Born in 1979 in Rennes, Charles Barbier was fascinated by the voice from a very young age and joined the Maîtrise de Bretagne and the Conservatoire National de Région de Rennes. He then continued his studies at the University of Rennes 2 and at the National School of Music of Vannes-Pontivy, in the class of Agnès Brosset, where he obtained a prize for vocal and pedagogical improvement. He completed his studies in acoustics, Gregorian choral conducting and Labanotation at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris and then went on to perfect his conducting skills in the class of Prof. Leif Segerstam at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki (where he also worked with Prof. Jorma Panula) after having studied continuo (Dr. Assi Karttunen) and choral conducting (Prof. Matti Hyökki).
Tenor and sopranist, his repertoire ranges from the 7th to the 21st century. One can thus hear him in about thirty countries, from Japan (Universal Exhibition of 2005) to Colombia, through Canada or the Philippines.
In choir he sings with The Elements or the Spiritual Concert. As a soloist, he sings in the Magnificat, the Mass in B, the Christmas Oratorio, the Passions and Cantatas by J.S. Bach, the Mass in C and the Ninth Symphony by L. van Beethoven (DVD to come with the Salzburg Mozarteum under the direction of Leopold Hager), the Sieben Frühe Lieder by A. Berg, the Rappresentatione di anima e du Corpo by E. Cavalieri, the Midnight Mass by M.A. Charpentier, the Mass in D by A. Dvořák, C. Franck’s Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross, C. Gounod’s Solemn Mass at Saint Cecilia, S. Gubaïdulina’s Canticle of the Sun, Handel’s Messiah, J. Haydn’s Stabat Mater, G. G.’s Kindertotenlieder and Das Lied von der Erde by G. Mahler, Il Combattimento by Tancredi e Clorinda and Vespers by C. Monteverdi, the Requiem, the Mass in C and the Coronation Mass by W.A. Mozart, Come ye sons of art by H. Purcell, the Petite Messe Solennelle by G. Rossini or Der Rose Pilgefahrt by R. Schumann.
On stage, he has already interpreted various lyrical works: “Père” (Chemin Faisant) by V. Bouchot, Richard the Lionheart (title role) by A. Grétry, “Filasse la grimace” (La Nuit Filasse) by F. Lory, “Belmonte” (Die Entführung aus dem Serail) by W.A. Mozart. Alongside Salome Haller, he played “Ruggiero” (Alcina) by G. F. Handel in a production by Erik Kruger under the direction of Martin Gester. With the same director he sang the role of “Macheath” (Beggar’s opera) by B. Britten. At the Capitole of Toulouse he sang for the world premiere of Pierre Jodlowski’s “Aire du dire” whose DVD was awarded the Diamant d’Opéra. At the Paris Opera, based on an idea by Benjamin Millepied, he took part in a creation of Ayoung Kim choreographed by Sébastien Bertaud for six singers and six dancers, in connection with the Palais de Tokyo. At the Royal Opera of Versailles on tour and on DVD he sang “l’amant” (Don Quichotte chez la Duchesse) by J.B. De Boismortier directed by Shirley & Dino, under the direction of Hervé Niquet.
As Choir director and Conductor, he has been invited to conduct various ensembles such as the Helsinki Chamber Choir, the Paris Gregorian Choir, the Estonian National Men’s Choir, EMO Ensemble, the Mongolian National Opera, the Finnish Baroque Orchestra, the HAKO Orchestra, the Auvergne National Orchestra, the Mongolian Philharmonic Orchestra or Utopia in programs ranging from Gregorian chant to contemporary opera. From 2008 to 2013 Charles Barbier has been the principal guest conductor of the Orchestre Les Lumières, an international ensemble based in Finland and playing on period instruments. In 2010, he created l’Echelle, of which he is artistic director with Caroline Marçot, who was in residence at the Cuenca Festival (Spain) in 2012 and toured Finland in early 2013. He has recorded two discs with this ensemble for the Paraty label. Since 2018 he has taken over from Pascal Crittin at the head of the Ensemble Vocal de Saint-Maurice.
Fascinated by his time, he has already performed – both as conductor and singer – world creations by V. Bouchot, P. Haapanen, K. Hakola, P. Jakubowski, P. Jodlowski, T. Lacôte, P. Leroux, T. Machuel, C. Marçot, A. Markeas, J.- C. Marti, Z. Moultaka, S. Rissanen, T. Räisänen, F. Stanzl, T. Wille -including the musical direction of two operas by F. Lory and H. Rechberger- and national creations by E. Carter, J. Copeaux, P. Dusapin, B. Furrer, P. Jakubowski, P. Hersant, A. Pärt and H. Tulve.
In the Diapason magazine of summer 2016, Ivan A. Alexandre writes about the singer-director videos in which Charles Barbier performs Berg’s lieder, which he considers one of the “pearls of the net”: “Never heard that”/”the young Barbier embraces everything, really everything, from the 7th to the 21st. A phenomenon”.
Charles Barbier is also a musical adviser and singer for the cinema, which has earned him the opportunity to climb the steps of the Cannes Film Festival for Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi’s Un Château en Italie and to collaborate with the Comédie Française for Oblomov directed by Guillaume Gallienne for Arte.
In 2018 he was appointed Director of Music at the Abbey of Saint-Maurice (VS). From 2020 he also became advisor for the cultural programming of the Abbey of Payerne (VD).