Recognized as one of Canada’s greatest voices, soprano Lyne Fortin is distinguished by her impeccable vocal and stage technique as well as her virtuosity, which allows her to carry off vocal acrobatics with disconcerting ease. Known for the accuracy of her interpretations and her great versatility, she stands out through her refinement in the Mozart repertoire, her vocal power and her deep sensitivity in Verdi and Puccini, and the excellence of her performances, whatever the style.
The prestige singer has earned numerous awards and distinctions in the course of her career. She won the Pavarotti International Vocal Competition, a special prize at the CBC National Competition for Young Performers, the Pauline Donalda Award, the Jean Lallemand Special Award for Interpretation in the OSM Competition, First Prize and Grand Prize in the CIBC National Competitive Festival of Music, a prize at the Concours de musique du Québec, and a commemorative medal celebrating the 125th anniversary of Canadian Confederation. She has been the recipient of grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and Québec’s Department of Cultural Affairs, and the Raoul Jobin Award from the Opéra de Québec. In addition, her alma mater, Université Laval, has honored her with two medals: the Raymond Blais medal to celebrate her immense success and her extraordinary achievements, and the Gloire de l’Escolle medal for her remarkable contribution to her profession and to society.
Lyne Fortin has been heard on the airways on numerous occasions; these include her participation in the Canadian premiere of the Liverpool Oratorio – Paul McCartney’s first foray into the world of classical music – on CBC television. Composed in collaboration with Carl Davis to mark the 150th anniversary of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, the work attracted worldwide attention when it premiered in 1991. Ms. Fortin participated in it once again in a production at the Prague Spring International Music Festival, this time with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra itself. Lyne Fortin has additionally sung in numerous radio concerts on Radio-Canada, the most noteworthy being those that presented Mozart’s Mass in C minor, Lully’s Amadis and Chausson’s Poèmes de l’amour et de la mer.
Her recordings can be identified by their remarkable quality in every respect. Listeners will happily discover the singer’s rock-solid dramatic sense, along with the originality and good taste that are inevitably signs of her performances. She has recorded a Christmas album entitled simply Noël with the Orchestre symphonique de Québec on the Analekta label, for which she was honored with a Félix award at the ADISQ Gala. Her most recent disc, Gardens of Spain, released on Analekta last October, offers a program that consists of popular old songs dressed up in the shades of Nin, Delibes, Bizet and Obradors, as well as odes to the beauty of young girls by Richard Strauss, whom the composer compares to their floral equivalents. A splendid voice and a finely shaded presentation of feeling characterize the great soprano arias of Mozart, which she has also recorded, in this case with the Orchestre Métropolitain. The recital album Lyne Fortin Live, meanwhile, contains magnificent works by Schubert, Wolf, Berg, Ravel, Duparc and Satie. Finally, we should not overlook the album Les Grands duos d’amour de l’opéra français that Ms. Fortin recorded on CBC Records with tenor Richard Margison.
On stage in Europe she has performed with the Opéra flamand in the role of Madame de Tourvel for the world premiere of the opera by Piet Swerts based on Choderlos de Laclos’s Les Liaisons dangereuses, and in the roles of Ginevra in Handel’s Ariodante, Electra in Idomeneo and Madame Lidoine in the Dialogues des Carmélites. And she has toured with Les Violons du Roy. In the United States she has performed the role of Leïla in Les Pêcheurs de perles with the Baltimore Opera as well as that of Adina in L’Elisir d’amore with the Seattle and Connecticut operas, Thaïs with the Kentucky Opera, Juliette with Opera Pacific, the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro with the Arizona Opera, the roles of Fiordiligi and Antonia in Così fan tutte with Michigan Opera Theatre, Violetta in La Traviata with the symphony orchestras of San Antonio and Akron, and Micaëla with the New Jersey and Portland operas.
In Canada she has collaborated with the Opéra de Montréal, the Opéra de Québec and Opera Ontario as well as with the opera companies of Vancouver, Saskatchewan, Calgary, Edmonton and Hamilton in title roles in Agrippina, Thaïs and Carmen and in the roles of Violetta in La Traviata, Juliette in Roméo et Juliette, Mimì in La Bohème, the three heroines in Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Leïla in Les Pêcheurs de perles, the Countess and Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro, Olga in Fedora, Gilda in Rigoletto, Micaëla in Carmen, Donna Anna, Donna Elvira and Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, Pamina in The Magic Flute, Hanna Glawari in The Merry Widow, Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly, the sole role in Poulenc’s La Voix humaine, and has appeared in Schoenberg’s Erwartung. She has also performed as Stella Starlight in the rock opera Starmania.
Lyne Fortin, who is every bit as impressive on the concert stage as in opera, has been invited as soloist by the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, the Orchestre symphonique de Québec, the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, the CBC Vancouver Orchestra, the Orchestre Métropolitain and the Pacific Symphony as well as symphony orchestras in Fort Myers and Akron, where her performances have included the role of soprano solo in Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 and a concert version of Verdi’s La Traviata. Ultimately, no one can help but enjoy the virtuosity, the technical mastery and the remarkable stage presence of Lyne Fortin. And no one can remain untouched by the beauty of a voice that, after making its way across the world, returns to enchant Québec.
Biography written by Ron Rosenthal
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