Bernard Labadie returns to Quebec City with Mozart's Requiem after illness

A performance tonight by the Violons du Roy marks the return of the ensemble's founder Bernard Labadie, 18 months after his cancer diagnosis.

'It's an immense gift, this moment that I have imagined in my mind for a long time,' ensemble's founder says

Bernard Labadie in rehearsal with the ensemble he founded les Violons du Roy and the choeur La Chapelle de Québec. (Radio Canada/Anne-Josée Cameron)

Tonight will be an emotional one for Bernard Labadie, the founder of the Quebec City based Violons du Roy. 

He returns to the stage in his hometown, a year and a half after being diagnosed with an aggressive blood cancer. 

The Violons du Roy as well as the Choeur la Chapelle de Quebec will perform Mozart's Mass in C Minor and Requiem. 

Labadie said it was a great joy to work again with his team. 

"It's an immense gift, this moment that I have imagined in my mind for a long time," he said.

Bernard Labadie says the Violons du Roy's performance of Mozart's Requiem will be one of the most important events of his life. He was diagnosed with cancer 18 months ago. (Radio Canada)

In fact, Labadie said he often imagined working again with his musicians while fighting his illness. 

"The idea gave me hope, to not give up," he said. 

Labadie's treatment involved a stem cell transplant from a family member and he was put into an induced coma at one point. 

The conductor has been working since December. 

He led the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in three performances of Mozart's Requiem in January. 

Tonight and Thursday night's homecoming performances at Palais Montcalm are both sold out.