In 2000, at the age of 24, contralto MARIE-NICOLE LEMIEUX was the first Canadian to win the 1st Prize as well as the Special Prize for Lieder at the Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition of Belgium. Winning this award opened the door to an immediate international career, allowing her to perform in recital and in concert with many great orchestras, such as l'Orchestre National de France, l'Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse, l'Orchestre Symphonique de la Monnaie, l'Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, the Academy of Ancient Music, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Les Musiciens du Louvre, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin, l'Ensemble Matheus, Les Violons du Roy, l'Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, Modo Antiquo, the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, l'Orchestre Philharmonique de Saint-Pétersbourg, l'Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. She has sung with conductors such as Richard Bradshaw, Franz-Paul Decker, Charles Dutoit, Paul Goodwin, Bernard Labadie, Neville Marriner, Kurt Masur, Marc Minkowski, John Nelson, Gianandrea Noseda, Michel Plasson, Federico Maria Sardelli, Michael Schonwandt, Marc Soustrot, Yoav Talmi, Ilan Volkov, and Pinchas Zukerman.
Each year, Lemieux is invited to sing in international music festivals, both in North America and abroad. Performing regularly on stage, she sings roles by Berlioz (Ursule, in Béatrice et Bénédict and Anna in Les Troyens), Gluck (Orfeo, in Orfeo ed Euridice), Haendel (Bradamante, in Alcina; Cornelia, in Giulio Cesare; Unulfo and Eduige in Rodelinda), Honneger (Catherine, in Jeanne d'Arc au bûcher), Mozart (the Third Lady in Die Zauberflöte), Rossini (Isaura, in Tancredi), Verdi (Mrs. Quickly in Falstaff), Vivaldi (Orlando, in Orlando furioso), and Wagner (Flosshilde in Götterdämmerung), among others. In 2005, she made her debut with the Staatsoper Berlin, performing in Monteverdi's Il ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria under René Jacobs. Later that same year, she performed the role of Mitrena in the world premiere of the opera Motezuma, by Vivaldi, at De Doelen in Rotterdam.
Lemieux has recorded for various labels. She took part in two recordings on Cypress (Belgium); she sang in Mozart's Requiem with Les Violons du Roy, for Dorian Recordings (Juno Award); she recorded three CDs with Analekta: Handel (Italian Cantatas, Vol. 1); Scarlatti and Vivaldi (Salve Regina and Stabat Mater), and Brahms (Lieder). In 2004, she recorded the title role in Vivaldi's Orlando furioso with Ensemble Matheus, under Jean-Christophe Spinosi for the French Naïve label. This recording was acclaimed as the "Best Recording of the Year" at the French Victoires de la Musique in Paris, in 2005. Lemieux also sang the role of Unulfo in Handel's Rodelinda with Il Complesso Barocco, under Alan Curtis, for Deutsche Grammophon.