December 19, 2013 — For 15 years, MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE has brightened the dark days of February with free outdoor entertainment, an array of gourmet food, theatrical delights and live music. This year, the winter festival welcomes rock legends Chicago, violinist Joshua Bell, top chefs such as Patrick Mould, an Aussie circus troupe, and more from February 20 to March 2…
Montréal en Lumière transforms several blocks of the city’s Quartier des Spectacles along Sainte-Catherine Street, closing the downtown area to traffic and bringing people together every evening – and it’s free! Ride the illuminated ice slide and the ferris wheel, look up to see all-new projection art on the sides of buildings, walk among a new interactive public art installation, play outdoor games with the whole family, wander from kiosk to kiosk sampling Montreal-made food and drink, warm up in giant dome-like tents where performances and films unfold. The festival culminates in one of the most anticipated events of the winter: Nuit Blanche on March 1, an extended night of activities throughout Old Montreal, downtown and the Plateau neighbourhood.
Take in glorious sights indoors as well, starting with the acrobatic entertainment of Australia’s Circus Oz –From the Ground Up! features 10 circus artists and three musicians in an inventive, absurdly comedic, stunt-filled show at Montreal’s circus centre La Tohu, February 27-March 9. The festival celebrates Montreal’s great love of dance with Florilège – 40 ans de poèmes chorégraphiques, a special presentation by legendary choreographer Margie Gillis, and Vancouver dance troupe Out Innerspace’s witty duet Me So You So Me. In theatre, see The Book of Bob, a contemporary update on The Book of Job and the perils of living a righteous life, and David Fennario’s Montreal-based working-class drama Motherhouse, set during World War I – both play at Centaur Theatre, while The Meeting, a fictionalized conversation between Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, plays at the Segal Centre, and Caligula (Remix) blends storytelling, opera and drama at Usine C.
Along with much-anticipated shows from Chicago and Blue Rodeo, one of Quebec’s favourite singer-songwriters, Michel Rivard plays the festival’s indoor opening concert, while the fest closes with Juliette Gréco singing the songs of Jacques Brel. The Grand Louisiana dinner-show brings musician Zachary Richard together with chef Patrick Mould at Bistro Le Balmoral. Violinist Joshua Bell, co-president of the festival this year along with Arcade Fire’s Régine Chassagne, plays music by Tartini, Beethoven and Stravinsky, while Chassagne herself hosts a carnival-themed benefit evening for Haiti called Kanaval Kanpe at the SAT. More hot nights of dancing come courtesy of Grammy-nominated Haitian band Boukman Eksperyans, Cuban group Sierra Maestra, DJ Champion and His G-Strings, and Speakeasy Electro Swing. Or sway to the sounds of Pierre Lapointe, Coral Egan, Basia Bulat, Random Recipe, and many more. In classical music, soprano Barbara Hendricks shares a collection of romantic and uplifting songs, while Katia and Marielle Labèque perform West Side Story+, ensemble Constantinople travels the Silk Road in music, and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and conductor Kent Nagano immerses listeners in John Adam’s Harmonielehre, an audio-visual experience like no other.