Born in Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean, Québec (Canada), Jean-François Lapointe is considered one of the best baritones of his generation. Since his debut on stage in 1983, Jean-François Lapointe has sung on the major European stages (Paris, Strasbourg, Bordeaux, Vienna, Zurich, Barcelona, Madrid, Lisbon, Glasgow, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Berlin, Liège, Toulouse…) as well as in America and Japan. Critics have been unanimous in their praise of his rich voice, his fine interpretation, and his acting skills.
Among his favorite parts, the title role in Pelléas et Mélisande, which he has notably performed in Peter Brook’s famousproduction, appears as a landmark in his career. He has also been heard in this work in Toronto, Bonn under Marc Soustrot’s baton, in Cincinnati, at Grand Théâtre in Bordeaux, in Marseille, at Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse, in Toulon, and more recently at la Scala conducted by Georges Prêtre. He has also sung the same part at the Opéra Royal de Wallonie, at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées and at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam with Bernard Haitink conducting. The evolution of his voice has recently led him to make his debut as Golaud in Nantes, Helsinki and Strasbourg to great public acclaim.
Jean-François Lapointe has also appeared in the title role of Hamlet at the Royal Danish Opera in Copenhagen and later, in Trieste, Geneva and Marseille. He performed Albert (Werther) in Bilbao and at the Capitole in Toulouse, Valentin (Faust) at Teatro Real in Madrid, in Monte-Carlo, at Teatro Regio in Torino, in Liège and at the Chorégies d’Orange, Mercutio (Roméo et Juliette) at the Opera of Cincinnati, at the Chorégies d’Orange and in Tokyo, Aeneas (Dido and Aeneas) at the Opera of Lausanne, Oreste (Iphigénie en Tauride) at the Opera in Amsterdam, the title role of Eugene Onegin and Lescaut (Manon)at the Opera of Québec, Figaro (Il Barbiere di Siviglia), Landry (Fortunio) and Duparquet (Ciboulette) at the Opéra Comique in Paris, Raimbaud (Le Comte Ory) in Geneva and Marseille, Escamillo (Carmen) in Barcelona, Marseille, Lausanne and on tour in Japan, the title role of Don Giovanni in Trieste and Marseille, the title role of Werther and Nevers in Les Huguenots at la Monnaie in Brussels, Chorèbe (Les Troyens) in Geneva and Amsterdam, Ford (Falstaff) in Québec and at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées… His debut as Giorgio Germont (Traviata) at the Opera of Frankfurt has also attracted much attention.
He could recently be heard at the Paris National Opera in Alceste (Le Grand Prêtre) and in La Traviata (Germont), Werther(Albert) and Faust (Valentin), at the Marseille Opera in La Favorite (Alphonse), Cléopâtre (Marc-Antoine), Hérodiade(Hérode), La Traviata (Germont), Moïse et Pharaon (Pharaon), Falstaff (Ford), Hamlet (title role) and Don Carlo (Posa), at the Théâtre du Capitole, at the Canadian Opera Company and in Amsterdam directed by Robert Carsen but also at the Metropolitan Opera in New-York in Dialogues des Carmélites (Marquis de la Force), at the Monte Carlo Opera in La Favorite (Alphonse) and Werther (Albert), Tannhaüser (Wolfram) and Falstaff (Ford), at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in La Favorite (Alphonse), at the Deutsche Oper Berlin in La Traviata (Germont), in Avignon in Hamlet (title role), in Geneva in Faust (Valentin), Ascanio (Benvenuto Cellini) and Guillaume Tell (title role), in Nancy in Les Pêcheurs de perles (Zurga) and Lucia di Lammermoor (Enrico), at the Teatro Comunale di Bologna and in Monte-Carlo in Werther (Albert), at the Opéra national du Rhin in Pelléas et Mélisande (Golaud), at the Opernhaus of Zurich and at the Opéra National de Paris in Iphigénie en Tauride and Werther (Albert) à Monte-Carlo.
Besides his opera career, Jean-François Lapointe regularly appears in concerts, singing melodies as well as oratorios. A renowned interpret of Duparc, Fauré, and Poulenc, he can also be heard in symphonic pieces with the most prestigious orchestras. He has sung Benvenuto Cellini (Fieramosca) conducted by John Nelson and La Chute de la maison Usher by Debussy conducted by Juraj Valcuha with the Orchestre National de France, Béatrice et Bénédict under the baton of Sir Colin Davis, L’Enfance du Christ with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg, Les Pêcheurs de perles (Zurga) at the Concertgebouw with the Dutch Radio Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Michel Plasson, Les Mamelles de Tirésias (Le Mari) and Fauré’s Requiem with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. He recently sang L’Enfant et les Sortilèges by Ravel, L’Enfant prodigue by Debussy, Monsieur Beaucaire by Messager and Fauré’s Requiem with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio-France, L’Enfant prodigue with the Orchestre national de Lorraine, Fauré’s Requiem at the Nice Opera, in Lille, with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo and with the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, I Puritani (Riccardo) at the Opéra de Marseille… He performed recitals in Paris as part of L’Instant Lyrique, in Genève, Montréal…
Jean-François Lapointe has taken part in several recordings among which La Jolie fille de Perth by Bizet, Benvenuto Celliniby Berlioz with the Orchestre National de France, Le Mage by Massenet, Ascanio by Saint-Saëns, Iphigénie en Tauride(DVD) and Ciboulette by Reynaldo Hahn (DVD). He also recorded Le Poème de l’amour et de la mer as well as a CD of poems of Verlaine put into music by Reynaldo Hahn, Gabriel Fauré, Claude Debussy and André Mathieu.
As a fine pedagogue, he regularly teaches some young singers, especially during masterclasses.
Among his recent and future projects: Carmen (Escamillo) at the Opéra of Marseille, La Traviata (Giorgio Germont) in Toulouse, Dialogues des carmélites (Marquis de la Force) in Rome, Iphigénie en Tauride (Thoas) in Zürich and La Fille du régiment (Sulpice) in Monte-Carlo.
Jean-François Lapointe is a Knight of the National Order of Quebec.
Jean-François Lapointe is Director of the Opéra de Québec.
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Photo credits – © Pol Baril