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 collabor- ation with creators and researchers of all disciplines.

For 30 years Chants Libres has played an essential role in the production and the diffusion of new operatic works. Through the originality and the diversity of its approach, Chants Libres takes the risk of creation. After having seen international premieres in Montreal, the company’s 16 creations have toured the world. Noted by 8 large-scale festivals, its works have been performed in Venezuela, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, France, Canada, Belgium and Holland. A trailblazing organization, Chants Libres seeks to raise awareness of the richness of new operatic forms among creators, performers and the public. The company was host of the international conference New-OP 8 (now Opera21) and has produced 6 editions of the biannual event Oper’Actuel works in progress.

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


Founder, stage director and artistic & general director of Chants Libres

For over 45 years, Pauline Vaillancourt has led a busy international career as a performer of classical and contemporary opera. From Mozart to Kagel, through Bach, Webern, Shoenberg, Stockhausen, Zappa and Ligeti, she has worked with highly esteemed conductors and stage directors such as Pierre Audi, Antoine Vitez, Gilles Maheu, Wajdi Mouawad, Marc Soustrot, Charles Dutoit, Luca Pfaff, Gianluigi Gelmetti, Arutro Tamaro, Otokar Stejkal and many others. The preferred singer for many composers, she has performed pieces most notably by Aperghis, Vivier, Tremblay, Nigg, Garant, Prévost, Finissy and Bussoti.

A soprano recognized on stages around the world, 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. 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.

A founding member of Chants Libres and the Artistic Director of the company since 1990, she has created, performed in, and directed many of the company’s new operas, productions that are highly regarded throughout the world. She was an artist in residence at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal and at the Studio du Québec in Paris and in New York, and she participated in the ALENA cultural exchange with Mexico. In her career she has won the Prix d’excellence Victor-Martyn-Lynch-Staunton from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Prix d’interprète de musique contemporaine Flandres-Québec. She has been a member-researcher at Hexagram, since 2006. In 2015, she was awarded the Opera America Service Award for her 25 years as Artistic and General Director of Chants Libres.


New artistic direction, stage director and artistic & general director 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.

  • 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 — Creation of the year ☛ Le rêve de Grégoire (Gregor’s Dream)
  • 2010 — Composer of the year ☛ Gilles Tremblay
  • 2010 — Prix Opus from the Conseil québécois de la musique: 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 from the Conseil québécois de la musique: 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