Canadian mezzo−soprano Mireille Lebel grew up in Vancouver and studied music at the University of Toronto and the University of Montreal. Following her studies she was awarded major grants by the Canada Council and the Jacqueline Desmarais Foundation and furthered her artistic training as a member of the Atelier Lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal. In 2009, she was a winner of the Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyriques Competition that earned her an invitation to join the Ensemble of Theater Erfurt. Throughout her time in the Ensemble, she sang leading roles in the lyric mezzo fach. She is now making critically successful debuts with opera companies and orchestras in Europe and North America.
This season Mireille makes her début at the Prague State Opera as the title role in Carmen. She will return to Theater Erfurt as Orfeo in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice and will reprise her role as Ljubica in Ana Sokolovic’s opera Svadba at the Opéra de Nantes et Angers. She will make her début with Tafelmusik in Toronto in a programme of Handel and Vivaldi arias with conductor Rodolfo Richter. She will also début with Arion Baroque Orchestra in a programme of Vivaldi with conductor Enrico Onofri and will début with IMusici de Montréal singing Britten’s cantata for mezzo-soprano, Phaedra, as well as in Bach’s Weinachtsoratorium with conductor Jean-Marie Zeitouni. She will sing The Messiah with the Kansas City Symphony and the Saguenay Symphony.
In 2014/2015 Mireille returned to Opera Atelier in Toronto to make a role début as Orphée in the Berlioz version of Gluck’s Orphée et Eurydice, she sang the role of Angela in the world premiere of Hector Parra’s Wilde at the Schwetzinger SWR Festpiele, directed by Calixto Bieito and conducted by Peter Rundel, and made her début at the Festival International d’Aix-en-Provence as Ljubica in Ana Sokolovic’s opera Svadba conducted by Dairine Ni Mheadra and directed by Ted Huffman and Zack Winokur. On the concert platform she sang Handel’s Messiah with The McGill Chamber Orchestra, the New Jersey Symphony and L’orchestre symphonique de Trois-Rivières as well as Bach Cantatas with Les Violons du Roy. In the winter of 2015, the Boston Early Music Festival’s recording of Charpentier’s La descente d’Orphée aux enfers, on which Mireille sings, won the 2015 Grammy for Best Opera Recording.
In 2013/2014 Mireille made several exciting role débuts at her home theatre, Theater Erfurt, as the title role in Rossini’s La Cenerentola, Olga in Eugene Onegin, Nerone in L’incoronazione di Poppea, and Fyodor in Boris Godunov. She made a return engagement to Theater Basel as Zempoalla in Purcell’s The Indian Queen and appeared for the first time at the Opéra Théatre de Metz, both as Erika in Barber’s Vanessa (role début) and as Zempoalla in Purcell’s The Indian Queen. On the concert platform, Mireille sang Berio’s Folksongs with the Erfurt Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Samuel Baechli.
In 2012/2013, Mireille made her début at the Schwetzingen Festival in a new production of Purcell’s The Indian Queen conducted by Hervé Niquet. She also made a last minute début at Theater Basel in Idomeneo as Idamante, one of her signature roles. In Erfurt, she made her stage début in a new production of Carmen, her début as Sesto in Giulio Cesare in Egitto directed by Stephen Lawless, and sang the role of Margaret in the world premiere of the opera Die Frauen der Toten, composed by Alois Broeder, and nominated by Opernwelt in the category, ‘Best World Premiere, 2013.’ She also made her fifth recording with the Boston Early Music Festival, singing various roles in Charpentier’s La descente d’Orphée aux enfers and La couronne de fleurs, to be released in 2014.
In 2011/2012 Mireille made role débuts as Sesto in concert performances of La Clemenza di Tito, Fenena in Nabucco, and Zweite Dame in Die Zauberfloete, as well as singing the title role in Haensel und Gretel for Theater Erfurt. She also sang in France as Idamante in Idomeneo for Opéra de Tours and as Dorilla in Scarlatti’s Il Tigrane for Opéra de Nice. She returned to the Edmonton Symphony for two programmes; Les nuits d’été conducted by Jean−Marie Zeitouni and Christmas pops with conductor Bob Bernhardt. Her season concluded with performances of Beethoven’s Mass in c minor with Yannick Nezet-Séguin at the Lanaudière Music Festival. 2011 saw the release of the Boston Early Music Festival’s recording of Venus and Adonis with Mireille in the role of Cupid.
In the 2010/2011 season, she made two important Mozart role débuts as Annio in La Clemenza di Tito with Toronto’s Opera Atelier and Idamante in Idomeneo with Theater Erfurt. She also made her début with the New Jersey Symphony in Mahler’s 3rd Symphony conducted by Jacques Lacombe. Other projects included Bach Cantatas with Les Violons du Roy broadcast on CBC radio 2, Orlovsky in Die Fledermaus with Theater Erfurt, and Mahler’s 3rd Symphony with l’Orchestre Symphonique de Trois−Rivières.
In 2009/2010 she became a member of the ensemble at Theater Erfurt. Her roles with the company included Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro, the title role in L’Enfant et les Sorilèges and Ottone in Handel’s Agrippina. She returned to Montreal to sing the role of Dorothée in the Doucet−Barbe production of Cendrillon for Opéra de Montréal and sang Brahms’ Zwei Gesange Op.91 with pianist Francis Perron and violist Marcus Thompson at the Montreal Chamber Music Festival. She made débuts with the Malaysian Philharmonic in the title role in Carmen (in concert) conducted by Bernard Labadie and with the Calgary Symphony in Handel’s Messiah conducted by Ivars Taurins.
Her 2008/2009 season saw a busy mix of opera and concert work including Mahler’s 2nd Symphony with Jacques Lacombe and l’Orchèstre Symphonique de Trois−Rivières, a program of Vivaldi and Handel arias at TelAviv’s Blumental Festival with Jeanne Lamon and Les Violons du Roy, Haydn’s Stabat Mater with Bernard Labadie (broadcast on Espace Musique), Cupid in Venus and Adonis with the Boston Early Music Festival, The Messiah with Jean−Marie Zeitouni and the San Antonio and Houston Symphonies, Dorabella in Cosi fan Tutte with l’Atelier Lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal, Myrtale in Massenet’s Thais with Pacific Opera Victoria, the role of Messagiera in Monteverdi’s Orfeo, and the world premiere of a chamber work written for her by Canadian Michael Matthews, broadcast by the CBC.
In the 2007/2008 season she made important debuts with the André Turp Musical Society (Schubert recital) the Edmonton and Houston Symphony Orchestras(both for The Messiah) the Edmonton Opera (Carmen) and with Bernard Labadie and Les Violons du Roy in a Schubertiade recorded for broadcast on Radio Canada’s Espace Musique. As a member of the Atelier Lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal from 2006−2009 she performed various roles with the company including Flora in La Traviata, Mallika in Lakmé (broadcast on National Public Radio), and Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly. With the Atelier lyrique she has appeared as Concepcion in l’Heure Espagnole and Lisetta in Il Mondo della Luna.
She can be heard on disc with the Boston Early Music Festival as Junon in Actéon and on their recordings of Lully’s operas Thésée and Psyché, both nominated for a Grammy Award. In the field of contemporary music, she toured Wales and England (including appearances at the Buxton Festival) in Welsh−Canadian composer John Metcalf`s comic opera A Chair in Love, and she made her Linbury Theatre, Royal Opera House debut in Canadian Ana Sokolovic’s opera, The Midnight Court, with Toronto’s Queen of Puddings Music Theatre.