French-Canadian singer Geneviève Després made her U.S. debut in two critically acclaimed roles with the Virginia Opera. “…Despres followed her wonderfully etched performance of Flora in Virginia Opera's 31st season-opening production of La Traviata with an equally successful return engagement as Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro…” says Opera Canada. “…Despres brings to the stage a strong, rounded mezzo with appealingly substantial proportions. It's a solid, technically and artistically sound voice that enhances a production. She also exhibits a strong sense of theatre and the stage business that goes along with it. In Le Nozze, her characterization was delightful.”
In addition to her Virginia debuts, she has enjoyed a solid career in opera. She has sung in many productions such as: Roméo et Juliette (Gertrude), La Traviata (Flora), Le Nozze di Figaro (Marcellina), Rigoletto (Giovanna), Cavalleria Rusticana (Mamma Lucia, Santuzza cr), Les Dialogues des Carmélites (Mère Jeanne), Suor Angelica and Les Contes d’Hoffmann (Mère d’Antonia) in different north american opera houses: Opera de Montréal, Virginia Opera, Nashville Opera, Vancouver Opera and Opéra de Québec.
She was also a member of Atelier Lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal, where she performed the title role in Carmen on tour in over 40 performances, as well as several other roles on the main stage.
More recently, she has appeared as Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro with Opera Lyra in Ottawa, in Carmen (title role) and Metella in La Vie Parisienne with Les Productions Lyriques de Gatineau and Josepha in Benatski’s L’Auberge du Cheval Blanc with La Société Lyrique du Royaume.
As a noted concert artist, Ms. Després has performed with the Quebec Symphony Orchestra at the Lanaudière International Music Festival in Berlioz’s Les Nuits d’Été, as well as Das Lied von der Erde with the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, and excerpts of Mahler's Des Knaben Wunderhorn with the International Vysocina Music Festival in the Czech Republic. She was alto soloist with Laval Symphony Orchestra for Vivaldi’s Gloria and St-John’s Passion and Beethoven 9th with l’Orchestre de la Francophonie, wich has been released in February 2010 on the Analekta label. She also is on the recording of L’Enfant et les Sortilèges with Nashville Symphony Orchestra (Naxos label) that has been nominated for a Grammy award in 2010.
She also made her mark in canadian contemporary music in pieces such as Murray Schafer's Beauty and the Beast and The Pines of Emily Carr by Jean Coulthard. In 2010 she toured with Orchestre de la Francophonie, creating Andrew Staniland's piece Only Darkness. The last concert was recorded and aired by Radio-Canada at the Domaine Forget International Festival.
This season, she has been heard in Mahler's Kindertotenlieder with the Orchestre de l'Isle. At the Festival des Hautes Laurentides she sang Les Chants d'Auvergne de Canteloube with Appassionata orchestra. She also did an Opera Gala concert with La Sinfonia de Lanaudière.