French-Canadian mezzo-soprano Julie Boulianne is acclaimed for the vocal agility and expressive power of her dark-hued tone, focusing on the works of Berlioz, Mozart, and Rossini. The Independent recently said, “Julie Boulianne’s Marguerite is gloriously sung, her sound replete with grace and power.”
During the 2021-2022 season, Ms. Boulianne returns to the Metropolitan Opera as the title role in Massenet’s Cinderella, in a new production for family audiences, the Wiener Staatsoper as Charlotte in Werther, and both the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden, and the Glyndebourne Festival as Dorabella in Così fan tutte. Additionally, in her native Québec, she joins Opéra de Montréal as Rose Valland in the world premiere of Julien Bilodeau’s La Beauté du Monde and Opéra de Québec as Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni. On the concert stage, Ms. Boulianne performs César Franck’s Redemption with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by James Gaffigan, Berlioz’s Les nuits d’été with the Gulbenkian Orchestra in Lisbon, and Ravel’s Shéhérazade and Cinq mélodies populaires grecques with Orchestre Classique de Montréal.
Cancellations due to the Covid-19 pandemic include a return to the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden as Nicklausse in Les Contes d’Hoffmann, the Metropolitan Opera as Stéphano in Roméo et Juliette, Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier for a new production with La Monnaie de Munt in Brussels, Duruflé’s Requiem with both the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Les Violons du Roy, Vivaldi’s Gloria and select concert arias for her debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Mozart’s Requiem with the Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo, and Debussy’s Cinq poèmes de Charles Baudelaire with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and Robin Ticciati.
In the 2020-2021 season, Ms. Boulianne appeared as Dorabella with the Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse, while in concert she performed a Christmas concert with the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder with the Orchestre de chambre McGill, and a concert utilizing the works of Canada’s indigenous composers with Orchestre Classique de Montréal.
In the 2019-2020 season, Ms. Boulianne performed with the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden on tour in Japan, performing Siébel in Faust, the title role in Mignon with Oper Frankfurt, Robin-Luron in Laurent Pelly’s production of Le Roi Carotte with Opéra de Lyon, La Mort de Cléopâtre with Orchestre de l’Opéra de Rouen, and Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia with Vancouver Opera. Concert engagements included Mozart’s Mass in C minor with Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Orchestre Metropolitain in both Montréal and Ottawa, as well as Berlioz’ Roméo et Juliette with Sir Mark Elder and the Hallé Orchestra.
In past seasons, Julie Boulianne has appeared as Marguerite in Berlioz’ La Damnation de Faust (Glyndebourne Festival, San Sebastián Music Festival, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Festival Opéra de Québec) Charlotte in Werther (Oper Frankfurt, Opéra de Québec, Ópera de Colombia), Juliette in Berlioz’ Roméo et Juliette (Opéra national de Paris, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin with Robin Ticciati, l’Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, BBC Proms with Sir John Eliot Gardiner), the title role in Béatrice et Bénédict (Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse), Aloès in Chabrier’s L’Étoile (Royal Opera House at Covent Garden, Dutch National Opera), Annio in La Clemenza di Tito (Opernhaus Zürich with Ottavio Dantone, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse), Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro (Vancouver Opera, Opéra de Montréal), the title role in La Cenerentola (Opéra-Théâtre de Limoges, Opéra de Montréal), the title role in Cendrillon (Opéra de Montréal, l’Opéra de Marseille), Sesto in Giulio Cesare (Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Theater an der Wien, Aalto-Musiktheater, San Sebastián Music Festival), Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni (Théâtre des Champs-Elysées), Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Opéra de Québec), The Cabaret Singer and Bad Pupil in Philippe Boesmans Pinocchio (Festival Aix-en-Provence, La Monnaie de Munt, Opéra de Dijon), Giunone in Legrenzi’s La divisione del mondo (Opéra National du Rhin, Opéra National de Lorraine, Opéra Royal de Versailles), and Concepción in L’Heure espagnole (Angers Nantes Opéra, Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire).
At the Metropolitan Opera, Ms. Boulianne has appeared as Siébel in Faust, Stéphano in Roméo et Juliette conducted by Plácido Domingo, Diane in Stephen Wadsworth’s production of Iphigénie en Tauride, the Kitchen-Boy in Rusalka with Renée Fleming, and Ascanio in Francesca Zambello’s production of Les Troyens conducted by Fabio Luisi.
Recent orchestral engagements have included Berlioz’ The Childhood of Christ with Royal Albert Hall, Toronto Symphony Orchestra in Mozart’s Mass in C minor, San Francisco Symphony and Orchestra of St. Luke’s in Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, Cleveland Orchestra singing the title role in The Cunning Little Vixen conducted by Franz Welser-Möst, Charles Dutoit and the Boston Symphony Orchestra in L’enfant et les sortilèges, the Baltimore Symphony singing Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Marin Alsop, Saito Kinen Festival in Honegger’s Jeanne d’Arc au bûcher, Mostly Mozart Festival in Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin at Lincoln Center, Honegger and Ibert’s L’Aiglon with Kent Nagano at the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Schéhérazade and 5 mélodies populaires grecques with the Essen Philharmonic and Hans Graaf, Ravel’s Shéhérazade with Emmanuel Villaume and the Utah Symphony, Les Nuits d’été at the Concertgebouw with the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra and with Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Orchestre Métropolitain, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, performances of Bach’s Magnificat and select Bach cantatas with I Musici de Montréal, and Handel arias with Les Violons du Roy at Domaine Forget in Montréal, Chausson’s Poeme de l’amour et de la mer and Beethoven’s Egmont Schauspielmusik with the Bamberg Symphony, Handel’s Messiah with the Colorado Symphony, Haydn’s Theresienmesse with Les Violons du Roy, Haydn’s Harmoniemesse with the Orchestre Symphonique de Québec and Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass with Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Orchestre Métropolitain, Gulbenkian Musicá in Lisbon, Portugal in the Pergolesi Stabat Mater, Bach’s Mass in B minor with the Atlanta Symphony, Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 with the Calgary Philharmonic and Mozart’s Requiem with the San Antonio Symphony.
In March 2009, Naxos Records released a recording of Shéhérazade and L’enfant et les sortilèges featuring Ms. Boulianne and the Nashville Symphony, which was nominated for the Grammy® Award for Best Classical Album. Ms. Boulianne can also be heard on a 2011 ATMA Classique release of Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen and Kindertotenlieder. She recorded L’Aiglon by Ibert and Honegger under the baton of Kent Nagano released by Decca in 2016, and two CDs with Luc Beauséjour released by Analekta: “Handel & Porpora – The London Years,” and recently, “Alma Opressa, Vivaldi – Handel: Arias”.
A graduate of McGill University’s Schulich School of Music, Juilliard, and Université de Montréal, Julie Boulianne won First Prize in both the Canadian Music Competition and the Joy of Singing Competition in New York. She has been awarded the International Vocal Arts Institute’s Silverman Prize, and in 2007, the Prix de la Chambre des Directeurs for Most Promising Career at the Concours International de Chant de Montréal.
“But it’s French-Canadian mezzo-soprano Boulianne who is the one to watch – Rossini’s endless coloratura is a killer, yet she rips through ornamentation like a carving knife. Her voice has both sweetness and bite, with hints of darker and deeper notes to come, all boding well for meatier roles down the line.”
“Julie Boulianne made Angelina a girl of honesty and spirit, ready to battle for her right to go to the ball and to forgive her obnoxious family. Her warm, flexible mezzo came into its own in her final, triumphant rondo.”
“Julie Boulianne, a mezzo-soprano, brought a rich, beautifully rounded tone to a duet and an aria (‘Adieu, fière cité’) from the Berlioz, and to a moving, wrenchingly characterized account of ‘When I am laid in earth’ (and the scene preceding it) from the Purcell.”
Allan Kozinn, The New York Times
“Boulianne’s refined and elegant vocalism suited the put-upon Cinderella. Boulianne brought a touching intimacy to her opening aria ‘Una volta c’era un re’ and displayed facility with the coloratura bravura of the concluding ‘Non più mesta.’ Physically, the petite mezzo looked the part completely, with a waifish, vulnerable presence that underlined Cinderella’s melancholy. She later assumed the throne with quiet, self-possessed dignity.”
Lawrence A. Johnson, The Miami Herald
“The mezzo-soprano Julie Boulianne gives a beautifully understated performance as his dying wife [in Ned Rorem’s Our Town].”
Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times
“It was to the audience’s benefit, though. Boulianne possessed a beautiful control of her voice, both in melody and volume for the hall, Laurel Heights United Methodist Church.”
“The one compelling reason to see ‘La Cenerentola,’ the Aspen Opera Theater Center’s first offering of the summer, is the mezzo-soprano singing the title role. Beg, borrow or steal to get a ticket for Julie Boulianne’s final performance at 7 p.m. Sunday in the Wheeler Opera House. She is the real deal… she sailed through her moments, big and small, and created a character sweet and innocent enough to justify the subtitle Rossini and his librettist, Jacopo Ferretti, appended to this very Italian version of the Cinderella story: ‘Or Goodness Triumphant.’ Boulianne has the presence to command the stage without histrionics, often by standing there with a gentle smile. She opens her mouth and the sound comes out unforced, ‘Nacqui all’affano’ in the final act. In interacting with the other singers, she seems a model of generous attention and consistently conjures up a feeling of reality. Only a first-year student at Juilliard, the French Canadian already has sang starring roles at l’Opéra Montréal—Rosina in Rossini’s ‘Il Barbiere di Siviglia’ and Annio in Mozart’s ‘La Clemenza di Tito.’ Aspen is fortunate to be hearing her at this stage of her career, much as audiences might remember fondly the likes of Renée Fleming and Susanne Mentzer when they sang here before becoming stars.”
Harvey Steiman, Aspen Times
“As Isolier, Julie Boulianne displayed a truly lush lyric mezzo-soprano with a formidably large and secure top.”
Fred Cohn, Opera News
“Julie Boulianne, as the page Isolier, who loves the countess, also sang with a round fullness.”
Anne Midgette, The New York Times
“The way French-Canadian mezzo Julie Boulianne set the scene for Berlioz’s Romeo and Juliet in a long and hugely demanding solo was even more remarkable: I have never heard a more ravishing vocal command of the Albert Hall’s problematic acoustic.”
Michael Church, Independent