Stephanie Blythe to Perform with Les Violons du Roy at Harris Theatre, 10/14-27
Mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe - coming off a starring role in Robert Lepage's production of the Ring Cycle at New York's Metropolitan Opera - heads to Chicago for her Harris Theater debut, performing alongside the award-winning French-Canadian ensemble Les Violons du Roy and Music Director Bernard Labadie, October 17 at 7:30 pm. Ms. Blythe and Les Violons du Roy stop in Chicago as part of their North American tour running October 14 - 27.
Known for her commanding stage presence, Ms. Blythe is considered one of the most in-demand classical opera stars performing today. Her expansive range has propelled her to international stardom, having appeared at opera houses around the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Seattle Opera and the Opera National de Paris. She was recently seen on PBS's "Live from Lincoln Center," where she was filmed during her performance of "Stephanie Blythe: We'll Meet Again - The Songs of Kate Smith" at Lincoln Center's American Songbook Series. This celebration of the life of the late Kate Smith has thrilled audiences and critics alike, with the New York Times declaring that "Ms. Blythe was in some ways an even better Kate Smith than Kate Smith."
Ms. Blythe will perform works by Haydn and Handel, accompanied by the 15-member Les Violons du Roy. Now entering its 30th anniversary season, the ensemble will make its third visit to the Harris Theater. The performance also features works by composers Telemann and Bach.
Stephanie Blythe, Mezzo-Soprano
Ms. Blythe has appeared with many of the world's finest orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Opera Orchestra of New York, Minnesota Orchestra, Halle Orchestra, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Ensemble Orchestre de Paris and the Concertgerbouworkest. She has also appeared at the Tanglewood, Cincinnati May and Ravinia Festivals, and at the BBC Proms.
A frequent recitalist, Ms. Blythe has been presented in recital in New York by Carnegie Hall (both in Stern Auditorium and Zankel Hall), Lincoln Center's Great Performers Series at Alice Tully Hall and its American Songbook Series at the Allen Room, Town Hall, the 92nd Street Y, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She has also been presented by the Vocal Arts Society and at the Supreme Court at the invitation of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in Washington, DC; the Cleveland Art Song Festival, the University Musical Society in Ann Arbor, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Shriver Hall in Baltimore, and San Francisco Performances.
A champion of American song, Ms. Blythe has premiered several song cycles written for her including Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson by the late James Legg, Covered Wagon Woman by Alan Smith which was commissioned by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and recorded with the ensemble (CMS Studio Recordings); and Vignettes: Ellis Island, also by Alan Smith and featured in a special television program entitled Vignettes: An Evening with Stephanie Blythe and Warren Jones.
Les Violons du Roy, Chamber Orchestra
Widely praised for the exceptional energy, brilliance and vitality of its performances, Canadian chamber orchestra Les Violons du Roy was created in 1984 by Music Director Bernard Labadie. The New York Times proclaimed "the strings positively blazed...the orchestra was superb." Les Violons du Roy, which borrows its name from the renowned string orchestra of the court of the French kings, has a core membership of 15 players and specializes in the vast repertoire of music for chamber orchestra, performed in the stylistic manner most appropriate to each era.
Although the ensemble plays on modern instruments, its approach to the works of the Baroque and Classical periods has been strongly influenced by current research into performance practice in the 17th and early 18th centuries; in this repertoire Les Violons du Roy uses copies of period bows. In recent seasons, under the leadership of first guest conductor Jean-Marie Zeitouni, the orchestra has begun to explore 19th and 20th century repertoire in more depth.
Les Violons du Roy has been in residence at Québec City's Palais Montcalm since 2007. The orchestra is well known throughout Canada thanks to the numerous concerts and recordings broadcast by Société Radio-Canada and CBC, and its regular presence at music festivals. Les Violons du Roy regularly performs at the world's finest venues with internationally-renowned soloists including Magdalena Koená, David Daniels and Vivica Genaux.
Les Violons du Roy has made 20 critically-acclaimed recordings; three were awarded "Classical Album of the Year" Juno awards and another received a 2008 Félix Award for classical album, orchestra and large ensemble.
Bernard Labadie, Music Director
Bernard Labadie has established himself worldwide as one of the leading conductors of the Baroque and Classical repertoire, a reputation that is closely tied with Les Violons du Roy and La Chapelle de Québec which he founded and continues to lead as Music Director to this day. With the two ensembles he regularly tours Canada, the US and Europe, in major venues and festivals such as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Kennedy Center, Barbican, Concertgebouw, and the Salzburg Festival, among others.
Passionate about opera, Labadie has also been Artistic Director of L'Opéra de Québec and L'Opéra de Montréal. He made his conducting debut with the Metropolitan Opera in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte in 2009, and has also guest conducted Handel's Orlando with Glimmerglass Opera, Mozart's Così fan tutte at the Mostly Mozart Festival, and Mozart's Lucio Silla with Santa Fe Opera, to name just a few.
Since his triumphant debut with the Minnesota Orchestra in 1999, Labadie has become a sought-after guest conductor with major North American orchestras, including the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the symphony orchestras of Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, St. Louis, Houston, Atlanta, Detroit, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.
Labadie's extensive discography includes many critically acclaimed recordings on the Dorian, ATMA and Virgin Classics labels, including Handel's Apollo e Dafne and his collaboration with Les Violons du Roy and La Chapelle de Québec of Mozart's Requiem, both winning Canada's Juno Award.
For his achievements, the Canadian government honored him with the appointment as "Officer of the Order of Canada" in 2005 and Quebec made him a "Chevalier de l'Ordre National du Québec" in 2006.
Photo by Kobie van Rensburg