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MASSENET’S WERTHER: A NIGHT AT THE OPERA

The Opéra de Montréal debuted their latest production, Werther by Massenet (January 22-February 3 at Place des Arts), this past weekend and the Montreal Buzz was there to take it all in… French composer Jules Massenet based his libretto, Werther, on Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther, a novel so popular that its publication in the late 18th century created a “Werther Fever”, which caused young men to dress in the style of the protagonist and even, in some extreme cases, to commit copycat suicides. Massenet’s Werther stays faithful to Goethe’s narrative arc: the young artist Werther falls in love with the beautiful and caring Charlotte, even though she is already engaged to another man. Werther runs off to escape his feelings for her, but returns only to find his love for her has not diminished and that desperate measures must be taken. A story about a tortured young artist deep in throes of love? A perfect fit for a city that gave Leonard Cohen to the world…

MONTREAL IN THE NEWS

Giamatti has a city crush Probably the biggest news item about Montreal this week, though not for Montrealers, is that we’re the city dreams are made of. Seems that Barney’s Version is has muscular awards-season legs–Paul Giamatti, who plays the titular Barney in the movie, won the Best Actor award at the Golden Globes (which are widely considered to be precursors to the Oscars in March).

THIS WEEKEND IN MONTREAL (JANUARY 20 TO 22)

This weekend, January 20-22, has it all: ballet, dancing, electro bands, The Habs and even a little sunshine imported directly Cuba… [Ice Dancing] Igloofest: Once again the Old Port’s Igloofest tops our weekend party options. Click here to see a video of one of our bloggers’ initiation into this very “a la Montreal” event… [Ballet] BJM Danse, which was formerly known as Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal), gives you lots of bang for your ballet buck with a bill that includes works from Mauro Bigonzetti, Cayetano Soto and Ochoa at Theatre Maisoneuve.

THE HEAT IS ON AT IGLOOFEST

Last week I went to my first Igloofest. Or, as one friend put it, “You lost your Igloofest virginity.” [Insert happy face here.] While I can’t exactly say I’m a brand new woman, I do have a new appreciation for the month of January. How, I wonder, did the last three editions of this massive outdoor party ever pass me by?

A TEXAN’S TRIBUTE TO BUNDLED MONTREALERS

Texan-based artist Susi Brister knows Montreal well.  She attended  Concordia University’s internationally renowned fine arts program for her Masters.  Susi was back in Montreal recently for her first solo show in Canada.  While you are in town, check it out at Parisian Laundry Menagerie has lightness, wit and charm.

OLD MONTREAL GOURMAND À GO-GO

The Happening Gourmand festival is happening right now (it started Jan. 10) and will run until Jan. 31. For any Toronto-folk reading this and scratching their heads, this is sort of like your Winterlicious. For Manhattanites, think New York Restaurant Week, only smaller and wrapped up in Old World charm and ambience.

THIS WEEKEND IN MONTREAL (JANUARY 14 TO 16)

If this weekend saw last weekend in a bar it probably wouldn’t even talk to it. Here’s what’s happening in Montreal this time around… [Party Time] IGLOOFEST: If you’re wondering where Montrealers are going to be getting down this weekend, look no further… [Foodie Fun] HAPPENING GOURMAND: New York may have “restaurant week” but Montreal has “Happening Gourmand”, which is a bunch of great restos offering food at an entirely reasonable price…

JANUARY CONCERT ROUNDUP

From some of the city’s best local bands to shows from some of the biggest names in rap, pop and indie rock, Montreal’s January Concert schedule has clearly made a resolution to be pretty awesome…

M0851: QUALITY MADE IN MONTREAL

I like to travel light, usually limiting my luggage to a laptop bag and a carry-on. Simply. Effectively. I like pretty objects that are practical, good designs that last but that are nonetheless remarkable. One of the things I systematically get asked about when I travel–and I swear it happens every time–is: – Excuse me, but may I ask where you got your bag? – Oh, this bag? (I can see their eyes searching for a known brand tag…) It’s from M0851. – It’s really nice. I love the minimal look. Is it from Tokyo? – Actually no, it’s from Montreal. – Reaaaaally…? That leather looks very expensive… – …But it’s not, seriously… – Looks like you just bought it. – I’ve had this one for close to ten years now… …and the conversation often goes on and on to a point where I feel like an actual M0851 salesperson. And you know what? I always feel this certain pride in “showcasing” a distinctive and such well-made product made in Montreal.

NEIGHBOURHOOD 101: SHERBROOKE STREET WEST. MONTREAL’S GOLDEN MILE

Montreal’s Golden Mile was where the wealthy families of the city once lived about a century ago.  Large mansions, with coach houses for horses and staff, lined stately Sherbrooke Street, from Guy almost to University Street.  Sadly, many of these architectural marvels no longer exist, lost to the inevitable march of progress.  However, today Sherbrooke Street is home to some of the best shopping in Montreal.Couture fashion labels-  Gucci, Hermès, Dior, Escada -  share space with prestigious antique dealers and art galleries, where you can buy a Picasso, work from the Group of Seven, a cutting edge piece sure to grow in value, or works from local artist / photographer Amel Chamandy at her gallery.