BY MARTINA PERRAS
On a perfect summer day in early June, I walked with Rayanne Dupuis for several blocks beside the River Seine. Our destination was a perfect spot to have a drink and a chat. We had never met before, although, a dozen years or so before, I had the pleasure to see and hear her perform in Verdi’s Luisa Miller with the Canadian Opera Company.
Dupuis is open and friendly. She is also very eloquent and accomplished. What followed was a fairly short but highly energized conversation.
Her roots are in Kapuskasing, where she grew up until her mid teens. Her mother, a teacher, became a great source of inspiration. She enrolled her in piano lessons at the age of six to help her overcome her shyness.
By eight she was also entering and winning singing competitions in the Kiwanis Music Festival. A taste of success. Classical music became a passion, a source of refuge and a means of expression and sharing.
Her family moved to Sudbury where she spent a brief time at Sudbury Secondary School, then went on to College Notre Dame. She and the school’s award-winning choir, conducted by Sister Rachelle, became a natural fit.
Performing for Queen Elizabeth at Science North remains a distinct memory for her. Other cherished memories include her mother who had a glorious voice, started choirs and wanted to be Barbra Streisand. Chrissie Nemis also holds a special place.
Voice studies followed at the University of Toronto with acclaimed performer and teacher, Mary Morrison. Dupuis describes her as caring and generous, someone with an open mentality. They still keep in touch.
Yale University was next and she ultimately earned a doctorate of musical arts from SUNY Stony Brook
She remembers that at the age of 15, one of her first exposures to opera was a production of the Canadian Opera Company’s Anna Bolena. It featured Maureen Forrester and Judith Forst, making her COC debut.
Forst obviously created a great impact on an aspiring young talent. Even now, Dupuis extols her as one who epitomizes professional commitment and who is invested in her performance. The theatrical aspect of singing a role and making it as real as possible, became a huge draw.
Her operatic career was well under way when she was awarded a Canada Arts Council Grant to study in Paris for a year. Here she was immersed in the world of late 19th and early 20th century French music.
In 2000, within the space of a few months, she was cast as both the lead in Berg’s Lulu and the lead (Ikuko) in Bernard Cavanna’s opera, La confession impudique. She discovered within herself a true talent, flair and passion for interpreting modern music or more precisely, music dating from the Second Viennese school up to the present day.
Today, Dupuis is praised for her flexible, wide-ranging voice, her musical accuracy and for the dramatic intensity and theatrical flair she brings to all interpretations. She performs on stages throughout Europe and North America and collaborates with numerous conductors in concerts and recordings. She also finds it a pleasure to be able to premier works of com- posers on both sides of the Atlantic, all the while maintaining in her repertoire masterpieces of composers from the last century.
She maintains that modern roles are more difficult overall and more demanding and rewarding on performers and audiences. It allows one to chew up the stage and spit it out.
Some of her many strengths are the facility to speak several languages, a good memory for lyrics and the ability to be a good quick study. She understands a composer’s basic language. She loves to learn a role and once learned, it is memorized. She never approaches an accompanist unprepared. It is obvious that her successful career is the result of a great deal of talent and an enormous work ethic.
She enjoys life in Paris with her French husband and young daughter. Being in Europe is definitely advantageous. The arts are widely supported and there are many more opportunities than in North America. Avant-garde works are offered routinely. Performers are only a short flight away from most major centres, which makes it very compatible for family life. Paris is especially convenient and central.
There are hugs and big smiles as Dupuis leaves to pick up her daughter at school. “It’s amazing to be able to earn my living singing…to be doing what I love. I’m really lucky!”
Matina Perras is a member of the Sudbury Opera Guild.
Opera LIVE in Sudbury
Sudbury’s SilverCity presents Cineplex Front Row Centre Events’s Live from the Metropolitan Opera House. Visit Cineplex.com/Opera for more information and check local schedules. Live performances are matinees.
Saturday, Oct. 5
Encores: Nov. 16, 18
Saturday, Oct. 26,
Encore: Nov. 30
Saturday, Nov. 9.
Encores: Dec. 7, 16
Live: Saturday, Dec. 14
Encores: Jan.18, 20
Saturday, Feb, 8, 2014
Encores: March 29, 31
:Saturday, March 1
Encores: April 12, 14
Saturday, March 15
Encores: May 24, 26
Saturday, April 5
Encores: June 7, 9, 18
COSÌ FAN TUTTE
Saturday, April 26
Encores: June 21, 23
Saturday, May 10
Encores: July 5, 7, 16,