This fall, Montreal’s visual and performing arts scene is as hot as the summer of 2012 was: see thought-provoking visual art, world-class dance and circus, and emotionally rousing theatre of all genres. And if you’re here September 28-30, take in as much of Montreal’s arts and culture scene as you can handle during the city-wide Journées de la Culture, a weekend of special exhibitions, activities and performances at museums, galleries, theatres and even in the streets…
(art) The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts wraps up the fantastic Tom Wesselman pop-art exhibition on October 7, Dominique Blain’s army boot-populated Missa is in the Contemporary Art Square, and the Museum’s permanent collection, including new show Once Upon a Time… Impressionism, as well as a concert program and new activities for kids. Beginning October 4, The Musee d’art contemporain showcases over 60 pieces by contemporary Canadian painter Pierre Dorion and amazing video, photography and performance work by artist Janet Biggs.
At Old Montreal’s DHC/Art, Japanese artist Ryoji Ikeda stimulates eyes, ears and minds until November 18, while at the PHI Centre see live shows that combine art and music and well as an ongoing program of skateboarding films and electric art by Alexandre Burton. Mind-expanding art abounds in the multi-storey Belgo building downtown, and venture over to the Darling Foundry, celebrating its 10th anniversary, and to Parisian Laundry in St-Henri to see work by Rick Leong, Dean Baldwin and more great locals.
(dance) One of Montreal’s premier dance promotors, Danse Danse, offers an astounding program in the fall 2012 season, beginning with BJM – Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal’s captivating 40th anniversary show, September 27-29, followed by Hofesh Shechter Company’s Political Mother, November 1-3, and later in November, Usually beauty fails, a show from Montreal’s Frédérick Gravel and GAG, José Navas’ Diptych, and new work by choreographer Aszure Barton.
Les Grands Ballets Canadiennes goes big with Jiří Kylián’s Japanese folk-tale-inspired Kaguyahime: The Moon Princess, October 11-27. Over at Agora de la danse, the amazing choreographer Crystal Pite captures the spirit of Shakespeare in The Tempest Replica, Sarah Bertrand-Hamel’s La récurrence dans les suites, Paul-André Fortier’s Vertiges, and more at Agora, Tangente, the MAI, Cinquieme Salle and beyond.
(theatre) English and French-language theatre abounds in Montreal, but if Italian’s your thing, take in Verdi’s La Traviata at L’Opéra de Montréal, September 15-22. The Segal Centre puts on song-and-dance classic Guys and Dolls, September 30-October 28, and in November, RED, a theatrical take of the work of painter Mark Rothko, as well as smaller shows like Metachroma Theatre’s Richard III, September 19-30, and Black Theatre Workshop’s Harlem Duet, October. 24-November 11.
At Centaur Theatre in the heart of Old Montreal, see the English-language premier of Jeans Marc Dalpé’s family-reunion drama, August, An Afternoon in the Country, October 2-28, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Lindsay-Abaire’s Good People, November 6-December 9, and Scapegoat Carnivale Theatre stages Euripides’ Greek tragedy of Dionysian revenge, The Bacchae, in a new translation and with an new original score, October 12-20. French-language theatre can be found at Théâtre du Nouveau Monde, Théâtre d’Aujourd’hui, Espace Go and many more venues, and for more English-language theatre at Mainline Theatre, Theatre Ste-Catherine and elsewhere see the comprehensive Quebec Drama Federation’s fall calendar.
(circus) Circus is a big deal in Montreal, and not only because of Cirque du Soleil – the city even has a fully dedicated circus centre, La Tohu, where performers and companies from around the world take up residence throughout the year. This fall, see Cirque Éloize fly high in dramatic tale iD, September 20-October 6. Quebec-based circus Les 7 doigts de la main performs their spectacular, 8-acrobat-strong Sequence 8, October 30-November 10, and Cirque Alfonse takes over October 18-December 31, turning La Tohu into a bustling logging camp, compete with fresh-cut fir trees and a festive, family-friendly New Year’s Eve party.