Meet the Artist —Mireille Asselin, Soprano - theHumm January 2022
Meet the Artist —Mireille Asselin, Soprano - theHumm January 2022
Internationally acclaimed soprano and Almonte resident Mireille Asselin returned home briefly after performing the role of Amore in the Vancouver Opera’s production of Glück’s Orfeo ed Euridice, before setting off again to perform as a soloist in Handel’s masterpiece Messiah with the Rhode Island Symphony Orchestra. Mireille will be performing with pianist Frédéric Lacroix and violinist/violist Brenna Hardy-Kavanagh on January 16 at the Almonte Old Town Hall, in a poignant program dedicated to the memory of Michael Macpherson, a beloved community member and ardent supporter of Almonte in Concert. Despite her busy schedule, she found time to sit down with Maureen Nevins, Artistic Director of Almonte in Concert, for an interview.
Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in music?
Mireille Asselin: I have many music lovers in my family but no professional musicians, so I didn’t really know that a music career was an option until I was in high school and saw my peers preparing for their university auditions (I was in De La Salle’s fantastic arts program in Ottawa). I remember trying to choose between a music or a science degree at that age, and it essentially came down to the fact that I knew I’d regret it if I didn’t at least explore an opera career before opting for an alternative. Luckily, one thing sort of led to another and I’ve been able to slowly build my career over the years, having been given absolutely wonderful opportunities along the way. Now I can’t imagine doing anything else!
What have been the greatest challenges of your career to date?
Well, the most recent challenge has certainly been adapting to the curve balls thrown at my industry by Covid. All performing work essentially evaporated for over a year, so the challenge was not only “how do I make an income”, but also “what do I do with my time?” and “who am I if I don’t sing?”. It was immensely challenging to see my friends and colleagues lose their livelihoods, homes, and sense of purpose… but also equally heartening to then watch them reinvent, create, and thrive in new and ever-changing landscapes. It has ultimately led to lots of really wonderful new virtual and recorded projects, innovations in virtual rehearsal capacities, and a renewed focus on equity and diversity in our field. Clearly, the challenges continue with new variants shuttering concert halls once again. But artists are a resilient bunch, and I will do my best to continue to advocate for them and support my community.
How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?
This is largely out of my hands, to be honest! I see which contracts and projects come in and try to fit them into my jigsaw puzzle of a schedule. But every so often I have the opportunity to curate a recital like the one I’ll be doing here in Almonte, and I have free rein to dream up something new. In this particular case, it started as a request to make a concert that would honour the memory of Michael Macpherson, and so I was able to take inspiration from some of his favourite music and let my imagination lead me from there.
Who are some of your favourite musicians or composers, past and present?
Favourite musicians include Edith Piaf, Glenn Gould, Beverly Sills, as well as basically everyone I get to work with on the concert scene (my colleagues inspire me!).
Favourite composers – past: Poulenc, Bach, Mozart, Handel and Stravinsky. Present: Cecilia Livingston, Fred Lacroix, Serouj Kradjian and Mark Sirett (you’ll hear them all on our program at Almonte Old Town Hall!).
As a musician, what is your definition of success?
This is a tough one. In the past, I would have said making my living entirely from music and getting to work with the top ensembles and theatres in the world. But I think that’s an overly simplistic definition in our post-pandemic reality. I am reminded that so many truly phenomenal musicians make a living by piecing together a variety of income streams, making them no less of a success. And some of the best art is in fact being done off the boards of the huge glitzy stages, which frankly aren’t as nimble and able to adapt to changing times. It is also an immense privilege to be able to make music, in person, with other musicians. One I will no longer take for granted! So now I would simply say, success as a musician is being able to make music joyfully, and regularly.
What would be the most important piece of advice you would offer to aspiring musicians?
I would tell them to honour what makes them unique. The classical music world used to be much more rigid and unwelcoming of the blending of different styles and approaches. That is no longer the case. Yes, practice. Yes, work hard on your technique. Yes, be resilient and learn to take constructive criticism. But also, do not erase where you come from or silence what you have to say. These things are critical and will help you stand out in a crowd.
Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time?
Here in Almonte, with my husband and my dog, bopping around to my gigs as needed and hopefully making time in my schedule to finally see the famous “Light Up the Night” I’ve been hearing so much about. ?
Mireille will be performing on January 16 at 2pm in the Almonte Old Town Hall. The performance will also be live-streamed, with the recording available to view on-demand online until January 18. For further information and ticket purchases, please visit almonteinconcert.com . Almonte in Concert is also very pleased to have Mireille on their Board of Directors.
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Internationally acclaimed soprano and Almonte resident Mireille Asselin returned home briefly after performing the role of Amore in the Vancouver Opera’s production of Glück’s Orfeo ed Euridice, before setting off again to perform as a soloist in Handel’s masterpiece Messiah with the Rhode Island Symphony Orchestra. Mireille will be performing with pianist Frédéric Lacroix and violinist/violist Brenna Hardy-Kavanagh on January 16 at the Almonte Old Town Hall, in a ......
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May 1 - 31 Exhibition: Jeweller Anne-Marie Chagnon
May 2 - Jun 20 Exhibition: Visible Mending
May 22 - Sep 5 Head Over Heels
May 24 - Sep 6 Eric Uren
May 27 - 28 Carole King/James Taylor Tribute Dinner+Show
May 27 Rag Bag Cabaret
May 30 Matt Dickson
Jun 3 Nolan Hubbard
Jun 4 Henry Norwood
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- Return of the Rag Bag Cabaret!
- This Year, Next Yearat Studio Theatre
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