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Leopold Simoneau (b1916)


Simoneau studied at Levis College and Laval University in Quebec City (where in 1939 he commenced his vocal studies with Émile Larochelle) before moving to Montreal where he was a pupil of Salvator Issaurel from 1941 to 1944. He made his operatic stage debut in 1941 in Montreal as Hadji / Lakmé at the Variétés Lyriques.

Here during the following years Simoneau went on to sing Wilhelm Meister / Mignon, Tonio / La Fille du Régiment, Vincent / Mireille, Alfredo / La traviata and the Count / Il barbiere di Siviglia, often opposite his wife, the soprano Pierette Alarie, whom he had met at Issaurel’s studio and married in 1946. He also sang in recitals broadcast by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and in 1943 appeared as Don Curzio / Le nozze di Figaro in a Montreal festival production conducted by Sir Thomas Beecham. In 1944 Simoneau was awarded the Prix Archambault which led to his debut with the SCSM Orchestra (the forerunner of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra) conducted by Wilfred Pelletier. He received high praise for his accounts of Ferrando / Così fan tutte and Tamino / Die Zauberflöte, given during 1945 in Montreal.

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