Performance Sunday, March 25, 2012 | 2 PM

Les Violons du Roy

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
When Bernard Labadie, Les Violons du Roy, and La Chapelle de Québec settled into Carnegie Hall from la belle province to perform the Messiah and Bach’s Christmas Oratorio in December 2009, James Oestreich of The New York Times praised their performances as “endlessly satisfying” and declared their version of Handel’s masterwork to be “the best I’ve heard in years.” They’re back this season with a host of soloists, this time performing Bach’s St. John Passion.


  • Les Violons du Roy
  • La Chapelle de Québec
    Bernard Labadie, Music Director and Conductor
  • Ian Bostridge, Tenor
  • Neal Davies, Bass-Baritone
  • Karina Gauvin, Soprano
  • Damien Guillon, Countertenor
  • Nicholas Phan, Tenor
  • Hanno Müller-Brachmann, Bass-Baritone


  • BACH St. John Passion, BWV 245


  • Les Violons du Roy

    The chamber orchestra Les Violons du Roy borrows its name from the renowned string orchestra of the court of the French kings. The group, which has a core membership of 15 players, was brought together in 1984 by Music Director Bernard Labadie and specializes in the vast repertoire of music for chamber orchestra. 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 practices of the 17th and 18th centuries; in this repertoire, Les Violons du Roy uses copies of period bows.

    Les Violons du Roy is at the heart of the music scene in Quebec City, where it has been in residence at the Palais Montcalm since 2007. It first performed in Europe in 1988 and has since given dozens of concerts in France, Germany, England, Spain, and the Netherlands, with internationally renowned soloists, including Magdalena Kožená, David Daniels, and Vivica Genaux. The orchestra has twice been asked to perform at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.

    Since its first performance in Washington, DC, in 1995, Les Violons du Roy has extended its performance network in the United States and now makes regular stops in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

    Les Violons du Roy has made 22 recordings. Two have won Juno Awards (Handel's Apollo e Dafne in 2000 and Mozart's Requiem in 2002). Its other recordings include Water Music, Piazzolla, cantata arias by Handel and Hasse with Vivica Genaux, C. P. E. Bach's cello concertos with Truls Mørk, Bach's keyboard concertos with Alexandre Tharaud, and a disc with contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux.

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  • La Chapelle de Québec

    La Chapelle de Québec, founded by Bernard Labadie in 1985, is a chamber choir of professional singers recruited mainly in Quebec City, but also throughout Quebec and Canada. It assembles for two or three concerts each season to join Les Violons du Roy in major works from the repertory for choir and orchestra, especially from the 18th century. Its performances of cantatas, oratorios, and masses by Bach, Handel, Mozart, and Haydn have been acclaimed throughout Canada and the United States, in particular thanks to many broadcasts by Radio-Canada, the CBC, and NPR in the United States.

    La Chapelle de Québec has performed regularly on tour with Les Violons du Roy, in particular in Handel's Messiah and Bach's St. Matthew Passion in Toronto, in an all-Vivaldi program in France, and in Mozart's Requiem in Toronto and the United States. The choir is often asked to appear with Bernard Labadie in the concerts he conducts with US orchestras, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, with which it performed Handel's Messiah in 2004 and Bach's Magnificat in 2006.

    La Chapelle de Québec won a Juno Award for its recording of Mozart's Requiem, released in 2002.

    Bernard Labadie

    Recognized internationally for his expertise in 17th- and 18th-century repertoire, Bernard Labadie is the founder of Les Violons du Roy and La Chapelle de Québec. For more than 27 years, he has led the two chamber ensembles during the regular season in Quebec City and Montreal, on tour through North America and Europe, and on more than 15 recordings.

    Highly sought after as a guest conductor, Mr. Labadie regularly appears with some of North America's most prestigious orchestras in cities such as Chicago, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Cleveland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Houston, and Toronto. In 2009, he made his Metropolitan Opera debut with Mozart's Die Zauberflöte.

    In Europe, he has taken to the podium with Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, and conducted at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona. He is also a regular guest with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra.

    Period instrument orchestras are calling upon Mr. Labadie with increasing frequency, as well. He will be a returning guest with the Academy of Ancient Music in coming seasons and has been hailed for his appearances with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, The English Concert, and Collegium Vocale Gent.

    As a leading ambassador for music in his native city of Quebec, Mr. Labadie was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2005 and a Knight of the Ordre national du Québec in 2006. In 2008, he received The Banff Centre's National Arts Award for his contribution to the development of the arts in Canada, as well as an honorary doctorate from Université Laval.

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  • Ian Bostridge

    Ian Bostridge was a post-doctoral fellow in history at Corpus Christi College Oxford before embarking on a full-time career as a singer. His international recital appearances include the Salzburg, Edinburgh, Munich, Vienna, Aldeburgh, and Schubertiade Schwarzenberg festivals. During the 2003-2004 season, he held artistic residencies at the Vienna Konzerthaus and Schubertiade Schwarzenberg; in 2004-2005, he shared a Carte Blanche series with Thomas Quasthoff at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw. In 2005-2006, Mr. Bostridge had his own Perspectives series at Carnegie Hall, followed by similar series in 2008 at the Barbican Centre in London, in 2010 at the Philharmonie Luxembourg, and in 2011 at Wigmore Hall.

    Mr. Bostridge made his operatic debut as Lysander in Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream with Opera Australia at the Edinburgh Festival. He made his debut at the English National Opera as Tamino in DieZauberflöte and later returned as Jupiter in Semele. He sang Quint in Deborah Warner's award-winning production of Britten's The Turn of the Screw for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and has since returned for Caliban in Adès's The Tempest, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni under Antonio Pappano, and Vašek in The Bartered Bride under Bernard Haitink. For the Bayerische Staatsoper, Mr. Bostridge performed as Nerone (L'incoronazione di Poppea), Tom Rakewell (The Rake's Progress), and Male Chorus (The Rape of Lucretia). He sang Don Ottavio at the Vienna State Opera and his
    first Aschenbach in a new production of Death in Venice for English National Opera, also seen in Brussels and Luxembourg.

    Mr. Bostridge's concert engagements include performances with the Berliner Philharmoniker, Vienna, London, New York, and Los Angeles philharmonics; Chicago, Boston, London, and BBC symphony orchestras; Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra; and Royal Concertgebouw, under conductors Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Colin Davis, Sir Andrew Davis, Seiji Ozawa, Riccardo Muti, Mstislav Rostropovich, Daniel Barenboim, Daniel Harding, and Donald Runnicles. In January 2010, he sang the world premiere of Henze's Opfergang with the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia under Antonio Pappano.

    In 2001, Mr. Bostridge was elected an honorary fellow of Corpus Christi College Oxford. In 2003, he was made an honorary doctor of music by the University of St. Andrew's and an honorary fellow of St. John's College Oxford in 2010. He was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2004 New Year's Honors.

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  • Neal Davies

    Neal Davies studied at King's College London and the Royal Academy of Music, and won the Lieder Prize at the 1991 Cardiff Singer of the World competition. He has appeared with the Oslo Philharmonic under Mariss Jansons, the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Pierre Boulez, The Cleveland Orchestra and Philharmonia Orchestra under Christoph von Dohnányi, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe under Nikolaus Harnoncourt, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment under Frans Brüggen, the Gabrieli Consort and Players under Paul McCreesh, The Hallé Orchestra under Sir Mark Elder, Concerto Köln under Ivor Bolton, and the London Symphony and Vienna Philharmonic orchestras under Daniel Harding. He has also been a regular guest of the Edinburgh Festival and the BBC Proms.

    Mr. Davies extensive discography includes Messiah, Theodora, Saul, and Die Schöpfung (Gramophone Award, 2008) under Mr. McCreesh, Jenůfa and The Makropulos Case under Sir Charles Mackerras, Barber's Vanessa under Leonard Slatkin, Messiah under René Jacobs, Beethoven's Ninth under Osmo Vänskä, Billy Budd with Daniel Harding (Grammy Award, 2010), and the Hyperion Complete Schubert Edition with Graham Johnson.

    Mr. Davies's operatic appearances have included Giulio Cesare and Le nozze di Figaro for the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; L'Allegro, Jephtha, La clemenza di Tito, Xerxes, and The Makropulos Case for the English National Opera; Radamisto for Opéra de Marseille; Theodora with Les Arts Florissants and William Christie; Orlando with the Gabrieli Consort and Players; Don Giovanni for the Scottish Opera and the Opéra de Montréal; Britten's Curlew River for the Edinburgh Festival; Così fan tutte, Die Zauberflöte, L'elisir d'amore, and Madama Butterfly for the Welsh National Opera; and Agrippina for Die Staatsoper Unter den Linden. He made his debut with the Lyric Opera of Chicago in The Pirates of Penzance and returned in The Mikado with Sir Andrew Davis.

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  • Karina Gauvin

    Canada's superstar soprano Karina Gauvin has impressed audiences and critics the world over with her luscious timbre, profound musicality, and wide vocal range. She has sung with many major orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, and Toronto Symphony Orchestra, as well as with period-instrument groups such as Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Musica Antiqua Köln, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, and Accademia Bizantina. On the operatic or concert stage, she has performed with a wide variety of conductors, including Charles Dutoit, Kent Nagano, Sir Roger Norrington, Christopher Hogwood, Alan Curtis, Helmuth Rilling, Bernard Labadie, and Christophe Rousset.

    Among Ms. Gauvin's many career highlights are Mozart's Requiemand Bach's Magnificat with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Handel's Messiah with the New York Philharmonic, and her Carnegie Hall debut in Bach's B-Minor Mass. She has appeared in Handel's Hercules with Akademie für alte Musik Berlin, Gluck's Orphéeet Euridice with Les Violons du Roy, and Handel's Alcina with the Gabrieli Consort and Players. On New Year's Day 2006, Ms. Gauvin's performance in Mahler's Symphony No. 2 with the WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln was broadcast on Eurovision throughout Europe.

    A prolific recording artist with more than 20 releases to her credit, Ms. Gauvin has been nominated for both Juno and Grammy awards. She won Juno Awards for recordings of Handel's Apollo e Dafne and Mozart's Requiem with Les Violons du Roy. Her collection of French art songs with pianist Marc-André Hamelin, titled Fête galante, received an Opus Award and was selected as Chamber Music America's Recording of the Year. She also completed several well-received recordings of Handel's operas TolomeoAlcina, and Ezio with Il Complesso Barocco. Her most recent solo album consists of arias from Nicola Porpora's operas.

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  • Damien Guillon

    Damien Guillon began his musical studies in 1989 at the choir school Maîtrise de Bretagne. He received a thorough musical grounding there and soon started appearing as a soprano soloist in numerous Baroque oratorios as well as Mozart's Die Zauberflöte at Opéra de Rennes. From 1998 to 2001, he continued to hone his vocal technique and explore early music interpretation at the Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles choir school. In 2004, he entered Schola Cantorum Basiliensis as a student of countertenor Andreas Scholl.

    Mr. Guillon's vocal and musical abilities brought him invitations to perform under the direction of such renowned conductors as Vincent Dumestre, Hervé Niquet, Jérôme Correas, Philippe Pierlot, Jean-Claude Malgoire, Christophe Rousset, Philippe Herreweghe, and William Christie. His broad repertoire extends from songs of the English Renaissance to the great Baroque oratorios and operas, including Bach's St. John Passion, B-Minor Mass, Missae breves, Christmas Oratorio, and cantatas for solo countertenor; Handel's Messiah; and Purcell's King Arthur and Dido and Aeneas. He has appeared at Festival d'Ambronay in Handel's Athalia under Paul McCreesh, Opéra de Nice in Handel's Teseo, Brussels's Théâtre de la Monnaie in Monteverdi's Il ritorno d'Ulisse, and, more recently, in Landi's Il Sant'Alessio with Les Arts Florissants, and Handel's Giulio Cesare at Théâtre de Caen.

    During the 2009-2010 season, Mr. Guillon performed Bach's St. Matthew Passion with Collegium Vocale Gent under the direction of Philippe Herreweghe; in Handel's Rinaldo with Masaaki Suzuki in Tokyo and at the Edinburgh Festival; in motets by Hasse and Zelenka with Collegium Marianum at the Festival de Sablé and in Prague; in Bach's B-Minor Mass with Jordi Savall; and in Pergolesi's Stabat Mater with Le Cercle de l'Harmonie as part of Printemps des Arts de Nantes festival.

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  • Nicholas Phan

    This season, American tenor Nicholas Phan sings Luricano in Ariodante on tour with Alan Curtis and his acclaimed orchestra, Il Complesso Barocco. He also appears with the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic (Hollywood Bowl), Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, and St. Louis Symphony, in addition to both Orchestra of St. Luke's and Les Violons du Roy at Carnegie Hall and in recital in the prestigious Philadelphia Chamber Music Society series. He recently toured with Il Complesso Barocco and made debuts at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, the Festival de Saint-Denis, and the English Chamber Orchestra.

    Mr. Phan has appeared with leading orchestras in the US, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, The Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and Music of the Baroque. He has also appeared with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and in various concerts at the Edinburgh, Ravinia, Rheingau, Bard, and Marlboro music festivals. One of the rising young stars of the opera world, Mr. Phan recently made debuts at the Glyndebourne Opera and the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf, and has also appeared with the New York City Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Portland Opera, Chicago Opera Theater, Opéra de Lille, and Oper Frankfurt. A graduate of the Houston Grand Opera Studio and the University of Michigan, Mr. Phan's first solo album, Winter Words: Songs by Britten, was released in fall 2011 by AVIE.

    A graduate of the University of Michigan, Mr. Phan also studied at the Manhattan School of Music and the Aspen Music Festival and School, and is an alumnus of the Houston Grand Opera Studio and the Glimmerglass Opera Young American Artists Program. He was the recipient of a 2006 Sullivan Foundation Award and 2004 Richard F. Gold Career Grant from the Shoshana Foundation.

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  • Hanno Müller-Brachmann

    Hanno Müller-Brachmann began his musical training in Basel and in Freiburg. He attended Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau's Lied classes in Berlin and he continues to study with Rudolf Piernay.

    Mr. Müller-Brachmann has sung with many of the world's leading orchestras and conductors, performing Bach's St. Matthew Passion with the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Kurt Masur; Bach's St. John Passion with the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra under Sir John Eliot Gardiner and with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra under Herbert Blomstedt; Berlioz's Roméo et Juliette with the Staatskapelle Berlin under Fabio Luisi; Schubert's Alfonso und Estrella with the Berliner Philharmoniker under Nikolaus Harnoncourt; Beethoven's Ninth with the Philharmonia Orchestra under Christoph von Dohnányi and with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra under Riccardo Chailly; Britten's War Requiem with the European Union Youth Orchestra under Vladimir Ashkenazy and with the Orchestre national de France under Mr. Masur; Schoenberg's A Survivor from Warsaw with the SWR Sinfonieorchester under Michael Gielen; Mahler's Kindertotenlieder with the Sinfonieorchester Basel under Heinz Holliger; Mahler's Des Knaben Wunderhorn with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France under Myung-Whun Chung; and Bach's Christmas Oratorio with the Staatskapelle Dresden under Christian Thielemann. He made his Carnegie Hall debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Daniel Barenboim and has sung at the festivals of Granada, Dresden, Salzburg, and Lucerne, as well as Vienna's KlangBogen, Tanglewood, and the BBC Proms. 

    Mr. Müller-Brachmann made his operatic debut in 1996 in Telemann's Orpheus under René Jacobs at the Staatsoper Berlin, where he has been a member of the ensemble from 1998 and where he sang the great Mozart roles of Leporello, Figaro, Guglielmo, and Papageno, as well as his first Wotan under Mr. Barenboim. His other appearances in the house include performances of Parsifal, DerFreischütz, Elektra, The Queen of Spades, and Pelléas et Mélisande.

    Mr. Müller-Brachmann has appeared in various radio and television productions and has recorded Schubert and Schumann recital discs. His recordings also include Die Zauberflöte conducted by Claudio Abbado, which won a Gramophone Award, and most recently, the St. Matthew Passion with Riccardo Chailly and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra.

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Bach St. John Passion, BWV 245 / Part One - No.9 Aria, "Ich folge dir gleichfalls"
English Baroque Soloists; John Eliot Gardiner, Conductor; Ruth Holton, Soprano
Deutsche Grammophon

At a Glance

Composed for Good Friday services in 1724, Bach’s St. John Passion was his first large-scale choral work for the churches in Leipzig. Its text draws from the Gospel of Saint John, Lutheran hymns, and free poetry. Powered by strikingly dramatic moments, it is often described as darker and more fiery than its famous brother, the later St. Matthew Passion.
Program Notes



On a previous visit to Carnegie Hall, Les Violons du Roy and La Chapelle de Québec performed Bach's Christmas Oratorio. Interviewed before that December 2009 concert, Bernard Labadie explained that while Bach wrote for people, he truly wrote for God. He saw it as his duty to maximize his God-given talent "to create new worlds."

This concert and the Choral Classics series are made possible, in part, by an endowment fund for choral music established by S. Donald Sussman in memory of Judith Arron and Robert Shaw.
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The Carnegie Hall Live broadcast series is sponsored by Duff & Phelps.

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