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Suzie Leblanc

Soprano Suzie LeBlanc has been among the younger faces that have stimulated the vibrant early music scene in Montreal and in Canada in general. She has a light voice, refreshingly attuned to the natural strain in music of the eighteenth century rather than to its athletic feats. Accounts of LeBlanc's early life specify her point of origin as Acadia, perhaps suggesting a rejection of the Anglo geographical entity of New Brunswick in which most of Canada's Atlantic Francophone community lives. She had both vocal talent and drive but was never particularly nurtured in terms of training even though her mother was a voice teacher. When she was young, she told La Scena Musicale, "I found it easier to sing before a public than to practice. My voice came out more easily, was more relaxed. That's rare, don't you think?" LeBlanc's introduction to early music came during her youth, and that of the historical-performance movement as a whole, soon after her family moved to Montreal in 1976. She attended a concert at the Studio de Musique Ancienne de Montréal (SMAM) and was instantly hooked. She took up the harpsichord, attending a vocational college in Montreal and minoring in music. It was SMAM director Réjean Poirier who noted her vocal skill and encouraged her first by asking her to sing at his wedding. LeBlanc's transition to singing was slow; she sang in a trio called Musica Secreta and received a baptism by fire after going to England to study early music and being invited to fill in for Emma Kirkby in Anthony Rooley's the Consort of Musicke for an eight-month stint. Since the late '80s she has recorded for ATMA and other labels, specializing in music from the decades after 1700 but also venturing forward to Mozart, for whose songs she has especially good instincts. LeBlanc has appeared in a Netherlands Opera production of Monteverdi's Orfeo and has collaborated with Tafelmusik, Fretwork, Les Voix Humaines, and a host of other historical-performance ensembles both in Canada and abroad. A member of the voice faculty at the University of Montreal, she has founded her own Académie Baroque de Montréal and serves as its artistic director. Her extensive discography includes Handel's Acis and Galatea, Sartorio's L'Orfeo, Monteverdi's Vespro della beata Vergine, and Gluck's Orphée et Eurydice. In 2009 she won an Prix Opus Award for her recording of Messiaen's Chant de terre et de ciel.
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