François Barbeau

François Barbeau

Pacific Opera Victoria
Costume Designer, Les Feluettes

April, 2017

François Barbeau, CM (July 27, 1935 - January 28, 2016), has been called the pioneer of costume design in Canada. During a 50-year career, he worked on some 700 productions in theatre, opera, film, ballet, television and circus.

As a professor at the National Theatre School and the University of Quebec at Montreal he nurtured generations of theatre artists. He designed for every major theatre company in Montreal, the Stratford Festival, Theatre New Brunswick, National Arts Centre, and internationally for the Comédie-Française, Théâtre National de Strasbourg, and others. He worked with Robert Lepage on European productions of La Célestina and The Rake's Progress.

His designs for film include Kamouraska, Atlantic City, Léolo, New France, and Laurence Anyways.


 

Apart from the bishop's liturgical robes and Vallier's brief appearance in a swathe of scarlet, drab grey prison garb was all that the trio of costume designers had to work with, but the results impressed. Inmates were differentiated by details such as T-shirts, hats and shorter pants, while the two female characters' draped skirts and fancy hats pointed to their improvisation with uniforms, blankets and any other materials to hand (interestingly the female fashions are from at least a decade prior to 1912, perhaps a nod to mid-20th century male prisoners' tenuous grasp of the subject).
Patricia Maunder, Bachtrack, Review of Les Feluettes, Opéra de Montréal, 2016


 

April, 2017