Orchestre classique de Montréal presents

Handel’s Messiah

Join the OCM for this beloved annual holiday tradition as they fill the basilica of Saint-Joseph’s Oratory with the comfort and joy of Handel’s richly expressive oratorio. Conductors Boris Brott and Xavier Brossard-Ménard lead a wonderful quartet of soloists: soprano Jacqueline Woodley, mezzo-soprano Marie-Andrée Mathieu, tenor Antoine Bélanger, bass-baritone Neil Craighead, and the vocal ensemble Les Rugissants in this timeless masterpiece of love and hope. The performance is available in-person or via web broadcast.

At the start of this concert, the OCM honours Suzanne Fortier, McGill University’s Principal and Vice-chancellor.

Jacqueline Woodley, soprano

Canadian soprano Jacqueline Woodley has been praised for her fearless versatility, changing styles fluidly from early music to contemporary, from opera to art song. Her recent seasons have included Papagena (Die Zauberflöte), Cherubino (Marriage of Figaro) and The Forest Bird (Siegfried) for the Canadian Opera Company, Messiah with the Grand Philharmonic Choir and Symphony Nova Scotia, and Tina in Pacific Opera Victoria’s Flight.

Other highlights include her Montreal Symphony debut under Kent Nagano, the role of Adele (Die Fledermaus) for Edmonton Opera, and Handel’s Messiah for groups such as the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Aradia Ensemble, and in a staged version for Against the Grain Theatre. Upcoming engagements include the works of Lehar, Bach, Mendelssohn, and Brahms with orchestras and opera companies of Tampa, Calgary, Montreal, and Trois-Rivières, as well as recording projects with Québecois composer Lionel Daunais, and Iranian-Canadian composer Parisa Sabet.

Marie-Andrée Mathieu, mezzo-soprano

Quebec mezzo-soprano Marie-Andrée Mathieu is appreciated for her agile voice and for her great musical expressiveness. Named “Jeune espoir lyrique québécois” by Young Lyrical Ambassadors, Marie-Andrée Mathieu was recently invited to sing in Germany, China, Slovakia and Italy. She is also a finalist in the International Marmande Competition and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra Competition.

Among her engagements as guest soloist are Beethoven’s Mass in C major with the Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra, Bach’s Saint John Passion with the Orchestre Classique de Montréal and Bach’s Mass in B minor with Arion Baroque Orchestra. In recitals, she has been heard at the 40th Festival de Lanaudière, at the Sainte-Pétronille for chamber music and at Les Concerts Couperin, among others. In the coming months, she will be Isolier in Le Comte Ory by Rossini for Tempêtes & Passions and Billie in Marie-Pierre Brasset’sopera La Piñata, with Erreur de Type 27. She will also be soloist in Mahler’s 2nd symphony for the Trois-Rivières Symphony Orchestra.

Antoine Bélanger, tenor

Tenor Antoine Bélanger is one of the most prominent lyrical tenors in Canada. He has already sung an impressive number of roles with most Canadian opera companies and has already performed repeatedly in Europe and the United States. His favorite repertoire is French and Italian romantic operas, including Faust, Carmen, Werther, La Traviata, La Bohème and Madama Butterfly. A versatile artist, he has also participated in numerous recitals and opera galas with a number of orchestras across the country. His notorious taste for religious music and oratorios led him to perform several works from this great repertoire, including Mozart’s Requiem, Verdi’s Requiem, Bruckner’s Te Deum, Puccini’s Puccini’s Messa di Gloria, Handel’s Messiah, and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

By the richness of his timbre, the refinement of  his interpretations, the precision of his diction and the authenticity of his stage performance, Antoine Bélanger stands out as a leading artist among the singers of his generation.

Neil Craighead, bass-baritone

Neil Craighead’s burgeoning career has taken him from Vancouver to Newfoundland, featured in operas by Somers, Verdi and Puccini. Most recently, he was heard in Messiah with the Vancouver Bach Choir and as Minskman in Dove’s Flight for Pacific Opera Victoria. Though plans for the current season have been curtailed, he looks forward to such works as Messiah and Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis as well as a return to the opera stage. Past highlights include Der Sprecher in Die Zauberflöte (Opéra de Québec), Colline in La bohême (Vancouver Opera), Scarpia in Tosca (Opera on the Avalon), and appearances with Canadian Opera Company, Vancouver Opera, Tapestry and Against the Grain Theatre.

Vocal ensemble Les Rugissants

Boris Brott and Xavier Brossard-Ménard, conductors

Live at Saint Joseph’s Oratory
December 7, 2021 at 7:30pm
Online viewing
December 7, 2021 at 7:30pm until December 21, 2021

To purchase to tickets to the Saint Joseph’s Oratory performance or the concert webcast visit: www.orchestre.ca

Saint Joseph’s Oratory (Basilica)
3800 Queen Mary Road, Montreal H3V 1H6
Côte-des-Neiges, Access A (West)
Free Parking for the Evening with Free Shuttle Bus