Prélude à l’opéra: When absence haunts us

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This page is also available in / Cette page est également disponible en: Francais (French)


The postponement of the creation of L’orangeraie gave an opportunity for Chants Libres to film Prélude à l’opéra in the deserted Monument-National. This digital event, inspired by excerpts from the opera and coloured by constraints imposed on the performing arts milieu, will be webcast on January 21, 2021. 

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“After four years of work, I received the last notes of the score in March of 2020 just before the lockdown,” explains Pauline Vaillancourt. “We were ready for what was to come (costumes, rehearsals, set design, etc.), everything that is requires for the months leading up to a creation. But Covid-19 wreaked havoc on all of our projects,” she explains.  “We had to postpone the creation to the fall of 2021, as did much of the cultural sector. A gap, a senseless artistic crater opened up before us. I didn’t want to give up, nor to improvise.”

A complete artistic result

On the other hand, according to her, the work of Zad and Larry has a solid foundation with a subject matter that is just as strong. “I wanted to weave together something that would allow for hope and survival, artistically speaking, until the creation. This prelude explores absence in all of the dimensions of a stage now stained by COVID 19 constraints: absence of creation, of work, of artists, of spectators, of interactions, of beauty, etc.”

Emptiness personified 

“It is a short form, a “prelude”, inspired as much by the work of Zad Moultaka and Larry Tremblay as by the Monument-National hall, empty of its public,” resumes the Chants Libres artistic director. 

“Performed by the actor Sébastien Ricard, this fictional character, the author, moves around the space. Armed with the music and words of L’orangeraie, he imagines the creation to come, seeing and hearing the artists that, like him, are haunting the empty hall,” explains Pauline Vaillancourt. 

A bridge of hope towards what is to come…

This prelude yearns for a bridge of hope in spite of the pandemic, in opposition to the pandemic… At the same time, our Prélude à l’opéra invites a discovery of the essence of an operatic creation, a collective exploration of an upcoming opera. We hope that the spectators will be able to feel what it is for the vocal milieu to be deprived of its voice, while also offering them a foretaste of our next opera.”

A Chants Libres production in co-production with the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, staged by Pauline Vaillancourt in co-direction with Manuel A. Codina, with music by Zad Moultaka and libretto by Larry Tremblay, with actor Sébastien Ricard, and vocal artists Stéphanie Lessard, soprano; Stéphanie Pothier, mezzo-soprano; Nicholas Burns, counter-tenor; Jacques Arsenault, tenor; Arthur Tanguay-Labrosse, tenor; Geoffrey Salvas, baritone; Dion Mazerolle, baryton; Dominic Veilleux, bass-baritone; and the musicians of the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne conducted by Lorraine Vaillancourt.

Prélude à l’opéra – Premiere: Thursday January 21, 8pm. Available until January 24th. Length: 28 minutes.SCENA discount: a ticket at $10 instead of $15 using the promo code SCENA with payment at

This page is also available in / Cette page est également disponible en: Francais (French)


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