Broadcast Run: 1954 to 1966
Broadcast Medium: Television
Claire Gagnier, Jean-Paul Jeannotte and Yoland Guérard in “Le Retable de maître Pierre” by Manuel de Falla (1956)
The program aired from January 14, 1954 to March 31, 1966. Radio-Canada’s L’Heure du concert was dedicated to broadcasting opera, operettas and ballet, as well symphonies and concertos, in unabridged form or as excerpts, sometimes accompanied by a soloist’s recital of variable duration. The series would go on hiatus during the summer months. It was first broadcast only on the French network, but later on, many programs were broadcast over the English network as well, indeed, broadcast live over both networks simultaneously or, with the advent of videotape, aired from a previous recording. In exchange, certain musical programs produced by the English network were broadcast in the L’Heure d concert time slot.
The principal architect of these productions, which would significantly enhance the reputation of Radio-Canada’s French language TV network, was Pierre Mercure. Mercure would eventually bring several other talented creative artists on board including Jean-Yves Landry, Pierre Morin and Guy Parent; art directors such as Claude Jasmin, Robert Prévost and Jean-Claude Rinfret; costume designers such as Solange Legendre, Richard Lorain, Claudette Picard and André Vaillancourt; and an illustrator, Frédérick Back.
As of 1954, Mercure hired two young Canadian musicians who had recently graduated from the RCMT: Glenn Gould and Jon Vickers. “L’Heure du concert” thereby initiated a policy, which would be maintained thereafter, to showcase the talent of as many Canadian artists as possible. Indeed, several productions boasted an entirely Canadian cast.
In the months following Mercure’s death, the program underwent a variety of changes. As of September 18, 1966, “L’Heure du concert” was integrated into “Les Beaux Dimanches”.
Written by Yvon Chouinard – January, 2006