Bouchard/March: Les Feluettes, April, 2017


Music, interviews, and reviews from the Montreal World Première

Les Feluettes is a new Canadian Opera, co-commissioned and co-produced by Pacific Opera Victoria & Opéra de Montréal. It premièred in Montreal in May 2016, and will be staged in Victoria April 20 to 30, 2017.

Below are musical excerpts from the opera, interviews with the librettist, composer, and others, and rave reviews from the world première production.



From an Orchestral/vocal workshop in Montreal in December 2015

A hot air balloon makes a spectacular arrival in the town of Roberval, Quebec. Meanwhile, the Baron de Hüe, a doctor, treats young Simon Doucet for wounds he has received in a severe beating by his father.

Timothy Vernon conducts l'Orchestre Métropolitain in this recording from the 2015 orchestral workshop.


Cherchons la direction des vents...
Although he is in love with another young man, Simon has become involved with Lydie-Anne de Rozier, the attractive pilot of a hot-air balloon. Here they sing of sailing away together in her balloon.

Timothy Vernon conducts l'Orchestre Métropolitain in this recording from the 2015 orchestral workshop.



Above, playwright and librettist Michel Marc Bouchard, baritone Étienne Dupuis (who plays Young Simon in the opera), and director Serge Denoncourt talk about the new opera Les Feluettes. The video was created by Opére de Montréal in early 2015, before the opera was completed.


Composer Kevin March is interviewed during an early workshop of the opera. He recalls being inspired by the film version of Les Feluettes: From the moment I saw the film, I wanted to do this as an opera. He talks about the process of composing this, his first full-length opera (he has previously composed three one-act chamber operas).

  • Interview with Composer Kevin March: Andrew Ford of Radio Australia's The Music Show interviews Kevin Mach just before the world première of Les Feluettes. Kevin talks about achieving this dream project and of the serendipity of two different opera companies, Opéra de Montréal and Pacific Opera Victoria, wanting to commission an opera based on Les Feluettes.

    About 14 years ago when I saw the film version of Lilies ... it struck me that ... I was hearing a libretto that hadn't yet been set to music, I was watching an opera for which the music had not yet been written.

    Listen on The Music Show website

  • CBC Interview with Michel Beaulac. Jeanette Kelly of CBC Montreal's Cinq à Six talks with Michel Beaulac, Artistic Director of Opéra de Montréal. He discusses the story, the process of creating the opera, the cast, and more. (May 7, 2016, in English).

    The text is so poignant, and ... the music brings it to such a high level that it's not a question of sexual orientation, it's a question of love and the impossibility of love and how many relationships between and women are impossible for a thousand reasons ...
    To have the privilege of initiating this project and having Pacific Opera Victoria join in ... it's going to be seen a mari usque ad mare, from sea to sea – Montreal and Victoria. It's a Quebec story, it's a Quebec playwright and ... all the singers are Canadian. I feel so privileged ... to present this ... it's a dream come true.

    Listen on CBC

  • Interview with Composer Kevin March and Director Serge Denoncourt by Kristine Berey of The Suburban

    [Denoncourt]: I absolutely fell in love with Kevin's music. I'm singing it all the time ... It is contemporary but absolutely gorgeous ... I am more than happy..
    Read more

  • Les Feluettes: Cross-dressing like a Boss: Catherine Doyle of Opera With Pearls interviews Countertenor Daniel Cabena, who plays Lydie-Anne de Rozier.

    I'm ... playing the role of ... a male prisoner who's playing a woman in a play-within-a-play. I think that that extra layer adds a fascinating dimension to the discussion of gender roles, while at the same time rendering it moot! It's really such a wonderful work, full of softness and power and love.
    Read more



  • New opera Les Feluettes works on many levels: Arthur Kaptainis, Special to Montreal Gazette.

    Les Feluettes ... is a rare case of a full-size and full-length contemporary opera that holds the stage while remaining artistically true to itself.... The all-Canadian cast ... could hardly have been better chosen ... There was not a moment in the unfolding of the central romantic story that seemed less than universal ...
    The Orchestre Métropolitain was upstage rather than in the pit, often with starry skies above ... Balance and pacing as overseen by Timothy Vernon (artistic director of Pacific Opera Victoria) ... were excellent.
    Read more.

  • La Scena Musicale, Kiersten van Vliet.

    Deception, obsession, betrayal, and murder – Bouchard's story has all of the trappings of a great opera.
    March's eclectic and cinematic score was as if ... Debussy and Britten met in Hollywood ... Les Feluettes hit on all of the right notes.
    Read more.

  • Les Feluettes in Montréal: New World opera triumphs: Patricia Maunder,

    New operas with sufficient force and good fortune to become fully staged productions by a company of note are rare beasts ... which makes Les Feluettes something precious indeed ... Les Feluettes may be rooted in Québec, but this powerful and darkly beautiful opera seems likely to flourish much further afield.
    Read more

  • Opera's movers and shakers keep it from museums: William Littler, Toronto Star

    The world première of Les Feluettes was the final event in the annual conference of Opera America, the service organization for North America's opera companies. William Littler reviews Les Feluettes and discusses how today's operatic movers and shakers are keeping opera relevant and meaningful.

    The title is Quebec slang for weak or effeminate men and, to the provincial society of early 20th-century Quebec, the young Simon Doucet and Count Vallier de Tilly certainly seemed to qualify.
    Their tragic tale as fellow students in a Catholic college, thwarted in their love by parental and church interference, has lost none of its poignancy in its operatic transformation, with Kevin March's score very much on the libretto's wavelength, by turns lyrical and dramatic, written in a musical language accessible to a wide audience. By no means surprisingly, its opening night performance received a standing ovation
    ...When a new opera such as Les Feluettes comes along, treating a socially relevant subject with understanding, compassion and skill, the supposedly conservative opera audience can be seen to respond enthusiastically.
    Read more

  • Composer Neil Weisensel

    The music ... grabbed the audience from the beginning ...
    What a wonderful thing it was to be absolutely swept away by a poignant love story, so beautifully created and performed .
    Read more

  • New gay opera harkens to 19th century greats: Vermont Times Argus.

    Styles range from contemporary atonal to plainsong, yet most of the harmonic language is reminiscent of Debussy, Ravel and even Copland. What makes it feel like Romantic opera are the beautifully lyrical vocal lines with the feel of 19th century French opera composers Gounod and Massenet. Still, what gave this opera its musical power was that these disparate styles were folded together into a cohesive whole.
    ... a beautiful and powerful opera experience.

  • Opéra – Ô aimé!: C'est tout naturellement que Les feluettes passent du théâtre à l'opéra. Christian Saint-Pierre, Le Devoir.

    Avec son romantisme consommé, sa théâtralité exacerbée et son abondance de ressorts tragiques, la pièce de Michel Marc Bouchard avait tout pour servir de trame à un opéra... l'opéra de Kevin March est une indéniable consécration.

    With its consummate romanticism, its heightened theatricality and its abundance of tragic impulse, the play by Michel Marc Bouchard had all the ingredients to be the basis of an opera. Kevin March's opera is an undeniable achievement.
    Read more (French)

  • L'opéra Les Feluettes: du wow à l'état pur: Marie-Andrée Brière, Boucle Magazine

    Le spectacle est un pur chef d'oeuvre proposant au public une histoire d'amour d'une vérité et d'une beauté à en couper le souffle ... Absolument magnifique..

    The show is a pure masterpiece, offering the public a love story of breathtaking truth and beauty ... Absolutely magnificent.
    Read more (French)

  • Les Feluettes à l'Opéra de Montréal: Du grand Art!: Gilles G. Lamontagne,

    L'adaptation, assez fidèle au texte de la pièce, est très réussie ... Et ainsi composée sur mesure, la musique de Kevin March soutient l'histoire du début à la fin, jusqu'à atteindre le sublime...
    Jean-Michel Richer se disait aux anges. Vallier, c'est vraiment un très beau cadeau pour moi ... car le rôle a été écrit musicalement pour ma voix ... C'est quelque chose dont tout chanteur lyrique rêve dans sa carrière. Et le résultat est là. Jean-Michel Richer livre une performance sans faille. Le rôle lui va comme un gant.

    The adaptation , quite faithful to the text of the play, is very successful ... And the music of Kevin March, tailor made, supports the story from beginning to end, until it achieves the sublime...
    Jean- Michel Richer said he was thrilled. Vallier is really a wonderful gift for me ... for the role was written musically for my voice ... This is something which every opera singer dreams in his career... Jean-Michel Richer delivers a flawless performance. The role fits him like a glove.

    Read more (French)

  • Opéra & Feluettes: un duo gagnant: Marie-Andrée Caron, La Fabrique Crépue

    J'étais assise sur le bout de ma chaise, et j'ai compris à quel point l'opéra servait, plus que jamais, à rendre ce drame romantique encore plus fort, encore plus violent, encore plus émouvant.

    I sat on the edge of my seat, and I understood how the opera served, more than ever, to make this romantic drama even stronger, more violent, more moving.
    Read more

  • Les Feluettes, émouvant et réussi: Nancie Boulay, Alternative Rock Press

    La musique était parfaitement adaptée aux émotions ressenties par les différents personnages. Certains passages des chansons étaient si accrocheurs que certains spectateurs ont quitté la Place des Arts en les fredonnant... À ne pas manquer!

    The music was perfectly suited to the emotions of the different characters. Some passages of the songs were so catchy that some spectators left the Place des Arts humming them.... Not to be missed!
    Read more (French)

  • Louis Bilodeau, L'Avant-Scène Opéra

    Encore plus que dans Brokeback Mountain de Charles Wuorinen monté à Madrid en 2014, l'Opéra de Montréal secoue les habitudes des spectateurs en présentant une oeuvre où les sentiments entre hommes s'expriment par des duos d'un grand lyrisme....

    Even more than in Brokeback Mountain, mounted by Charles Wuorinen in Madrid in 2014, l'Opéra de Montréal shakes up the habits of viewers by presenting a work where feelings between men are expressed through duets of great lyricism....
    Read more (French)

  • Les Feluettes – Quand le théâtre s'invite à l'opéra: Nathalie Lessard,

    L'ampleur d'un grand amour a été révélée... On est extrêmement touché par ce drame sensuel et passionnel. Un seul bémol : trop peu de représentations.

    The magnitude of a great love has been revealed ...We are extremely touched by this sensual and passionate drama. The only downside: too few performances.
    Read more (French)




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