The Sun conducted a brief, impromptu interview with Les Violons du Roy conductor and founder, Bernard Labadie, in his dressing room after the concert. Labadie spoke about the origin of Les Violons du Roy, his time with Emmanuel Pahud and his work with opera.
The Sun: What made you found the chamber orchestra [Les Violons du Roy] in the first place?
Bernard Labadie: I had a love for [18th century] repertoire … and this was a long time ago. I was 21 when I [founded the orchestra], and [it] is in its 29th season now. Also, the fact that there was no chamber orchestra in Quebec City back then [meant] there was a void to be filled. I started with friends. A few of them are actually still there. The concert-mistress tonight is the only one of the two founding members we still have. It’s been a long journey, but it’s getting more and more fun.
Sun: How did you get to work with Emmanuel [Pahud]?
B.L.: We were actually paired by a festival called Le Domaine Forget near Quebec City some six years ago maybe, [so that was the] first time. Then we played there [for] a second time a couple of years ago, and then the idea of that show came up.
Sun: I read in your biography that you do a lot of things with opera.
B.L.: I don’t do it anymore. I used to. I was Artistic Director of Quebec Opera for nine years and then Montreal Opera for five years. But I resigned in 2006 and I’m doing very, very little.
Sun: You didn’t want to do it anymore?
B.L.: Well, it’s a different pace. I just wanted some time away from the pit. Also, because I was not only conducting — but I was also artistic director for all these companies, which is very, very demanding — I just wanted to be a musician again. I did The Magic Flute at the Met two years ago, I did it last year in Cincinnati. That’s all I did. And I did a concert version of a few things. And I’m used to, now, that rhythm of when you almost have a different program every week. I like that quick pace of learning a lot of stuff instead of just working with the same piece for five, six, seven weeks, especially if you’re in Europe, where the rehearsal process never ends, it’s so long. I’d like to go back to it, but under very specific circumstances only.