Founded in 1990 by soprano Pauline Vaillancourt, in association with Joseph St-Gelais and Renald Tremblay, Chants Libres offers an operatic repertoire adapted to the colours of modernity, constantly exploring new techniques and approaches to vocal art, and working in close collaboration with creators and researchers of all disciplines. With nineteen creations to its credit, Chants Libres enjoys a solid reputation and the company has become an indispensable tool for creators and performers who wish to explore new forms and processes of multidisciplinary operatic creation.

Since July 2022, mezzo-soprano Marie-Annick Béliveau has been the company’s artistic director. This key performer on the contemporary music scene is committed to a research-creation process that she intends to pursue as head of the company.

Chants Libres is playing an increasingly important role in training new talent and disseminating new works. The company’s international presence ensures an ever-increasing influence for local creators. Over the past thirty years, Chants Libres’ creations have been presented on tour in Venezuela, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, France, Canada, Belgium and the Netherlands. The company has hosted the international New-OP 8 conference in Montreal and continues to build on this with its Oper’Actuel Works In Progress events and research-creation labs.

The impact of Chants Libres’ mission and its creations on the whole of the international operatic scene has been recognized through numerous prizes.


New artistic direction of Chants Libres

Leading performer and singer Marie-Annick Béliveau has been heard on Montreal stages for the last 25 years. Noted by the press for her « rich voice and expressively nuanced palette », she has created more than 30 operas and vocal works of the contemporary repertoire.

Other forms of collaborations allow her to weave strong connections with renowned artists and composers, while also developing her appetite for artistic programming. An artist rooted in her community, she teaches classical voice at UQAM and has sung for more than 10 years with SAMS, la Société pour les Arts en Milieux de Santé. Moreover, her voice can be found on many recordings, such as with Cirque du Soleil and in several films (Violon Rouge, Paul à Québec).

Ultimately, her passion for vocal exploration also resonates in the academic world: a doctoral student in the program Études et pratiques des arts at UQAM, Marie-Annick Béliveau carried out a research and creation project within which she calls into question the modes of conception and production of lyric art.


Founder of Chants Libres

For 50 years, Pauline Vaillancourt has led a busy international career as a performer of classical and contemporary opera. The preferred singer for many composers, she has worked with highly esteemed conductors and stage directors. She has performed in many festivals such as: Montpellier, Avignon, Angers, Aix-en-Provence, Strasbourg, London, Valencia, Buffalo, Poland, Hungary and Lyon, and has sung the work of Giancinto Scelsi at Carnegie Hall in New York.

A founding member of Chants Libres and the Artistic Director of the company from 1990 to 2022, she has created, performed in, and directed many of the company’s new operas.

She has recorded many new compositions as wells as songs from the classical repertoire for Amberola, Sonart, SNE, Salabert/Actuels, Umus, Port-Royal, Ariane, Empreintes digitales and Doberman-Yppan, Mode records and Atma. In her career she has won the Prix d’excellence Victor-Martyn-Lynch-Staunton from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Prix d’interprète de musique contemporaine Flandres-Québec, the New York Opera America Service Award 2015 and the Prix Albert-Tessier 2019.

  • 2022 — Nominated for the Prix Opus Concert of the Year: Contemporary and Electroacoustic music: Montréal ☛ Aujourd’hui Calling you
  • 2016 — Prix Opus Concert of the Year: Modern and Contemporary Music and Concert of the Year: Montréal ☛ The Trials of Patricia Isasa
  • 2015 — Prix Opus Musical event of the year ☛ Canti del Capricorno
  • 2014 — Prix Opus Creation of the year ☛ Le rêve de Grégoire (Gregor’s Dream)
  • 2010 — Prix Opus Composer of the year ☛ Gilles Tremblay
  • 2010 — Prix Opus Musical event of the year ☛ Opéra féerie — L’eau qui danse, la pomme qui chante et l’oiseau qui dit la vérité
  • 2010 — Prix Opus Creation of the year ☛ Opéra féerie — L’eau qui danse, la pomme qui chante et l’oiseau qui dit la vérité
  • 2007 — Nominated for a Prix Opus Conseil québécois de la musique DVD release of the year ☛ L’Enfant des glaces Zack Settel/Pauline Vaillancourt
  • 2004 — Nominated for a Prix Opus Conseil québécois de la musique Production of the year (for young audiences) ☛ Pacamambo, l’opéra Zack Settel / Wajdi Mouawad
  • 1999 — Prix Opus Conseil québécois de la musique CD release event of the year ☛ Yo Soy La Desintegracion
  • 1998 — Contemporary Music Prize Québec-Flandres (Belgium) ☛ Canti Del Capricorno
  • 1996 — Prix Opus Conseil québécois de la musique Production of the year ☛ Le vampire et la nymphomane
  • 1996 — Lauréat finaliste Grand Prix du Conseil des Arts de la Communauté urbaine de Montréal ☛ Le Vampire et la Nymphomane