Opera de Montreal Celebrates Its 30th Anniversary

Posted on September 2nd, 2009 by .

Many people still think opera is an inaccessible type of art, maybe a little too difficult to understand or truly engage with.  I don’t agree. Read more to find out why I think opera might actually be the best form of total art – and why you shouldn’t miss this season’s new program.
It’s funny, because I think opera might actually be a form of total art; it includes the best of theatre, music, writing and visual arts. It’s not just about people killing themselves and agonizing for three hours; it’s also one of the most beautiful ways to describe our human nature, with its qualities and its imperfections. Whether they make us laugh or cry, operas reveal an essential part of who we are as human beings.

What I find really cool about OPERA DE MONTREAL’s program is that they always try to mix classical and contemporary, with a plucky approach to the world’s most famous opera creations. I remember seeing L’Étoile, from Emmanuel Chabrier, in a retro-futuristic stage setting that resembled Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. For Bizet’s Carmen, they also introduced a new version that was set in a South American favella rather than Spain, with graffiti art painted all over the walls.

To celebrate their 30th anniversary, the opera presents some of the classics from the opera repertory, but also offers a bunch of lesser-known acts. You will find Pagliacci by Leoncavallo, a tragic love triangle between three vagabond actors, Puccini’s beautiful Gianni Schicchi, and Mozart’s Magic Flute. You shouldn’t miss Puccini’s Tosca, with the famous aria “Casta Diva”, Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra, an epic drama set in the Italian court during Renaissance, as well as Massenet’s classic masterpiece Cendrillon, inspired by Charles Perrault’s ageless fairytale. (Check out OPERA DE MONTREAL’S WEBSITE for all dates and ticket info).

For those who wonder if it’s really worth getting a ticket for one of Opera de Montreal’s shows, I would argue that the difference between a live opera and a classical album is the same experiencing a movie on DVD and going out at the movie theatre. You are overwhelmed by different sensations that you won’t ever achieve at home. It’s a visual and musical feast, and you need to immerge yourself into it to understand the beauty of this exceptional form of art, while listening to some of the most beautiful music ever composed. You’ll feel completely transformed.

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