Magazine article Opera Canada

On Stage: Lyne Fortin

Magazine article Opera Canada

On Stage: Lyne Fortin

Article excerpt

As a high-school student, soprano Lyne Fortin would devour opera scores in her free time, sight-singing every role, male and female, until she felt ready to develop her own interpretations. "I do what my instincts tell me. Tradition is just a lame, lazy excuse not to be creative." Certainly, she has an idiomatic take on Violetta in La Traviara, her most frequently requested role (along with the Countess in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro). Violetta's problem, Fortin feels, is one of low self-esteem. "Why does she sacrifice herself for someone else's principles? She thinks she needs to be redeemed and deserves to suffer."

Her appearance as Violetta in Hamilton last October sparked a chorus of bravos from the critics. "The centre of vocal attention never strayed very far from Canadian soprano Lyne Fortin as Violetta," wrote Herman Trotter in The Buffalo News.

"Violetta's `Sempre libera' is my standard audition piece. I can sing it standing on my head," Fortin says. Not that she's felt the need to audition in the last three years. A singer with an international career, she created the role of Madame de Tourvel in Flanders Opera's world premiere production of Les liaisons dangereuses in 1997. Two years later in the Antwerp house, she got to sing what she mischievously calls "my first bitchy role," Elettra in Mozart's Idomeneo. Hugh Canning, from London's The Times, wrote, "Elettra's two bad-hair scenes--dazzlingly sung by the Canadian soprano Lyne Fortin--were thrilling."

A remarkably versatile singer, Fortin sang the three lead-soprano parts in Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann for Edmonton Opera in 1999. Her versatility makes her vocal category difficult to pigeonhole. "I have no idea what my fach is," she says. "I once auditioned for an Austrian agent with `Je veux vivre' [from Gounod's Romeo et Juliette] and he asked for Blondchen [from Mozart's Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail]. He wanted to put me in all the high coloraturas. He had a completely wrong idea of what I could sing."

Pretty impressive for a kid whose goal was to become an astronaut or a secret agent. Born in Quebec City, Fortin grew up in nearby L'Islet Sur Mer, in a house by the St. Lawrence that her mother, a retired teacher, has transformed into Les Pieds dans l'eau, a bed-and-breakfast. Although Fortin's father died when she was very young, she remembers his country fiddling. "We had drums, trombone, euphonium, violin, piano and double bass. …

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