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Montréal’s Autumn 2016 opera, ballet and classical music season

Montréal’s Autumn 2016 cultural season has many treats in store for lovers of opera, ballet and classical music. International stars will grace Montreal’s finest stages, including Russian classical pianist Denis Matsuev; Canadian contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux; Chinese-American cellist Yo-Yo Ma; as well as Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the Montreal-born conductor and music director of the Orchestre Métropolitain recently named music director of the Metropolitan Opera in New York beginning in 2020. The Opéra de Montréal launches their 37th season with a big-budget production of Guiseppe Verdi’s three-act masterpiece Aida, set in Ancient Egypt and first performed at Cairo’s Khedivial Opera House in 1871. The Montreal production runs Sept. 17 to 24 and stars Russian soprano Anna Markarova as Aida and Bulgarian tenor Kamen Chanev as Radames. The orchestra will be lead by legendary American conductor Paul Nadler. “Aida is the grandest of grand operas, it is an inexhaustable part of the repertoire,” says Opéra de Montréal’s newly-appointed GM Patrick Corrigan. “Its humanity, its beauty, its context in terms of politics and history and art, is still so significant.” The Opéra de Montréal will follow-up Aida with a much-anticipated production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, which runs Nov. 12 to 19, starring Canadian bass-baritone Gordon Bintner in the title role, as well as tenor… / Read More →

Free things to do this fall in Montréal

Montréal in the fall is a beautiful sight, and taking it all in can easily be done on a budget – free stuff abounds! Summery weather usually lasts through September and early October, meaning outdoor events and activities are plentiful. It’s always free to see the changing leaves, but Montréal’s got even more no-cost entertainment in store right through November. Outdoor life Take a walk from Parc Avenue into the relative wilderness of Mount Royal Park – climbing the stairs to the top is absolutely worth it for the view of downtown and the Saint Lawrence River. Even easier, a stroll through beautiful Parc La Fontaine, or hop on the metro to Parc Jean-Drapeau where riverside trails await – the park is also home to the Stewart Museum, free for kids 12 and under, and Biosphère Environment Museum, free for youth 17 and under. Explore Old Montréal at nightfall through multimedia smartphone tour Cité Mémoire, where images come alive on building facades. And walk around downtown and the Plateau to discover murals and more street art around every bend. Throughout September, find activities and entertainment at outdoor markets Jardins Gamelin and Village au Pied-du-Courant downtown, and, until November, Marché des Éclusiers in the Old Port. On Sept. 11, watch athletes ride… / Read More →

“Robert Mapplethorpe: Perfection” at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe once famously said, “I am looking for perfection in form. I do that with portraits. I do it with cocks. I do it with flowers.” Now, 27 years after his death from AIDS-related complications in March 1989, the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts celebrates everything Mapplethorpe in its new blockbuster exhibition Focus: Perfection – Robert Mapplethorpe, which opens on Sept. 10 and continues to Jan. 22, 2017. Focus: Perfection is the first major North American retrospective of Mapplethorpe since Cincinnati’s Contemporary Arts Center and CAC director Dennis Barrie were criminally charged with obscenity after the controversial Mapplethorpe exhibition The Perfect Moment opened at the CAC in April 1990 at the height of America’s Culture Wars. An eight-person jury eventually found the defendants not guilty, and the controversy itself figures in the MMFA’s new exhibition. “We did have Cincinnati in the back of our minds as we were putting this together,” says Diane Charbonneau, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Decorative Arts and Photography at the MMFA. “Cincinnati was a turning point in Mapplethorpe’s career, even though by then he had already passed away. Today we have a different reading of Mapplethorpe who used to say (about his… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal September 2 to 8

Summer doesn’t stop for September in Montréal. Rhroughout Labour Day weekend and well afterwards, outdoor events – from food festivals to lantern-lit garden walka – and all kinds of stage-and-screen entertainment keep going strong. Labour Day long weekend The last long weekend of summer is fittingly packed: we’ve got the inside scoop on what to do this Labour Day Weekend in Montréal – an array of activities for all ages, incuding live music, art gallery tours, a glittering evening walk through the Gardens of Light at the Botanical Garden, and excellent food at Festival YUL EAT all weekend and at First Fridays on Sept. 2. Hey, you can even make a final decision on dresses and place settings at Le Grand Salon Marions-nous wedding fair. Extended days of summer Swing to the sound of music installation 21 Swings outside Place des Arts, or take a laid-back brunch, afternoon or gourmet dinner cruise with Croisières AML on the Saint-Lawrence River. Have a wonderful meal on Montréal’s favourite terrasses, and check out the entertainment, food and drink at markets Jardins Gamelin and Village au Pied-du-Courant downtown, Marché des Éclusiers in the Old Port and Les Jardineries at Olympic Park. And, Sept. 7-10, eat, drink, play games and dance to the beat of live music at outdoor festival OUMF on St-Denis Street downtown. On stage Kid… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: August 19 to 25

Montréal feels lively and carefree this week as the sun shines on family-friendly outdoor sports event Jackalope, the Fashion & Design Festival, the St-Laurent street fair, pretty parks and open-air bars, all with music and food to keep us going. Soak up summer Skateboarding, motocross, fixed gear biking, bouldering and a massive watergun fight await at JACKALOPE at Olympic Park, Aug. 19-21– but the family-friendly festival (kids 10 years and under get in free! And there’s a babysitting service!) isn’t only about extreme sports: chill out in a hammock, do some yoga, listen to live music from High Klassified, The Posterz and more artists, and eat great food from food trucks – later on, go to official after parties in Mile End. HOT AIR BALLOON SUNSET🎈#bucketlist #7yearani Une photo publiée par @sallysaleh le 15 Août 2016 à 17h23 PDT Slow down by swinging to the sound of musical art installation 21 Swings outside Place des Arts, or cruising along the Saint-Lawrence River on a laid-back brunch, afternoon or gourmet dinner cruise with Croisières AML. Or float above the city and countryside: hot air balloon and music festival International des Montgolfières Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu runs to Aug. 21 in nearby Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. Play time Watch the final three days of the Rio 2016… / Read More →

Your ultimate 2016 guide to Montréal’s many summer music festivals

The word “summer” is always music to our ears in Montréal, and not just because of the impending warming of the weather. It’s also when the city is beset by a veritable onslaught of amazing music festivals, everything from Osheaga to the Jazz Fest, and from MUTEK and Île Soniq to the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal’s Classical Spree. For four sunny, summery months, Montréal is truly a music lover’s paradise. Summer is synonymous with picnics, and summer in Montréal has become synonymous with Piknic Electronik, the wildly popular weekly outdoor electronic music dance party. Typically held in Parc Jean-Drapeau (on Île Ste-Hélène, across from Montréal’s Old Port), this year’s Piknic Electronik series runs every weekend from May 22 until Oct. 2. To see their 2016 programming, check here after May 10. Speaking of living life on the edge, it doesn’t get more musically adventurous than the annual Suoni Per Il Popolo festival, June 2-20. The now 16-year-old brainchild (brainteen?) of the founders of leading indie music scene venues Casa del Popolo and Sala Rossa, Suoni Per Il Popolo presents approximately 50 concerts featuring an eclectic range of experimental and avant-garde music and sound (think free jazz, musique actuelle, avant-rock, noise, etc.)… / Read More →

Extraordinary places to get married in Montréal

Montréal is famously romantic, and it’s a go-to destination for couples getting engaged or getting married – especially thanks to the amazing exchange rate these days. But this city still has its secrets! For your Montréal marriage, think outside the box and get the local scoop on little-known, memory-making places that will make your special day the most extraordinary of all. Let’s Make History, Baby As one of Canada’s oldest cities, Montréal is neck deep in history. Its most famous neighbourhood is Old Montréal, replete with 18th century European charm – but how about taking it up a notch and tying the knot in a private chateau? The Pierre du Calvet private castle dates back to 1725, but today it’s a luxurious retreat complete with interior garden and gastronomic dining. You can not only hold your reception there, you can actually do the deed in the beautiful little chapel onsite! Other breathtaking spots include Château Ramezay and Château Dufresne, both historic private homes that can take you back in time in the most romantic way. An outstanding spot awaits discovery in the oldest chapel in the city, the Chapelle du Bonsecours (don’t miss the two paintings by famous artist Ozias… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: May 20 to 26

Outdoor life in Montréal heats up this week with the arrival of festivals and more activities – many of them free! – from multimedia projections on Old Montréal buildings to urban art by the river and live music and dance downtown. Sunny days, bright nights A new urban multimedia experience awaits visitors in Old Montréal and the Old Port: the 20 poetic and playful tableaux of Cité Mémoire are projected on the walls, in the alleys, on the ground and in the trees of the historic quarter, featuring images, dialogue and music that reveal some of the city’s most fascinating history. Also in the Old Port, the must-see Chromatic festival of urban art and music rocks under the high ceilings of Hangar 16, May 20-22, with free art exhibitions, interactive installations and live music during the day – the space transforms into a club at night. Under the big top nearby, Cirque du Soleil’s newest artistic and acrobatic LUZIA, inspired by the culture of Mexico, thrills to July 17. In Griffintown/Little Burgundy, one-of-a-kind creative business event C2 Montréal takes over the Arsenal gallery space May 24-26. Over in the Quartier des Spectacles, go on a guided walking tour of public… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal May 13 to 19

We’re already feeling the summer hype here in Montréal this week, with cutting-edge outdoor entertainment, farmers’ markets, walking tours and more fun under the sun, while our indoor venues light up with fabulous food and fashion, dynamic circus and drama, inspiring art and live music. Open-air entertainment The Quartier des Spectacles’ Jardins Gamelin officially opens for the season, offering a park-like atmosphere, delicious food (some from gourmet food trucks) and free entertainment in the heart of downtown near Berri-UQAM metro station. Take a picturesque guided walking tour of the Quartier des Spectacles – see public art, learn some of the city’s history, and stroll by and take a swing on interactive musical art installation 21 Swings, located on de Maisonneuve Boulevard outside Place des Arts. Walk around the city’s public markets, full of colourful fruits and veg, local meats and cheeses, full meals and delicious desserts. One step away from being outdoors, the must-see Chromatic festival of urban art and music kicks off on May 19 under the high ceilings of Hangar 16 in the Old Port, with art exhibitions, interactive installations and Afrobeat electro music by Pierre Kwenders. And under the big top nearby, see Cirque du Soleil’s newest… / Read More →

Blockbuster Spring and Summer 2016 Montréal Museum Exhibitions

Priceless antiquities from ancient Pompeii, the famous Moulin Rouge posters of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, the “shocking” homoerotic photographs of Robert Mapplethorpe and Italy’s iconic post-war fashion designers are just some of the blockbuster museum exhibitions on display in Montréal this spring and summer. The Montréal Museum of Fine Arts is having a huge year: Visitors are raving about the current POMPEII: A Roman City exhibition which chronicles the life and death of Pompeii, the wealthy playground for some of Rome’s most influential citizens that was destroyed by the spectacular volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. This deeply moving exhibition features nearly 200 archaeological artifacts – statues in bronze and marble, mosaics, frescoes and decorative arts – that offer an extraordinary glimpse into daily life at the height of the Roman Empire. POMPEII: A Roman City runs at the MMFA until Sept. 5. The MMFA also presents Toulouse-Lautrec Illustrates the Belle Époque about Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, one of the best-known painters of the Post-Impressionist period, famed for his posters commissioned by the Moulin Rouge in Paris. The exhibition features close to 100 works by Toulouse-Lautrec, including several rare or unique trial proofs. Toulouse-Lautrec Illustrates the Belle Époque runs from June 18 to Oct. 30. After premiering at the Los… / Read More →