Nadya Blanchette - Soprano
Love is in the Aria
An interview article by Rosemary Phillips, for Valentine's , February 2011
UPDATE 2019: Nadya Blanchette and husband Pierre Simard continue their illustrious careers (while raising their family) from their new home in Nanaimo, British Columbia, where Pierre is artistic director of the Vancouver Island Symphony. See below for more links, and enjoy the YouTube video.
INTRO: Nadya Blanchette's career spans over 15 years of performances with Cirque du Soleil, the Vancouver Symphony, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, CBC radio & television, and for the national anthem for the Montreal Canadians and the Ave Maria at Pierre E. Trudeau's state funeral. At the time of this interview Nadya was preparing for her upcoming concert "French Kiss" with the Vancouver Island Symphony. Unique about this special Valentine's concert - the conductor is her husband. But I don't want to give everything away here. Read on...
Take passion, seduction, a femme fatal, ingénue and Carmen all rolled into one and you have Nadya Blanchette, soprano, who with her warm creamy voice sings everything from great arias to Broadway favourites, and in several languages.
“French Kiss is about all the aspects of love – the visions, the takes, a few lessons on love – à la Nadya!” says Blanchette. “It is a funny, whimsical, tongue-in-cheek show and well suited for Valentine’s, for anyone who loves music and beautiful memories of seduction and love!”
Filled with a potpourri of surprises, drama, romance, amusement, great fun and nostalgic music, French Kiss is VERY unique, teaming up husband and wife. Says conductor Simard, tenderly, “This is my wife.” Then he laughs, “We won’t hide the fact we are married.”
“In fact, I’m going to play on the mode that Pierre is my partner,” adds Blanchette. Then she chuckles as she says, “As a singer I want to be loved so the idea of having my husband on stage, for me, is a plate full. There’s the rapport of being married and still I want to be able to court my audience. The chanteuse can never get enough love!”
Conductor and soprano not only play upon each other, they play with the audience. And while Simard conducts, Blanchette tantalizes the audience as the seductive Carmen from the opera by Bizet and the coquettish Manon by Jules Massenet. She charms with Il Bacio (The Kiss) by Arditi and My Funny Valentine by Rodgers and Hart, and entices with Embraceable You by George Gershwin and So in Love by Cole Porter. Hearts will melt with Barcarolle by Jacques Offenbach and Il était une fois dans L’Ouest by Ennio Morricone. And there’s more...
Adds Blanchette, “This is a blend of the most melodic arias you can expect, linked with the idea of seduction, love, fantasy, pleasure and desire - a real adventure for the senses and the heart.”
Between songs Blanchette also revisits her meeting with Simard at a rehearsal for La Bohème, when she was Mimi and he was the conductor. It is a heart-touching love story told with such passion by Blanchette over the phone, but here best left for the telling on stage. “All love stories are wonderful, igniting something new, a spark that lights up and changes who we are,” continues Blanchette. But what of their first date, the first kiss? Blanchette sighs, “I remember that moment like it was yesterday!”
Now married for ten years, Blanchette and Simard have performed together on numerous occasions but not to this extent, in a show that is created by the two as a team, and with Simard providing many of the musical arrangements. “This is playful for a show, yet it is quite truthful. It represents the balance of being a wife, a mother, having a daily life and chores, and that other dimension where we can expand and go all the way with magic, fun and overload of passion and emotion.”
While both Simard and Blanchette have their professional careers they have three children. “Pierre is a wonderful father and a great partner. The children are music to my life, my little symphonies,” adds Blanchette. “We are blessed with them around. They fulfil me, challenge me, and make me grow as a person.”
While the children stay at home with their grandmother, Blanchette and Simard share their Valentine with Nanaimo. “This is a celebration of the moods of love, about being in love, being loved and loving someone. It goes beyond the love between two people, to the universal vision of how it feels to love and be loved.”
Adds Blanchette, “I hope people will take this as a personal invitation for this one-of-a-kind show, a special gift for Valentine’s, like an open window for the heart; meet us as a couple and meet the musicians in the incredible location that is The Port Theatre.”
Visit Nadya Blanchette's website.
And, visit the Vancouver Island Symphony website for more information on this jewel of a regional orchestra.
Also visit an article about Nadya Blanchette's husband, Pierre Simard, on this web site.
NOTE: There are many more articles on this site - see Index of Articles.