Death of Jean-Paul Jeannotte, co-founder of the Opéra de Montréal

Tenor, teacher and administrator Jean-Paul Jeannotte died Thursday at the age of 95. He was, alongside Joseph Rouleau and Robert Savoie, one of the instigators of the creation of the Opéra de Montréal in 1980.

It is the pianist, professor at the Conservatory of Montreal, Olivier Godin who announced the death of Jean-Paul Jeannotte on social networks on the morning of Thursday, presenting the tenor as his “father-musician”.

“I learned from him so much about the profession, the traditions of the French repertoire, so much about artistic beauty and the secrets of music, literature, painting, theater and dance. I am eternally indebted to him, ”writes Olivier Godin, a great specialist in the accompaniment of French melody.

Godin was therefore able to drink from a first-rate source. Born in Rawdon on March 9, 1926, Jean-Paul Jeannotte, who had studied singing in Montreal, had the chance to continue this course from 1951 to 1953 with Pierre Bernac, in Paris. Olivier Godin recalls that Bernac, unwavering musical partner of Francis Poulenc, brought Jeannotte to rub shoulders with Poulenc, Canteloube, Claudel and Yvonne Printemps among others.

Back in Quebec, Jean-Paul Jeannotte passed on his knowledge as a professor at Laval University from 1964 to 1979, before campaigning for the creation of the Opéra de Montréal, a successful crusade with the founding of the company le February 5, 1980 by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, then headed by Denis Vaugeois. Jeannotte was for 10 years the first artistic director of the establishment. From 1966 to 1972, he was also president of the Union des artistes.

His tenor art is notably documented in a recording of Pelléas and Mélisande in 1955, one of the three Pelléas recorded by the great French conductor Désiré-Émile Inghelbrecht. This archival soundtrack was published by Quebecer Yves St-Laurent.

Officer of the Order of Canada, Jean-Paul Jeannotte was inducted into the Canadian Lyric Hall of Fame in 1994, the same year as Maureen Forrester.

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