Blanche DuBuisson, singer (1879-circa 1950)

Blanche Fournier was born in Québec on December 1, 1879, the 17th in a family of 22 children. She married Damase Champagne in 1898 and made her professional debut at the Salle Jacques-Cartier, in Québec, with Mr. Grévin's troupe. The couple settled in Montréal in 1899. Blanche subsequently took the stage name DuBuisson and appeared at the Eldorado, the most chic concert café in Montreal.

In 1900 or 1901, Blanche DuBuisson played alongside her husband in Sohmer Park in productions of Carmen, Les cloches de Corneville, La mascotte, La fille du tambour-major, La Traviata, and Lucia di Lammermoor, under the direction of Ernest Lavigne. In the same year, the couple toured Saint-Pierre and Miquelon twice, with the F. Delville and Henri Miro troupes.

In 1902, Blanche DuBuisson appeared alongside her husband at the Bijou theatre, where they sang operetta and vaudeville selections with Louis Vérande, Lucien Boyer, and Albert Roberval. Their greatest hit, "Le papillon et l'hirondelle," helped launch Blanche DuBuisson's 40-year career.

In 1903, she returned to Québec. There, she sang in a number of operettas alongside her husband, as well as Rose Delyus, Juana Laviolette, and Victor Occellier. For many years, she was a headliner at the Théâtre national and the Théâtre des Nouveautés, both popular Montréal establishments. During this period, she worked with Fréjust, Granier, Paul Gury, and Nana de Varennes, and toured with Albert Roberval, Albert Duquesne, Paul Coutlée, and Elzéar Hamel.

Upon her return from touring, Blanche DuBuisson performed various operetta roles at the Théâtre canadien-français (at the corner of Sainte-Catherine and Saint-André streets in Montréal) with a troupe including Jeanne Maubourg, Simone Rivière, Darcy, Armand Robi and Hector Pellerin. In these shows, Blanche always played the hectoring mother, a role which resulted in permanent damage to her voice.

She then turned to theatre, first playing in Madame Sans-gêne, directed by Jean-Baptiste Mallet. In the 1920s, she was featured at the main theatres in Montréal and Québec. In 1935, Robert Choquette asked her to take on the role of Madame Bouchard in his soap opera "Le curé de village" (CKAC, 1935-1938). She subsequently played in a number of other soap operas: "Un homme et son péché" (SRC, 1939-1956); "Jeunesse dorée" (SRC, 1942-1966); and "La métairie Rancourt" (SRC, CKAC, 1941-1952). Blanche DuBuisson died in Montréal in the 1950s.

Source: Unpublished research notes by Robert Thérien, music researcher, Montréal

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