Bass, C.C., G.O.Q., Dr h.c.
Internationally renowned bass Joseph Rouleau was born in 1929 in Matane, Quebec. He has received several honours over the course of his long and fruitful career. For 30 years of service at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London, England, Joseph Rouleau received the Silver Medal. He has also performed in the world’s major opera houses, sharing the stage with distinguished performers such as Victoria de Los Angeles, Luciano Pavarotti, Joan Sutherland, Cesare Siepi, Placido Domingo, Kiri Te Kanawa, and Maria Callas. Joseph Rouleau has sung all around the world in over 49 operas.
His impressive discography includes Semiramide by Rossini, L’Enfance du Christ by Berlioz, a recording entitled Grands airs d’opéra français, as well as a three-disk tribute boxed set released on the Analekta label in 2011 and an opera-concert recording of Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov produced in 1988 by Radio-Canada.
In 2004, Joseph Rouleau was appointed Grand Officier de l’ordre national du Québec and received the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award. He as well founded the Mouvement d’action pour l’art lyrique du Québec, which later became the Opéra de Montréal.
Named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1977, Joseph Rouleau was in 2010 promoted to Companion, the highest honour in Canada. This was in recognition of a lifetime of outstanding achievement and merit of the highest degree, especially in service to Canada or to humanity at large.
Furthermore, in recognition of his musical contribution to society, McGill University conferred upon him an honorary doctorate in June 2009, as had the Université du Québec à Rimouski in 2001. In his honour, one of the buildings of the Domaine Forget was renamed the Pavillon Joseph-Rouleau, and Matane’s new cultural complex also bears his name.
The Université du Québec à Montréal, where he taught voice from 1980 to 1998, named him professor emeritus in 2007. Joseph Rouleau has been president of Jeunesses Musicales of Canada over 20 years and co-founded the Montreal International Musical Competition.