Blazer PortraitOrphée et Eurydice, Gluck arr. Berlioz / Opera Atelier with Tafelmusik

Baroque Orchestra/D. Fallis/M. Pynkoski

‘Appearing as Orpheus, mezzo-soprano Mireille Lebel wholeheartedly embodies the purposeful hero, vocally and physically focused, bravely confronting the great Berlioz challenge.’ ’Faced with the reality of transposition, Lebel reaches to the extreme limits of her instrument, extracting a tender poignant sound tinted with tragedy.

Her rendition of Orpheus’ exultant, L’amour vient rendre à mon âme (“Hope is reborn in my soul”), complete with filigreed coloratura, rare in a work built largely on accompanied recitative, ends Act I on a thrilling note. Lebel’s cadenza is extraordinary, transitioning from a cappella back to full orchestra with breathtaking precision. Her gentle, understated handling of Gluck’s lovely showstopper, J’ai perdu mon Eurydice (“What shall I do without my Eurydice”), quite rightly commands sustained applause.’

Opera Going Toronto


Canadian mezzo−soprano Mireille Lebel grew up in Vancouver and studied music at the University of Toronto and the University of Montreal. Following her studies she was awarded major grants by the Canada Council and the Jacqueline Desmarais Foundation and furthered her artistic training as a member of the Atelier Lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal. In 2009, she was a winner of the Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyriques Competition that earned her an invitation to join the Ensemble of Theater Erfurt. Throughout her time in the Ensemble, she sang leading roles in the lyric mezzo fach.  She is now making critically successful debuts with opera companies and orchestras in Europe and North America. Mireille resides in Berlin.

In the 2019/2020 season, Mireille will appear for the very first time in Italy in the title role of Carmen. The production, by Paul-Émile Fourny,  was premiered to acclaim at the Opera de Metz in June 2019 with Mireille in the title role. It will tour to Teatro G.B. Pergolesi in Jesi, Teatro della Fortuna in Fano, Teatro Ventidio Basso in Ascoli, and Teatro dell’Aquila in Fermo. Continuing her season in Italy, Mireille will make her house début at Teatro San Carlo in Naples in the role of Mercedes in Carmen. She returns to the role of Nerone in an unusual new production of L’incoronazione di Poppea at Columbus Opera directed and conceived by artistic director Peggy Kriha-Dye. This production will be presented at the Pizzuti Collection at the Columbus Museum of Art and will feature couture by Gerardo Encinas. Singing for the first time under the baton of Václav Luks and accompanied by his orchestra Collegium 1704, she will undertake the title role in Vivaldi’s Arsilda at the Rudolfinium in Prague and the Annenkirche in Dresden. In Germany, Mireille will sing her first Nicklausse/Muse in Les Contes d’Hoffmann at the Anhaltisches Theater Dessau.

Mireille Lebel begins the 2018/2019 season with a series of diverse concert programmes in her native Canada. For Arte Musica, she will sing Schoenberg’s iconic Pierrot Lunaire paired with the world premiere of Sur les pas de la lune by Kelly-Marie Murphy. With IMusici and Jean-Marie Zeitouni she will sing works by Ana Sokolovic, Eric Champagne, Respighi, and Britten, themed around The Spirit of a Woman. Returning to sing with Les Violons du Roy and Bernard Labadie, she will be the mezzo-soprano soloist in Haydn’s Nelson Mass and Mozart’s Coronation Mass. Mireille will make her role and house début in the title role of Offenbach’s La Belle Hélène with Opéra national de Lorraine and make return engagements as Siébel in Faust with Vancouver Opera and as Carmen in a new production directed by Paul-Émile Fourny at the Opéra de Metz. Mireille will also make her 6th recording with the Boston Early Music Festival singing the role of La conversation in Charpentier’s Les plaisirs de Versailles.

In the 2017/2018 season Mireille returned to Opera Atelier as Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro and in a role début as Penelope in Il ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria. On the concert platform, she made two high profile last minute replacements, the first for mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kozena singing an all Handel programme with Bernard Labadie and Les Violons du Roy. Of the concert, Christophe Huss of Le Devoir wrote she had a “radiant stage presence” and “mastered this repertoire perfectly”. She also stepped in for Christianne Stotijn singing the world premiere of Samy Moussa’s Ahania’s Lament conducted by Christoph Eschenbach at the Schleswig Holstein Music Festival. Other concert engagements included the Messiah with The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and a reprisal of her role as the Archangel in Dubois’ Le Paradis Perdu with Jean-Claude Malgoire at L’Atelier lyrique de Tourcoing. She made a role début as Siébel in Faust with Jacques Lacombe and the OSTR and was invited to sing Carmen in a gala concert with Zbyněk Müller and the Košice Philharmonic. In Meaux, France, she recorded Schoenberg’s 2nd String Quartet with the Richter Ensemble.

In the 2016/2017 season Mireille made her role début as Charlotte in Werther at the Opéra Théâtre de Metz, Opéra de Massy, and Opéra de Reims. She made her house début in the Vancouver Opera’s inaugural festival season as Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro. In May she sang the Archangel in Théodore Dubois’ rarity Le paradis perdu with conductor Jean-Claude Malgoire at the Montréal Festival Classica. She made her début in the UK singing Bach’s Cantata BWV 206 with the London Bach Society, led by Rodolfo Richter, and an all Vivaldi programme in Austria with Ensemble Castor led by Enrico Onofri. She made return engagements with Jean-Marie Zeitouni and IMusici de Montréal singing Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, and with the Boston Early Music Festival as Minèrve in Campra’s Le carnaval de Venise.

In 2015/2016, Mireille sang Handel and Vivaldi Arias with Tafelmusik Orchestra and Rodolfo Richter, Vivaldi arias with Arion Baroque Orchestra and Enrico Onofri, Britten’s cantata Phaedra as well as Bach’s Christmas Oratorio I- III, with IMusici de Montréal and Jean-Marie Zeitouni and the Messiah with the Kansas City Symphony and the Saguenay Symphony Orchestra. She sang the title role in Carmen at the Prague State Opera, the title role in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice at Theater Erfurt, and made her début at Opéra de Nantes Angers as Ljubica in Ana Sokolovic’s opera Svadba.

In 2014/2015 Mireille returned to Opera Atelier in Toronto to make a role début as Orphée in the Berlioz version of Gluck’s Orphée et Eurydice, she sang the role of Angela in the world premiere of Hector Parra’s Wilde at the Schwetzinger SWR Festpiele, directed by Calixto Bieito and conducted by Peter Rundel, and made her début at the Festival International d’Aix-en-Provence as Ljubica in Ana Sokolovic’s opera Svadba conducted by Dairine Ni Mheadra and directed by Ted Huffman and Zack Winokur. On the concert platform she sang Handel’s Messiah with The McGill Chamber Orchestra, the New Jersey Symphony and L’orchestre symphonique de Trois-Rivières as well as Bach Cantatas with Les Violons du Roy. In the winter of 2015, the Boston Early Music Festival’s recording of Charpentier’s La descente d’Orphée aux enfers, on which Mireille sings, won the 2015 Grammy for Best Opera Recording.

In 2013/2014 Mireille made several exciting role débuts at her home theatre, Theater Erfurt, as the title role in Rossini’s La Cenerentola, Olga in Eugene Onegin, Nerone inL’incoronazione di Poppea, and Fyodor in Boris Godunov.  She made a return engagement to Theater Basel as Zempoalla in Purcell’s The Indian Queen and appeared for the first time at the Opéra Théatre de Metz, both as Erika in Barber’s Vanessa (role début) and as Zempoalla in Purcell’s The Indian Queen. On the concert platform, Mireille sang Berio’sFolksongs with the Erfurt Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Samuel Baechli.

In 2012/2013, Mireille made her début at the Schwetzingen Festival in a new production of Purcell’s The Indian Queen conducted by Hervé Niquet. She also made a last minute début at Theater Basel in Idomeneo as Idamante, one of her signature roles. In Erfurt, she made her stage début in a new production of Carmen, her début as Sesto in Giulio Cesare in Egitto directed by Stephen Lawless, and sang the role of Margaret in the world premiere of the opera Die Frauen der Toten, composed by Alois Broeder, and nominated by Opernwelt in the category, ‘Best World Premiere, 2013.’ She also made her fifth recording with the Boston Early Music Festival, singing various roles in Charpentier’s La descente d’Orphée aux enfers and La couronne de fleurs, to be released in 2014.

In 2011/2012 Mireille made role débuts as Sesto in concert performances of La Clemenza di Tito, Fenena in Nabucco, and Zweite Dame in Die Zauberfloete, as well as singing the title role in Haensel und Gretel for Theater Erfurt.  She also sang in France as Idamante inIdomeneo for Opéra de Tours and as Dorilla in Scarlatti’s Il Tigrane for Opéra de Nice. She returned to the Edmonton Symphony for two programmes; Les nuits d’été conducted by Jean−Marie Zeitouni and Christmas pops with conductor Bob Bernhardt. Her season concluded with performances of Beethoven’s Mass in c minor with Yannick Nezet-Séguin at the Lanaudière Music Festival. 2011 saw the release of the Boston Early Music Festival’s recording of Venus and Adonis with Mireille in the role of Cupid.

In the 2010/2011 season, she made two important Mozart role débuts as Annio in La Clemenza di Tito with Toronto’s Opera Atelier and Idamante in Idomeneo with Theater Erfurt. She also made her début with the New Jersey Symphony in Mahler’s 3rd Symphony conducted by Jacques Lacombe. Other projects included Bach Cantatas with Les Violons du Roy  broadcast on CBC radio 2, Orlovsky in Die Fledermaus with Theater Erfurt, and Mahler’s 3rd Symphony with l’Orchestre Symphonique de Trois−Rivières.

In 2009/2010 she became a member of the ensemble at Theater Erfurt. Her roles with the company included Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro, the title role in L’Enfant et les Sorilègesand Ottone in Handel’s Agrippina. She returned to Montreal to sing the role of Dorothée in the Doucet−Barbe production of Cendrillon for Opéra de Montréal and sang Brahms’ Zwei Gesange Op.91 with pianist Francis Perron and violist Marcus Thompson at the Montreal Chamber Music Festival. She made débuts with the Malaysian Philharmonic in the title role in Carmen (in concert) conducted by Bernard Labadie and with the Calgary Symphony in Handel’s Messiah conducted by Ivars Taurins.

Her 2008/2009 season saw a busy mix of opera and concert work including Mahler’s 2ndSymphony with Jacques Lacombe and l’Orchèstre Symphonique de Trois−Rivières, a program of Vivaldi and Handel arias at TelAviv’s Blumental Festival with Jeanne Lamon and Les Violons du Roy, Haydn’s Stabat Mater with Bernard Labadie (broadcast on Espace Musique), Cupid in Venus and Adonis with the Boston Early Music Festival, The Messiah with Jean−Marie Zeitouni and the San Antonio and Houston Symphonies, Dorabella in Cosi fan Tutte with l’Atelier Lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal, Myrtale in Massenet’s Thais with Pacific Opera Victoria, the role of Messagiera in Monteverdi’sOrfeo, and the world premiere of a chamber work written for her by Canadian Michael Matthews, broadcast by the CBC.

In the 2007/2008 season she made important debuts with the André Turp Musical Society (Schubert recital) the Edmonton and Houston Symphony Orchestras(both for The Messiah) the Edmonton Opera (Carmen) and with Bernard Labadie and Les Violons du Roy in a Schubertiade recorded for broadcast on Radio Canada’s Espace Musique. As a member of the Atelier Lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal from 2006−2009 she performed various roles with the company including Flora in La Traviata,  Mallika in Lakmé (broadcast on National Public Radio), and Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly.  With the Atelier lyrique she has appeared as Concepcion in l’Heure Espagnole and Lisetta in Il Mondo della Luna.

She can be heard on disc with the Boston Early Music Festival as Junon in Actéon and on their recordings of Lully’s operas Thésée and Psyché, both nominated for a Grammy Award. In the field of contemporary music, she toured Wales and England (including appearances at the Buxton Festival) in Welsh−Canadian composer John Metcalf`s comic opera A Chair in Love, and she made her Linbury Theatre, Royal Opera House debut in Canadian Ana Sokolovic’s opera, The Midnight Court, with Toronto’s Queen of Puddings Music Theatre.

September 2019