Christiane Riel

Introduction




"…with Christiane Riel, the brilliant soprano who plays Canio’s wife Nedda, the words ‘Virtuoso performance’ come to mind, and ‘nuance’and ‘flawless control’... hard to pull your eyes from Riel when she’s on stage."
Edmonton Journal, Gilbert A. Bouchard

Biography



Renowned for the intensity and poignancy of her interpretations, Christiane Riel's remarkable career is built around the most demanding roles in the soprano repertoire. Praised from coast to coast for Butterfly and Liu particularly, Montréal's La Presse noted that "the most remarkable voice (in TURANDOT) was that of Christiane Riel: rich and perfectly pitched throughout the entire range with legato, phrasing, and the art of diminuendo in the best Italian tradition, also with the power to fill a 3,000 seat hall without difficulty".  Her interpretation of the doomed peasant girl has also been heard at the New York City Opera (her house debut), the Berkshire Music Festival and l'Opéra de Montréal.  

As a "heartbreakingly believable" Cio Cio San, Ms. Riel has been chosen for this role in productions including those at the San Francisco Opera, New York City Opera, Edmonton Opera, Manitoba Opera, West Australia Opera in Perth, Boston Symphony and the Canadian Opera Company. In addition, she has sung the role for the companies of Minnesota, Nashville, Virginia, Edmonton, Saskatchewan and Utah.  Following her Desdemona (OTELLO) for l'Opéra de Montréal, she was immediately re-engaged for Nedda in PAGLIACCI, a role she repeated for Manitoba Opera.  She was also heard as the doomed verismo heroine for the Edmonton Opera and appeared in Vancouver in the VSO’s acclaimed ‘Tea and Trumpets’ series singing Italian opera highlights.   Ms. Riel has distinguished herself as Leoncavallo's Sicilian heroine and Mimi for the Edmonton Opera, Pacific Opera Victoria, Knoxville Opera, Calgary Opera and the New York City Opera.  Donna Elvira in DON GIOVANNI marked her debut in this role with Opera Ontario, a role she repeated with Pacific Opera Victoria. Christiane Riel has also been heard in concert performances of Mimi in LA BOHÈME with the Newfoundland Symphony. A favourite with audiences at Pacific Opera Victoria, she has also starred there as TOSCA and MANON LESCAUT.

Among her Canadian Opera Company engagements are the roles of Antonia in LES CONTES D'HOFFMANN and Micaëla in CARMEN, a role she also sang at New York City Opera. Marguerite in FAUST and the title role in Massenet's MANON are also among her Gallic heroines.  Even her debut in the role of Verdi's Elisabetta had a French twist since the Canadian Opera Company's DON CARLO was performed in the original French version.  

She was heard with Vancouver Opera as Rosalinda in DIE FLEDERMAUS, with Edmonton Opera as Alice in FALSTAFF and starred in Italian Opera evenings with the Regina, Saskatoon and New Brunswick symphonies. Ms. Riel has been warmly applauded for her performances with l'Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, the Windsor Symphony, the Bach‑Elgar Choir of Hamilton, the Victoria Symphony, l'Orchestre Symphonique de Québec and l'Orchestre Métropolitain in works such as the Dvorák and Rossini STABAT MATERs, Verdi REQUIEM, Poulenc's GLORIA and Mendelssohn's ELIJAH.  She has also been featured by Festival d'Été de Lanaudière, Toronto's Opera in Concert, Regina Symphony, the Orford Arts Centre and Festival International de Musique de Montréal.

The Montréal native is the recipient of numerous awards and scholarships, including the first prize in the Young Canadian Mozart Singers Competition and the Canadian Music Competition.  She was a member of the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble and of l'Atelier Lyrique de l'Opéra de Montréal.     Ms. Riel is currently a member of the Voice Faculty at the University of Western Ontario.                                                                                                     

January 2014



Full Repertoire



OPERA

Berg Marie WOZZECK
Bizet Micaëla CARMEN
Boito Margherita MEFISTOFELE
Britten Governess
Ellen Orford
THE TURN OF THE SCREW
PETER GRIMES
Charpentier Louise LOUISE
Gluck Euridice ORFEO ED EURIDICE
Gounod Marguerite FAUST
Lehár Hanna Glawari DIE LUSTIGE WITWE
Leoncavallo Nedda PAGLIACCI
Mascagni Suzel L'AMICO FRITZ
Massenet Griselidis
Salome
Manon
Sapho
Thaïs
GRISELIDIS
HÉRODIADE
MANON
SAPHO
THAÏS
Mozart Donna Elvira
Contessa
Fiordiligi
Pamina
DON GIOVANNI
LE NOZZE DI FIGARO
COSI FAN TUTTE
DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE
Offenbach Antonia LES CONTES D'HOFFMANN
Poulenc Blanche
Madame Lidoine
DIALOGUES DES CARMELITES
Puccini Mimi/Musetta
Lauretta
Cio-Cio-San
Magda
Suor Angelica
Liu
Giorgetta
Manon
Minnie
LA BOHÈME
GIANNI SCHICCHI
MADAMA BUTTERFLY
LA RONDINE
SUOR ANGELICA
TURANDOT
IL TABARRO
MANON LESCAUT
LA FANCIULLA DEL WEST
Strauss, J. Rosalinda DIE FLEDERMAUS
Tchaikovsky Tatiana EUGENE ONEGIN
Verdi Elisabetta
Alice
Desdemona
Amelia
Violetta
DON CARLOS
FALSTAFF
OTELLO
SIMON BOCCANEGRA
LA TRAVIATA

 

CONCERT/ORATORIO 

Beethoven CHORAL FANTASIA
MASS IN C
SYMPHONY NO. 9
Brahms EIN DEUTSCHES REQUIEM
Debussy L'ENFANT PRODIGUE
Dvorák STABAT MATER
REQUIEM
Fauré REQUIEM
Gounod MESSE SOLENNELLE DE SAINT CÉCILE
Mahler SYMPHONY NO. 2, 4, 8
Mendelssohn ELIJAH
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM
LAUDA SION
Mozart REQUIEM
KRÖNUNGSMESSE
VESPARAE SOLENNES DE CONFESSORE
Poulenc GLORIA
STABAT MATER
Rossini STABAT MATER
PETITE MESSE SOLENNELLE
Schubert

MASS IN E MINOR

Verdi REQUIEM
Vivaldi GLORIA

 

Engaged By

Berkshire Choral Festival
Boston Symphony Orchestra
Calgary Opera
Canadian Opera Company
CBC Radio Canada
Edmonton Opera
Festival de Lanaudière
Festival de Musique de Lachine
Festival Orford
Knoxville Opera Company
Manitoba Opera
Minnesota Opera
Musica Camerata
Nashville Opera
New York City Opera
Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra
Opéra de Montréal
Opera Hamilton
Opera in Concert (Toronto)
Regina Symphony Orchestra
Opera Saskatchewan
Orchestra London
Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal
Orchestre symphonique de Montréal
Orchestre symphonique de Québec
Pacific Opera Victoria
San Francisco Opera
Saskatoon Symphony
Symphony New Brunswick
Toronto Operetta Theatre
Utah Opera
Vancouver Opera
Vancouver Symphony
Virginia Opera
West Australian Opera
Windsor Symphony Orchestra
Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra

Reviews



“Riel sang  Tosca with passionate fervor, melting to disbelief and vulnerability for Vissi d’arte.  It was a glorious, wide-ranging performance, going well beyond the vocal component of the role.”

Opera Canada – Robert Jordan
 

“Christiane Riel’s Nedda  was appropriately girlish and un-prima-donna-like, most moving and alternately vulnerable as required.”

Winnipeg Free Press – James Manishen
 

“Her Tosca was a study in vulnerability, having virtually nothing of the grande dame in it.  Her fit of hysterics after murdering Scarpia was about as convincing as operatic acting ever can be.  There was compelling and beautiful singing, especially in the top register and in mezzo forte and forte passages.”

Vancouver – J.H. Stape
 

“…she crafts ‘Tosca’ with impassioned focus, showing not only heartbreaking vulnerability but also great strength as the doomed diva.  Sumptuous in both figure and voice, Riel is a captivating and convincing actress with a lyrical, dramatic voice.”

Times Colonist (Victoria) – Grania Litwin
 

“Quebec soprano Christiane Riel revealed a creamy smooth lyric soprano with a delicious fast vibrato.  She offered a lilting ‘Signor Ascolta’and a beautifully drawm Tu Che Di Gel.”

The Gazette
 

“With Christiane Riel, the brilliant soprano who plays Canio’s faltering lover Nedda, the words “virtuoso performance” come to mind, as do words like “nuance” and “flawless control”.  It’s hard to pull your eyes from Riel when she’s on stage.”

The Edmonton Journal – Gilbert A. Bouchard
 

“Christiane Riel is unforgettable in the title role, combining a powerful voice with a delicate presence she reminds the audience that Cio-Cio-San is still a young girl… shows determination and strength singing Un bel di with such conviction that the listener all but believes Pinkerton will come back to her.”

Salt Lake Tribune – Catherine Reese
 

“Christiane Riel has made BUTTERFLYan important part of her repertoire…her knowledge of BUTTERFLY’s complexities, her powerful acting and a voice that knows the role make her ideal in the part.”

Edmonton Journal – D. T. Baker
 

“Riel who is known for her interpretations of Puccini’s MADAMA BUTTERFLY, was spectacular in Un bel di with shattering high notes and a brilliant style.”

Star Phoenix – Joanne Paulson
 

“Vocally, the highlight of the production is Quebec soprano Christiane Riel as ‘Liù.  She is indescribably touching playing the doomed girl with the perfect combination of courage and vulnerability and with a voice of pure, transfigured ecstacy.”

Natasha Gauthier
 

“Christiane Riel took Nedda’s lyrics several steps further than  dramatic intensity.  There was beautiful shading in her notes and flexibility in her tone from top to bottom.  Her top notes were diamonds.”

Knoxville – Becky Ball
 

“…Riel, appearing variously as ‘Violetta, Norma and Butterfly’—all in concert…sang with the kind of conviction and intensity only the finest artists achieve.”

Stephen Pederson
 

“In Christiane Riel, Utah Opera has a Butterfly who stays intensely “on” both vocally and dramatically. The voice is lyric verging on dramatic, just the right heft for the part and under good control, from floating pianoissimos to full-out galvanic fortissimos.”

Desert News (Utah) – Dorothy Stowe