Pierrette Alarie-Simoneau (1921-2011)

Canadian soprano and singing teacher dies aged 89

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The celebrated Canadian soprano Pierrette Alarie-Simoneau has died at the age of 89.

Known for her light, coloratura voice, Alarie-Simoneau performed at venues including The Met, Glyndebourne and the Aix-en-Provence festival.

Born into a family of musicians – her father was a choirmaster and conductor, and her mother was a soprano – Alarie studied at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia before marrying lyric tenor, Léopold Simoneau, with whom she often performed in later life.

After winning the Metropolitan Auditions of the Air in New York, an annual singing competition which ran until 1958, Alarie made her Met debut in 1945 as Oscar in Verdi’s opera Un ballo in maschera, conducted by Bruno Walter.

Following this performance, she appeared in several other operas with the company including Musorgsky’s Boris Godunov and Mozart’s Entführung aus dem Serail.

After retiring from singing, Alarie-Simoneau and her husband founded the training company, Canada Opera Piccola, in British Columbia and she became a well-known singing teacher. Léopold Simoneau died in 2006.

Alarie is survived by two daughters, Isabelle Simoneau and Chantal Simoneau and her sister Marie-Thérèse Meloche.

Alice Gräfin Grote

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