Alain Coulombe, Bass

Alain Coulombe, Bass

Pacific Opera Victoria
Banquo in Macbeth

October, 2012


Alain Coulombe made his Pacific Opera Victoria debut in 2004 as Oroveso in Norma, returning in 2006 to perform Collatinus in The Rape of Lucretia (2006) and Sparafucile in Rigoletto. In November 2011 he created the role of Sergeant Gordon Flowerdew in POV's world première production of Mary's Wedding by Andrew MacDonald and Stephen Massicotte. He returns to POV in October 2012 for the role of Banquo in Verdi's Macbeth. .

Praised for “his deep stentorian bass voice” and “his powerful stage presence”, French Canadian bass Alain Coulombe is one of the most commanding and exciting singers of his generation. Admired for his musical and dramatic versatility, as well as for his unique basso profondo voice, Mr. Coulombe is a favorite of critics and public alike. His passion for the singer-actor's craft has won him numerous acclaims over the years, his sheer dedication to each one of his roles being his widely recognized trademark.

An alumnus of l'Opéra de Montréal, the Canadian Opera Company and the Tanglewood Music Center's Young Artists Programs, Alain was the recipient of several career grants for artistic excellence from l'Opéra de Montréal and the Canadian Opera Company's Boards of Directors, from the Vancouver Opera Judith Forst Foundation, as well as from the Canada Council for the Arts. Having completed his vocal training with Marlena Malas, Patricia Kern, Martin Isepp, Craig Rutenberg and the late Robert Savoie, he has worked with famous conductors such as Seiji Ozawa, Richard Bradshaw, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Hervé Niquet, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Jonathan Darlington, Helmut Rilling, Bernard Labadie, Paul Nader, Edoardo Muller and Richard Bonynge.

In addition to the role of Banquo in in Verdi's Macbeth with Pacific Opera Victoria, Mr. Coulombe's 2012 / 2013 season includes George Benton in Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking and le Comte des Grieux in Massenet's with l'Opéra de Montréal.

During the 2011/12 season, he took part in two World Premières: he was First World War hero Lieutenant Gordon Muriel Flowerdew, in Mary's Wedding, and he made his European opera debut personifying the legendary Clark Gable, in Robin de Raaff's second opera commission for the Netherlands Opera, Waiting for Miss Monroe. Mr.Coulombe was also Count Ceprano and the cover for the role of Sparafucile in Rigoletto (Canadian Opera Company), as well as Don Fernando in Fidelio (Edmonton Opera). On the concert stage, he was Marcel in Les Huguenots (Toronto Opera In Concert), guest soloist at l'Opéra de Montréal's Opera Gala, in Mozart's Requiem with l'Orchestre Symphonique de Québec, and with the National Orchestra of Spain in L'Enfance du Christ by Berlioz.

Mr.Coulombe's 2010/11 opera calendar included two productions of Aïda; he was the King of Egypt with the Canadian Opera Company and Ramfis with Calgary Opera. He was also Sparafucile in Rigoletto with Michigan Opera Theatre, Le Bailli in Werther with l'Opéra de Montréal, as well as the bass soloist in Verdi's Requiem with the Vancouver Symphony.

During the 2009-10 season, Mr.Coulombe sang Oroveso in Bellini's Norma with Vancouver Opera, Le Comte des Grieux in Massenet's Manon with Ottawa Opera Lyra, Il Commendatore in Mozart's Don Giovanni with l'Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal, Zuniga in Bizet's Carmen with the Canadian Opera Company and Manitoba Opera, as well as Montano in Verdi's Otello with the COC. On the concert stage, he performed at the Vancouver Opera's 50th Anniversary Gala, as the bass soloist in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with L'Orchestre Symphonique de l'Estuaire, as well as in Mozart's Requiem with the Pasadena Symphony, California.

In recent years, he was seen in the roles of Sarastro in The Magic Flute, Count Ilya Rostov in War and Peace, and The Priest in Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk (Canadian Opera Company), Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor (Cincinnati Opera, Opéra de Montréal), and Collatinus in The Rape of Lucretia (Opéra de Montréal, Pacific Opera Victoria) .  He was also Seneca in L'Incoronazione di Poppea (Cleveland Opera, Toronto Opera Atelier, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra), Lignière in the World Premiere of David DiChiera's Cyrano (Michigan Opera Theatre), Colline in La Bohème (Edmonton Opera, Opéra de Québec), Créon in Charpentier's Médée and Hidraot in Lully's Armide (Opera Atelier, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra).

On the concert stage, Mr. Coulombe was Tiresias in Oedipus Rex (Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal), Pater profundus in Mahler's Eighth Symphony (Brott Music Festival), Nourabad in Les pêcheurs de perles and Arkel in Pelléas et Mélisande (MusicFest Vancouver, Vancouver Opera), as well as Le Roi de Trèfles in L'amour des trois oranges (Toronto Opera In Concert).  He was also bass soloist in Christos Hatzis' Kyrie (CBC radio), Schubert's A Flat Mass (CBC radio, CBC orchestra, MusicFest Vancouver), Vivaldi's Dixit Dominus (National Ballet of Canada) and in Mozart's Requiem (Elora Festival, Orchestra London, Symphony Orchestras of Windsor, Thunder Bay, Victoria and Edmonton).

Mr. Coulombe appeared as Leporello alongside Dmitri Hvorostovsky's Don Giovanni in concert at the George Weston Recital Hall and was featured as Masetto in the Gemini winning Rhombus Media film Don Giovanni Unmasked, again starring Hvorostovsky. He also sang the role of Phinée in the live DVD production of Lully's Persée under EuroArts with Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Opera Atelier.

His recording credits include Ravel's L'enfant et les sortilèges with the Prague Symphony Orchestra for Le Théâtre Sans Fil, Harry Somers' Serinette, Chura Churam and The Death of Enkidu for Centrediscs Records, the World Premiere of David DiChiera's Cyrano for Michigan Opera Theatre, the soundtrack of Rhombus Media's movie Don Giovanni Unmasked under CBC Records, as well as numerous live radio broadcasts of opera performances and concerts across North America.

Alain Coulombe is flawless and disturbing as Sparafucile. His massively deep bass voice probes the theatre like the growl of a lion.
Grania Litwin, Times Colonist, 2006

a voice most Wotans would envy
Robert Markow, Opera News, 2003

September, 2012

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