Acclaimed for her luminous voice, refined musicianship and remarkable stage presence, Québec soprano Hélène Guilmette has been leading a spectacular international career since she won Second Prize at the prestigious Queen Elisabeth Competition of Belgium in 2004. She is equally at ease in a vast range of repertoire from baroque (Rameau and Haendel) to classical (Glück and Mozart) and french (Gounod, Massenet, Poulenc).
Over the years, she has been heard in the roles of Sister Constance (Dialogues des Carmélites/ Poulenc) at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, in Nice and at the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto; besides taking on the role of Blanche de la Force in Lyon; Pamina (Magic Flute/ Mozart) in Brussels; Susanna (The Marriage of Figaro/ Mozart) in Lille, Montréal, Montpellier and at the Paris Théâtre des Champs-Élysées; Sophie (Werther/ Massenet) at La Monnaie in Brussels, Strasbourg, Lille and at the Paris Opera; Thérèse (Les Mamelles de Tirésias/ Poulenc) in Lyon, at the Paris Opéra Comique and in concert with the BBC Symphony; Princess Laoula (L’Étoile/Chabrier) at the Dutch National Opera in Amsterdam ; Mélisande (Pelléas et Mélisande/ Debussy) in Lyon and in concert with Orchestre symphonique de Montréal; Oriane (Amadis de Gaule/ J.C. Bach) at the Royal Opera of Versailles and at the Opéra Comique in Paris; Eurydice (Orphée et Eurydice/ Glück) in Angers-Nantes and at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino; Hébé, Phani and Fatime (Les Indes Galantes/ Rameau) and Télaïre (Castor et Pollux/ Rameau) in Toulouse; Valencienne (The Merry Widow/ Lehár) at the Opéra Comique de Paris; Pedro (Don Quichotte/ Massenet) in Tokyo’s New National Theater and Avignon; Frasquita (Carmen/ Bizet) at Festival Les Chorégies d’Orange in France and in Avignon; Servilia (La Clemenza di Tito/ Mozart) in Montréal; Mélisande (Ariane et Barbe-bleue/ Dukas) and Amour (Orphée et Eurydice/ Glück) at the Paris Opera.
Ms. Guilmette also sang in recital and in concert at the Palais des Beaux-Arts and Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Teatro Colòn in Buenos Aires, the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and the Bastille Opera Amphitheater in Paris, the Schwarzenberg’s Schubertiade, the Istanbul Festival, the Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome, the London Barbican Center, Sydney’s City Recital Hall, the Roy Thompson Hall in Toronto, and the Carnegie Hall in New York in works including Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater with Andreas Scholl, Poulenc’s Gloria and Stabat Mater, Mozart’s Requiem and Mass in C minor, Haendel’s Messiah and Dixit Dominus, Haydn’s Creation and Stabat Mater, Mahler’s Symphony No. 4, and Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas (Belinda).
She has sung under the direction of well-known conductors such as Alain Altinoglu, Sylvain Cambreling, Marcus Creed, Paul Daniel, Ottavio Dantone, Stéphane Denève, Richard Egarr, Sir Mark Elder, Patrick Fournillier, Paul Goodwin, Emmanuelle Haïm, Sigiswald Kuijken, Bernard Labadie, Jacques Lacombe Ludovic Morlot, Kent Nagano, Kazushi Ono, Michel Plasson, Christophe Rousset, Masaaki Suzuki, and Marcello Viotti, and has collaborated with several renowned stage directors such as Robert Carsen, Mariame Clément, Christophe Honoré, Benoît Jacquot, Guy Joosten, Macha Makeïeff, Piero Faggioni, Laurent Pelly, Laura Scozzi, Jean-François Sivadier and Dmitry Tcherniakov.
Among her projects, let’s mention roles in Chabrier’s L’Étoile (Princess Laoula) at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London, Béatrice et Bénédict (Héro) at the Glyndebourne Festival, Don Giovanni (Zerlina) at the Opéra de Montréal, La Bohème (Musetta) at the Opéra de Québec, Le Timbre d’argent (Hélène) in Paris Opéra Comique, Lully’s Persée (Andromède) in Metz, the Royal Opera in Versailles and at Paris Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, and also in concert with Seattle Symphony (Mozart’s Requiem), with Orchestre symphonique de Montréal (Mozart and russian repertoire), and with Orchestre de chambre de Paris at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées (Mozart and Stravinsky solo recital).
Her discography includes: L’heure rose, French songs by women composers with Canadian pianist Martin Dubé, and Les amants trahis (Rameau’s cantatas) with Philippe Sly, both on Analekta Label; Poulenc : The Complete Songs on ATMA; Il Duello Amoroso (Haendel) alongside Andreas Scholl and the Accademia Bizantina; Dixit Dominus / Ode for the Anniversary of Queen Anne (Haendel) with the Akademie Für Alte Musik Berlin on Harmonia Mundi; and Airs chantés, French songs by Poulenc, Hahn and Daunais on Ambroisie Label with French pianist Delphine Bardin. She can also be seen on DVD in Dmitri Tcherniakov’s Munich production of Dialogues des Carmélites (Sister Constance) by Poulenc on Bel-Air direct. To come: Fauré’s Complete Songs on ATMA label and L’Aiglon (Thérèse) by Honegger-Ibert with Orchestre symphonique de Montréal and Kent Nagano on Decca.
Holding a degree in musical education and piano from Laval University in Québec, Guilmette did her vocal training with Marlena Malas in New York. She was awarded grants from Canada Council for the Arts, Conseil des Arts et des lettres du Québec and the Jacquelines Desmarais Foundation.