What do Jean Paul Riopelle, Serge Fiori and the Orchester symphonique de Montréal (OSM) have in common? At first glance, not much. However, these three entities are now coming together to create a crazy project in homage to the great Quebec painter.
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Symphonic Riopelle is a cool musical that is part of the many events planned for the 100me birthday of an artist who seems to be struck by the grace of eternity. This work will have its world premiere in February 2023 as part of Montréal en lumière.
We owe this idea to producer Nicolas Lemieux, who had the ability to combine the talents of composer and conductor Blair Thomson with that of Serge Fiori. “I first went to Blair Thomson, who, in my opinion, had the necessary sensitivity for this project. He is a being of rare intelligence, of great culture. Recall that the latter dazzled the Montreal audience in the spring of 2014 by conducting the OSM during the concert. twelve bald men by Gaston Miron and Gilles Belanger.
Nicolas Lemieux then contacted Serge Fiori, with whom he worked on the project. symphonic harmonium with the WSO in 2020. “I wanted him to put soul into this work. He thought so because Serge is not the type to jump into a project without being convinced that he has a role to play. He finally accepts because he wants to make a present for Riopelle, whom he adores. »
At the heart of this work is the music for seven songs by Serge Fiori that are not part of his period with Harmonium. These themes were arranged by Thomson and combined into a work that was ultimately to last approximately 75 minutes. “The creative work is very advanced,” says Nicolas Lemieux, who had to do a great immersion in the life and work of Riopelle. “His life of his is an amazing playground. »
Symphonic Riopelle It will consist of five parts. “We established a curve based on the great axes of life in Riopelle”, Lemieux tells us.
We realize that what has marked his life and his career is freedom. He led us to the bird, the wild goose. Thus, the work will offer a journey made up of a takeoff, an acceleration movement, a period of turbulence, a gliding flight where he returns home, and finally a landing, which shows the tired man approaching the end.
Nicholas Lemieux, producer
Produced by GSI Musique and Oziko, in association with the Jean Paul Riopelle Foundation, Symphonic Riopelle will bring together musicians from the OSM and the Petits Chanteurs de Laval, under the direction of Adam Johnson. The stage costumes for the musicians and the director will be created by designer Marie Saint Pierre, whose father, Champlain Charest, was a great friend of Riopelle.
Nicolas Lemieux is in the process of mounting a “grand Canadian tour” in order to offer this work and this experience to a greater number of spectators. The work would be performed each time by a local orchestra.
Obviously we cannot offer a musical work inspired by a painter like Riopelle without including a visual aspect. Projection games will accompany the musical performance. And for this, we turned to Gabriel Poirier-Galarneau to carry out the visual design and ensure the staging.
For his part, Nicolas Lemieux signs the artistic direction of this ambitious project. This producer is not in his first adventure in the orchestral world. It was he who notably produced the great symphonic concert of the 375me Anniversary of Montreal, in the summer of 2017, bringing together 400 musicians from the OSM, the Orchester métropolitain and the McGill Symphony Orchestra.
A series with the WSO
Since Nicolas Lemieux likes to think big, he explained to me that this project will consist of seven parts. The February 2023 concert and the recording that will be released next November constitute the first two stages. “I brought together several creative companies in Montreal,” says Nicolas Lemieux. We are going to adapt this work and bring extraordinary experiences to the public. My goal is to bring this work to the world. I want us to discover Riopelle and then I want to go see his paintings. »
Symphonic Riopelle inaugurates a great series of original creations called Picture and produced in collaboration with the Orchester symphonique de Montréal.
In the coming years, the public will discover other musical works created in homage to other Quebec visual artists. An artistic committee has been formed to determine the next creators to whom we will pay tribute.
“After 25 years in this business, I came to this”, says Nicolas Lemieux. He wanted to create a series of signatures with the OSM that was neither in the classical nor in the pop sector. Our goal is to create a work every two years for the next ten years. »
an extraordinary tribute
Symphonic Riopelle is one of the events that will be a great tribute to the painter who died on March 12, 2002. Never has a Quebecois artist been so celebrated.
In addition to the retrospective at the National Gallery of Canada and the exhibition at the Musée d’art de Joliette, we’ll see the start of construction work on Espace Riopelle, which will be erected near the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec. Its opening is scheduled for 2025.
We recently discovered the details of the theatrical work that Robert Lepage will create at Duceppe, in April 2023. For its part, Les 7 Doigts will present a show, in the summer of 2023, which will also be inspired by the world of Riopelle. .
For her part, Yseult Riopelle, the eldest daughter of the painter and sculptor, continues with the colossal task she undertook in the mid-1980s, that of compiling the catalog raisonné of her prolific father’s work. To date, five volumes have been released that collect all the work done by the artist between 1940 and 1970 (7,000 paintings, sculptures, drawings, ceramics, collages and others) and a sixth that brings together the prints. She is currently working on the next volume of this catalogue.
Symphonic RiopelleFebruary 16, 17 and 18, 2023, at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, Place des Arts, tickets on sale from April 9 at 10 a.m.
Available for pre-order in various media