Debussy : MelodiesNew York, 1956 (Audio)
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The Canadaian soprano and teacher, Pierrette Alarie (1921-2011), is the daughter of Sylva Alarie, a Montreal choirmaster, cellist and conductor, and Amanda Plante, a singer and actress who went on to play the mother in the popular television series, The Plouffe Family. Pierrette made her acting debut on radio at the age of 14 then began to sing regularly for the Montreal operetta company, the Variétés lyriques. She was already well-known in Quebec by the time she met Léopold Simoneau at the studio of Salvator Issaurel. In 1943, she won a scholarship to study with Elisabeth Schumann at Phildelphia's Curtis Institute. Two years later Alarie won the "Metropolitan Auditions of the Air".
Pierrette Alarie made her Metropolitan Opera in New York debut in December 1945 as Oscar in Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera conducted by Bruno Walter. She spent three years with the company (1945-1948) [26 performances, 4 works], singing roles such as Olympia in The Tales of Hoffmann and serving as understudy for Lily Pons Maschera. She moved to Paris in 1949 to make her debut at the Opéra Comique as Lakmé . For the next five years she distinguished herself in such roles as Lucia, Rosina and Olympia.
Pierrette Alarie's reputation continued to grow following appearances at the Aix-en-Provence, Edinburgh, Glyndebourne,Vienna, Munich and Salzburg Festivals. Despite her heavy European schedule, she returned often to work in Canada and the USA. Her many appearances for CBC radio and television included Charles Gounod's Mireille, the North American premiere of Francis Poulenc's La Voix humaine, and Offenbach's La Vie Parisienne.
A couple of years after her retirement from performing in 1970, Pierrette Alarie and her family moved to San Francisco where she taught and staged opera. After her years working with Opera Piccola in Victoria she became an accomplished visual artist and now devotes much of her time to community work.
Pierrette Alarie's recordings, both solo and with her husband, assure a permanent legacy. Those made with Léopold Simoneau testify to a personal and artistic relationship that has been properly described as "the perfect vocal marriage."