conservatory with Édouard Wooley and, once accepted, studied French opera with Raoul Jobin and French art song with Roy Royal. He also made his first appearances on the concert stage: in a Serenade by Léo Delibes for Geneviève Bujold in "À quoi rêvent les jeunes filles" (Alfred de Musset), as Siméon in Debussy's "L'Enfant Prodigue" with the Conservatory orchestra and choir, and as a chorist in "L'Arlésienne" by Daudet and Bizet, under the direction of Wilfrid Pelletier.

After five years as a student at the Conservatory, he was awarded a Premier Prix diploma in vocal performance, then a Prix d'Europe for singing, and went on in Paris, France, to train with Pierre Bernac for three years. This is where he acquired the art of musical interpretation, deriving the essence of each song, and especially of its literary text, and then communicating the entire range of its colours to the audience. His time in France also provided him an opportunity to gain an inside view of European culture. He took part in several national and international competitions and won various awards and prizes, including a Special Performance Prize at Guelph (Ontario) when coming back to Canada for a short time.

Upon returning to Quebec in the early 1970s, he organized several important recitals of French art songs. The scope of his repertory resulted in a number of recording contracts for radio broadcasts, bringing his name before the general public. He was receptive to new music, and gave the first performances of several works. He also sang for television, toured for Youth and Music in both Canada and France, and founded and conducted the Montreal ensemble "Cantabile".

His international career developed quickly following the release of his first recitals on the Calliope label. He toured in Europe, as a soloist in large-scale works for choir and orchestra such as "Les Béatitudes" by César Franck, in a live recording of Debussy's "Pelléas et Mélisande", and in operas by Massenet and songs by Duparc with orchestral accompaniment. He appeared in the first European performance of Debussy's "La Chute de la Maison Usher" in Frankfurt with Eliahu Inbal, and also worked with other well-known conductors such as Jean Fournet, Spiros Argiris, Charles Dutoit, Franz-Paul Decker, Pierre Bartholomée, Philippe Herreweghe, Kenneth Montgomery, James de Priest, Louis de Froment, Henry Lewis, José Cérébrier and Jérôme Kaltenbach.

He also performed recitals in prestigious venues such as the Wigmore Hall in London, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Kungstring Diligentia in the Hague, the Salle Gaveau in Paris, the Musikverein in Vienna, the Theatro Sao Luis in Lisbon, the Bunka Kaikan and Casals Hall in Tokyo, and Izumi Hall in Osaka, and at the Festival du Marais in Paris, the Aix-en-Provence festival, the Nuits de Septembre in Wallonie, the Flanders festival, and the Ottawa festival in Canada.

Recording has long played an important role in his artistic career, and he is best-known for his personal vision of each work, his artistic curiosity, and his interest in research, and in particular for his performances of both well-known and neglected works. He has recorded for the national radio services of Norway, Sweden, Germany, Austria, Romania, Switzerland, Greece, Spain, Portugal, England, and especially France, Belgium and the Netherlands, in addition to frequent appearances on the Japanese and Canadian national networks.

Since 1989, he is part of a lyric duet with the mezzo-soprano France Duval.

In 1994 they make Quebec City their home base, from where they continue to launch their national and international tours and to record their new albums: "L'opérette française" (1997), "Éternels baisers" (1998), ...

In 1998 France Duval (Gemma) with Bruno Laplante (Bigot the Intendant, Laplante being also the producer and artistic director of the show) and six other classical singers, sixty musicians of the Quebec Symphonic Orchestra, and a chorus, let people revive in Quebec City a forgotten Canadian historical Opera, "L'Intendant Bigot" (1929): two nice outside performances at night in presence of a large public, in which are many descendants of the composer, Ulric Voyer. – The music scores of this Opera are the first scores (of about one hundred in the next fifteen years) that Bruno Laplante publishes, under the name of Les Éditions du Nouveau Théâtre Musical that he creates in year 2000, still being their artistic director.

At the end of march 2004, Laplante and Duval make the world premiere of two works by Charles Gounod, with orchestra: the cantata Fernand (1839) and the Hymn La Liberté éclairant le monde (1876).

Assemblée nationale du Québec
Bruno Laplante
On the 18 October 2003, Bruno Laplante received the Special Honour Medal of Quebec government in Homage to all his career. See the photo.

After several other tours, mainly in both his native country and in France, Bruno Laplante served as a member of prestigious jurys: up to « le  Prix d'Europe » (in Montréal, Quebec, 2007) and to « L'École normale de Musique Alfred-Cortot » (in Paris, France, 2009).

On April 23, 2010, Bruno Laplante received an important distinction from the French Republic, being named Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

Photo by Louise Leblanc, Sainte-Foy, Québec City.

After receiving the approbation of Canada notice, Madame Hélène Le Gal, Consule générale de France à Québec, held the ceremony of the insignia transmission, on the 1rst of June 2011, in Québec City.

Médaille de Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres de la République Française

Photo by Louise Leblanc, Sainte-Foy, Québec City.

France Duval and Bruno Laplante with their daughters, Rosemarie and Mathilde, at the Québec City French Consulate, that day.

Photos: L'Opéra de Montréal            
Bruno Laplante was inducted into the Canadian Opera Hall of Fame by Mr. Michel Beaulac, Artistic Director of l'Opéra de Montréal.

« L'Opéra de Montréal est très heureux d'introniser
Bruno Laplante, baryton
Panthéon canadien de l'Art lyrique
en ce quatrième jour du mois de décembre 2011, 14 h
Maison symphonique de Montréal »
« Grand ambassadeur de la musique française,
le musicien demeurera un modèle pour les artistes lyriques de la relève. »

"For having made a remarkable contribution to the development of opera in Canada", Bruno Laplante was inducted into the Canadian Opera Hall of Fame, at the beginning of the 16th edition of the Opéra de Montréal Gala, in the Maison symphonique de Montréal, Place des Arts, on December 4th, 2011.

  Bruno Laplante still gives some Master Classes upon request, as in February 2011 in Illinois, USA, as in Montréal and still in Vancouver in March 2010, June 2011, June 2012, June 2013, 2014 . . . in New Mexico State at the end of March 2012 ...

Also read about Bruno Laplante into The Encyclopedia of Music in Canada on line!

Last updated: April 27, 2015