Alain Coulombe


“Alain Coulombe was a properly sinister Sparafucile, his powerful bass projecting the lowest notes handsomely”

Opera News (August 2011 issue) review of Michigan Opera Theatre’s Rigoletto (Verdi)


Praised for “his massively deep bass resonating with stentorian authority” and “his magnetic stage presence”, French Canadian bass Alain Coulombe is one of the most commanding and exciting singers of his generation.  Admired for his musical and dramatic versatility, as well as for his unique basso profondo voice, Mr. Coulombe is a favourite of critics and public alike, his passion for the singer-actor’s craft having won him much international acclaim over the years.

An alumnus member of l’Opéra de Montréal, the Canadian Opera Company and the Tanglewood Music Center’s Young Artists Programs, Alain completed his vocal training with Marlena Malas and the late French Canadian baritone Robert Savoie.  He has worked with outstanding conductors such as Seiji Ozawa, Richard Bradshaw, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Hervé Niquet, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Timothy Vernon, Helmut Rilling, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Bernard Labadie, Paul Nader, Edoardo Muller and Richard Bonynge.

Season 2013/14 will see Alain make a comeback to the Netherlands Opera as the Director of the Casino in Prokofiev’s THE GAMBLER; he will also sing Thésée in Rameau’s HIPPOLYTE ET ARICIE with VOICEBOX : Opera in Concert and the Aradia Ensemble, as well as Banquo in MACBETH with l’Opéra de Québec and Arkel in PELLÉAS ET MÉLISANDE with Against the Grain Theatre.  In a near future, Alain will revisit the role of Arkel in Debussy’s PELLÉAS ET MÉLISANDE and he will be the French General Audebert  in Kevin Puts’ SILENT NIGHT with two companies soon to be announced.

Mr. Coulombe’s recent engagements include the roles of Zuniga in CARMEN with Opera Lyra Ottawa, Banquo in Verdi’s MACBETH with the Pacific Opera Victoria, Palémon in Massenet’s THAÏS with VOICEBOX : Opera In Concert, George Benton in Jake Heggie’s DEAD MAN WALKING and le Comte des Grieux in Massenet’s MANON with l’Opéra de Montréal.

During the 2011/12 season, he took part in two World Premieres: he was First World War hero Lieutenant Gordon Muriel Flowerdew, in the opera MARY’S WEDDING by Andrew MacDonald and Stephen Massicotte (Pacific Opera Victoria) and he made his European opera debut personifying the legendary Clark Gable, in Robin de Raaff’s second opera commission for the Netherlands Opera, WAITING FOR MISS MONROE.  Mr.Coulombe was also Count Ceprano and the cover for the role of Sparafucile in RIGOLETTO (Canadian Opera Company), as well as Don Fernando in FIDELIO (Edmonton Opera).  On the concert stage, he was Marcel in the Canadian Premiere of LES HUGUENOTS (Toronto Opera In Concert), and was guest soloist at l’Opéra de Montréal’s OPERA GALA, in Mozart’s REQUIEM with l’Orchestre Symphonique de Québec, and with the National Orchestra of Spain in L’ENFANCE DU CHRIST by Berlioz.

Alain’s 2010/11 opera calendar included two productions of AIDA; he was the King of Egypt (Canadian Opera Company) as well as Ramfis (Calgary Opera Association).  He was also Sparafucile in RIGOLETTO (Michigan Opera Theatre), Le Bailli in WERTHER (Opéra de Montréal), as well as bass soloist in Verdi’s REQUIEM (Vancouver Symphony).

During the 2009/10 season, he was Oroveso in NORMA (Vancouver Opera),  Le Comte des Grieux in MANON (Ottawa Opera Lyra), Il Commendatore in DON GIOVANNI (Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal), Zuniga in CARMEN (Canadian Opera Company, Manitoba Opera, Vancouver Opera), as well as Montano in OTELLO (Canadian Opera Company).  On the concert stage, he performed at the Vancouver Opera’s 50th Anniversary Gala, as bass soloist in Beethoven’s NINTH SYMPHONY (Orchestre Symphonique de l’Estuaire), as well as in Mozart’s REQUIEM (Pasadena Symphony).

In recent years, he marked more acclaimed performances in the roles of Sarastro in THE MAGIC FLUTE, Count Ilya Rostov in WAR AND PEACE and The Priest in LADY MACBETH OF MTSENSK (Canadian Opera Company), Raimondo in LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR (Cincinnati Opera, Opéra de Montréal), Collatinus in THE RAPE OF LUCRETIA (Opéra de Montréal, Pacific Opera Victoria) and Sparafucile in RIGOLETTO (Pacific Opera Victoria).  He was also Oroveso in NORMA (Pacific Opera Victoria), Seneca in L’INCORONAZIONE DI POPPEA (Cleveland Opera, Toronto Opera Atelier, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra), Lignière in the World Premiere of David DiChiera’s CYRANO (Michigan Opera Theatre), Colline in LA BOHÈME (Edmonton Opera, Opéra de Québec), Créon in Charpentier’s MÉDÉE and Hidraot in Lully’s ARMIDE (Toronto Opera Atelier, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra).

Recently, on the concert stage, Mr.Coulombe was Tiresias in OEDIPUS REX (Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal), Pater profundus in Mahler’s EIGHTH SYMPHONY (Brott Music Festival), Nourabad in LES PÊCHEURS DE PERLES and Arkel in PELLÉAS ET MÉLISANDE (MusicFest Vancouver, Vancouver Opera), as well as Le Roi de Trèfles in L’AMOUR DES TROIS ORANGES (Toronto Opera In Concert).  He was also bass soloist in Christos Hatzis’ KYRIE (CBC radio), Schubert’s A FLAT MASS (CBC radio, CBC orchestra, MusicFest Vancouver), Vivaldi’s DIXIT DOMINUS (National Ballet of Canada) and in Mozart’s REQUIEM (Elora Festival, Orchestra London, Symphony Orchestras of Windsor, Thunder Bay, Victoria and Edmonton).

Having sung Phinée in the live DVD production of Lully’s PERSÉE under EuroArts (Toronto Opera Atelier, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra) and performed in Berlioz’s L’ENFANCE DU CHRIST (Boston Symphony, Dresdner Philharmonie), Alain appeared as Leporello alongside Dmitri Hvorostovsky’s Don Giovanni in concert (George Weston Recital Hall), and was featured as Masetto in the Gemini winning Rhombus Media film DON GIOVANNI UNMASKED, again starring Hvorostovsky.  

His recording credits include Ravel’s L’ENFANT ET LES SORTILÈGES (Prague Symphony Orchestra, Théâtre Sans Fil), Harry Somers’ SERINETTE, CHURA CHURAM  and THE DEATH OF ENKIDU (Centrediscs Records), the World Premiere of David DiChiera’s CYRANO (Michigan Opera Theatre), the soundtrack of Rhombus Media’s movie DON GIOVANNI UNMASKED (CBC Records), as well as numerous live radio broadcasts of opera performances and concerts across North America and Europe.

January 2014





Full Repertoire


Beethoven Don Fernando FIDELIO
Bellini Oroveso NORMA
Bizet Zuniga CARMEN
Britten Collatinus THE RAPE OF LUCRETIA
  Lt. Ratcliffe BILLY BUDD
  Superintendent Budd ALBERT HERRING
Charpentier Créon MÉDÉE
Debussy Arkel/Le Médecin PELLÉAS ET MÉLISANDE
Donizetti Raimondo LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR
Gounod Frère Laurent ROMÉO ET JULIETTE
Janacek The Mayor JENUFA
Lully Phinée PERSÉE
  Hidraot ARMIDE
Massenet Comte des Grieux MANON
  Le Bailli WERTHER
Mozart Voice of Neptune IDOMENEO
  Commendatore DON GIOVANNI
Prokofiev The King of Clubs L’AMOUR DES TROIS ORANGES
  Count Rostov WAR AND PEACE
Puccini Timur TURANDOT
  Colline LA BOHÈME
  Angelotti/Sacristan TOSCA
Robin de Raaff Clark Gable WAITING FOR MISS MUNROE
  Don Prudenzio IL VIAGGIO A REIMS
Shostakovich Priest/Old Convict LADY MACBETH OF MTSENSK
Strauss, R. Truffaldino ARIADNE AUF NAXOS
Stravinsky Trulove THE RAKE’S PROGRESS
  Tiresias OEDIPUS REX
Somers, H. Samuel Jarvis Senior SERINETTE
Tchaikovsky Bertran IOLANTA
  Ramfis/King of Egypt AIDA
  Sparafucile RIGOLETTO
  Pistola FALSTAFF
  Lodovico OTELLO
  Banquo MACBETH
  The High Priest NABUCCO
Wagner Hunding DIE WALKURE
Weill Bass (The Family) DIE SIEBEN TODSÜNDEN



Bach Magnificat
Beethoven Symphony No. 9
Berlioz L’Enfance du Christ (Père de famille)
Dvorak Mass in D major
Mendelssohn Lauda Sion op.73
Mozart C minor Mass
Schubert Mass in A flat
Verdi Requiem
Vivaldi Magnificat
  Dixit Dominus
Weber Mass in E flat “Freischützmesse”



Butterworth Six Songs from ‘A Shropshire Lad’
Brahms Liebeslieder Walzer
Ibert Four Songs of Don Quichotte
Rolfe Four Songs for Bass on Whitman’s poetry
R. Strauss Two Lieder for Bass op. 51
Wolf Four Michelangelo Lieder


Engaged By

Boston Symphony Orchestra
Calgary Opera
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Canadian Opera Company
Cincinnati Opera
Cleveland Opera
Dresdner Philharmonie
Elora Festival
Edmonton Opera
Edmonton Symphony
Festival de Lanaudière
Festival Vancouver
Manitoba Opera
Michigan Opera Theater
National Arts Centre Orchestra, Ottawa
Netherlands Opera
Opera Atelier, Toronto
Opéra de Montréal
Opéra de Québec
Orchestra London
Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal
Orchestre symphonique de Montréal
Orchestre symphonique de Québec
Orquesta Nacional de España
Pacific Opera Victoria
Pasadena Symphony
Rhombus Media
Soundstreams Canada
Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra
Tanglewood Summer Music Festival
Vancouver Opera
Vancouver Symphony
VOICEBOX: Opera in Concert
Victoria Symphony
Windsor Symphony


“Coulombe’s commanding authority, vocally and dramatically, holds steadfast throughout the full range of his sustained turns on stage. A coloratura-friendly bass is a precious commodity.  There is as much suppleness to Coulombe’s stentorian timbre as there is resonance, a quality that must be heard to be believed.” [Rameau’s Hippolyte et Aricie, Voicebox: Opera in Concert]

“Bass Alain Coulombe makes a big impression as Lt. Gordon Flowerdew, a character drawn from real life.  His role registers particularly strongly in Act 2, and he deserves special praise for the understated power of Flowerdew’s death scene.” [world premiere of Mary’s Wedding]
Time Colonist – Kevin Bazzana

“Alain Coulombe, as the Bailiff, is a sumptuous bass and an accomplished actor and is especially believable in his interactions with the half dozen children who occasionally populate the stage.”
Globe and Mail – Alan Conter

“Un autre qui montre sur scène une aisance parfaite, c’est la basse Alain Coulombe (Colline). Il nous régale en plus de sa belle voix de basse, plus franche et plus libre que jamais.”
Le Soleil - Richard Boisvert

“Of the men, the evening’s standout was Alain Coulombe, who as the chaplain was imposing in presence as well as in vocal power.” (Lucie de Lammermoor)
Cincinnati Enquirer – Janelle Gelfand

“Bass Alain Coulombe (Colline), singing to his overcoat, helped build the atmosphere around Mimi’s deathbed nicely. He movingly captured the character’s quixotic wistfulness.”

Opera Canada - Bill Rankin

Alain Coulombe, with a booming bass voice that got beefier the lower it went, was a Sparafucileas ruthless and malevolent, yet curiously principled, as you’re likely to find this side of a maximum-security prison.”

Robert Jordan, Opera Canada

“Alain Coulombe’s deep basso and breath control as Sparafucile were nothing short of wondrous.”

Review, Vancouver - J.H.Stape

“Alain Coulombe is flawless and disturbing as Sparafucile. His massively deep bass voice probes the theatre like the growl of a lion.”

Times Colonist - Grania Litwin

“With his lush, resonant voice former Ensemble member Alain Coulombe was as magisterial a Sarastro as one could wish. His bass plumbed the challenging depths of In diesen heil’gen Hallen with full security of tone.”

Stage Door - Christopher Hoile

“Alain Coulombe dans Phinée…ravit sans doute la première place…assurément par le style et l’engagement du chanteur. Il revêt le costume du rival malheureux qui lui sied bien. Le rôle dePhinée, tout comme celui de Mérope, deux êtres blessés, déchirés, équidistants de leur amour, est exigeant et demande de vivre intensément le drame.” - Jacques Hétu

“Alain Coulombe was a properly sinister Sparafucile, his powerful bass projecting the lowest notes handsomely”
Opera News (August 2011 issue) review of Michigan Opera Theatre’s Rigoletto (Verdi)

“The star had to be Toronto-based bass Alain Coulombe, whose rich, commanding basso was tailor-made for the role of the King of Clubs.”

The Toronto Star - John Terauds

“The smaller roles were sharply etched, especially Alain Coulombe, his deep bass resonating with the stentorian authority essential to Oroveso.”

Opera Canada - Robert Jordan

“The beautiful deep bass of Alain Coulombe brought the wisdom and serenity of the aged Arkel to calm the storms of passion or to comfort melancholy and sadness.”

Review, Vancouver - Jane Penistan

“From the pungent opening chords of L’Opéra de Montréal’s THE RAPE OF LUCRETIA, one sensed immediately that this was going to be a performance of special merit…above all Alain Coulombe, a superb Collatinus, with a voice most Wotans would envy…”

Opera News - Robert Markow

"Alain Coulombe, as Collatinus, conveyed deep emotion with his velvety, powerful bass voice."

The Globe and Mail - David Lasker

"Alain Coulombe as Seneca gives the kind of assured, refined performance we've come to expect from him. Even as his sonorous bass lends gravitas to the philosopher's great final scene, he suggests a man forcing his emotion to bend to his will."

Stage Door - Christopher Hoile

"Alain Coulombe tended to dominate the proceedings through sheer physicality when he was onstage as Pistola."

The Berkshire Eagle - Andrew L. Pincus

"The best work is by Alain Coulombe as the duplicitous King Créon. He's a real singing actor who uses all the tools at hand to create a memorable character."

NOW Magazine - Jon Kaplan



Alain Coulombe, basse canadienne originaire du Québec, est l'un des chanteurs les plus dynamiques et les plus passionnants de sa génération.  Le public et la critique apprécient sa grande musicalité, la polyvalence de son jeu d'acteur et l'unicité de son puissant timbre de basse profonde, enrichi d'un velouté que l'on invoque souvent pour le caractériser. Tant le public que la critique internationale saluent aussi sa passion tout évidente pour son double métier d'acteur-chanteur et l'implication absolue dont il fait montre pour chacune de ses interprétations, autant à la scène lyrique qu'au concert.

Ayant complété sa formation vocale auprès de Marlena Malas et du regretté baryton Robert Savoie, cette basse diplômée de l'Atelier lyrique de l'Opéra de Montréal, du Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio et du Tanglewood Music Center a tôt fait de travailler avec les chefs réputés Seiji Ozawa, Richard Bradshaw, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Hervé Niquet, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Jonathan Darlington, Timothy Vernon, Helmut Rilling, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Bernard Labadie, Paul Nader, Edoardo Muller et Richard Bonynge.

Dans son agenda de la saison 2011 / 2012, on peut lire qu’Alain Coulombe participera à deux premières mondiales: il personnifiera le Lieutenant Gordon Muriel Flowerdew dans l’opéra MARY’S WEDDING du compositeur Andrew MacDonald et du librettiste Stephen Massicotte au Pacific Opera de Victoria.  Il fera aussi ses débuts européens à l’opéra en incarnant le légendaire Clark Gable dans WAITING FOR MISS MONROE du compositeur Robin de Raaff au Netherlands Opera.  M.Coulombe sera également le Comte Ceprano et la doublure du rôle de Sparafucile (RIGOLETTO) à la Canadian Opera Company, ainsi que Don Fernando (FIDELIO) à l’Opéra d’Edmonton.  En concert, il sera Marcel (LES HUGUENOTS) avec la compagnie Opera In Concert de Toronto, soliste invité au GALA de l’Opéra de Montréal, dans le REQUIEM de Mozart avec l’Orchestre Symphonique de Québec, ainsi qu’avec l’Orchestre National d’Espagne dans L’ENFANCE DU CHRIST de Berlioz.

Durant la saison 2010 / 2011, Alain Coulombe prenait part à deux productions de AIDA:dans le rôle du Roi d'Égypte à la Canadian Opera Company et de Ramfis à l’Opéra de Calgary.  Il était également Sparafucile (RIGOLETTO) au Michigan Opera Theatre ; Le bailli (WERTHER) à l’Opéra de Montréal ; ainsi que la basse soliste du REQUIEM de Verdi avec l’Orchestre Symphonique de Vancouver.

Lors de la saison 2009 / 2010, Alain Coulombe chantait Oroveso (NORMA) sous la direction du maestro Richard Bonynge à l’Opéra de Vancouver ; le Commandeur (DON GIOVANNI) sous la direction de Yannick Nézet-Séguin avec l’Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal ; Le Comte des Grieux (MANON) à l’Opéra Lyra d'Ottawa ; Zuniga (CARMEN) à la Canadian Opera Company et à l’Opéra du Manitoba ; ainsi que Montano (OTELLO) à la Canadian Opera Company.  En concert, il était la basse soliste au Gala du 50e anniversaire de l'Opéra de Vancouver ; dans la NEUVIÈME SYMPHONIE de Beethoven avec l’Orchestre Symphonique de l’Estuaire ; et dans le REQUIEM de Mozart avec l’orchestre symphonique de Pasadena.

Ces dernières années, nous avons pu apprécier ses interprétations de Sarastro (LA FLÛTE ENCHANTÉE) ; du Comte Ilya Rostov (GUERRE ET PAIX) et du Prêtre (LADY MACBETH DE MZENSK) à la Canadian Opera Company ; de Raimondo (LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR) à l’Opéra de Cincinnati et l’Opéra de Montréal ; et de Collatinus (LE VIOL DE LUCRÈCE) à l’Opéra de Montréal et au Pacific Opera de Victoria.  Il a tenu les rôles de Oroveso (NORMA) et de Sparafucile (RIGOLETTO) au Pacific Opera de Victoria ; et de Seneca (LE COURONNEMENT DE POPPÉE) avec Opera Atelier de Toronto et l’Orchestre Tafelmusik, ainsi qu’à l’Opéra de Cleveland.  Il a également chanté Lignière lors de la première mondiale du CYRANO de David DiChiera au Michigan Opera Theatre ; Colline (LA BOHÈME) à l’Opéra d’Edmonton et l’Opéra de Québec ; ainsi que Créon (MÉDÉE de Charpentier) et Hidraot (ARMIDE de Lully) avec Opera Atelier de Toronto et l’Orchestre Tafelmusik.

De ses récentes apparitions lors de concerts, citons Tirésias (OEDIPUS REX de Stravinski) avec l’Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal ; Pater profundus (HUITIÈME SYMPHONIE de Mahler) au Brott Music Festival ; Nourabad (LES PÊCHEURS DE PERLES) et Arkel (PELLÉAS ET MÉLISANDE) au MusicFest de Vancouver et à l’Opéra de Vancouver ; ainsi que Le Roi de Trèfles (L’AMOUR DES TROIS ORANGES) avec la compagnie Opera In Concert de Toronto.  Il fût aussi soliste invité dans le KYRIE de Christos Hatzis pour la radio de Radio-Canada ; la MESSE EN LA BÉMOL MAJEUR de Schubert pour l’orchestre et la radio de Radio-Canada, et le MusicFest de Vancouver ; le DIXIT DOMINUS de Vivaldi avec Le Ballet National du Canada ; ainsi que dans le REQUIEM de Mozart au Festival d’Elora, avec Orchestra London et les Orchestres Symphoniques de Windsor, Thunder Bay, Victoria et Edmonton.

Notons qu’Alain Coulombe a chanté dans L’ENFANCE DU CHRIST de Berlioz avec l’Orchestre Symphonique de Boston et la Philarmonie de Dresden, et a tenu le rôle de Phinée (dvd du PERSÉE de Lully)pourEuroArts avec Opera Atelier de Toronto et l’Orchestre Tafelmusik.  Il était Leporello auprès du Don Giovanni de Dmitri Hvorostovsky lors d'un DON GIOVANNIdonné en version de concert (George Weston Recital Hall), et au cinéma il incarne Masetto dans DON GIOVANNI UNMASKED de Rhombus Media, toujours aux côtés de Dmitri Hvorostovsky.

Parmi ses enregistrements, Alain Coulombe compte L’ENFANT ET LES SORTILÈGES de Ravel avec l’Orchestre Symphonique de Prague et Le Théâtre Sans Fil ; SERINETTE, CHURA CHURAM et THE DEATH OF ENKIDU d'Harry Somers sous l’étiquette Centrediscs Records ; la première mondiale du CYRANO de David DiChiera au Michigan Opera Theatre ; la bande sonore du film de Rhombus Media, DON GIOVANNI UNMASKED sous l’étiquette CBC Records ; ainsi que de nombreuses captations radiophoniques en direct lors de performances livrées à l'opéra ou en concert à travers l'Amérique du Nord.

                                                                            Octobre 2011