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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 →

Things to do in Montréal: August 12 to 18

Relax the way Montrealers do in August with outdoor classical music concerts and film screenings, set your kids free at family-focused events, or party like a Montrealer at Montréal Pride and the Fashion & Design Festival. And definitely eat like a Montrealer – we’ve got recommendations. Music for all ages Classical music enthusiasts of all ages will love the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal Couche-Tarde Classical Spree, August 10-13: 30 affordable concerts at Place des Arts starting with Kent Nagano conducting the OSM in Chariots of Fire, plus matinée shows for kids, free activities and two free outdoor concerts: Mozart’s Magic Flute opera on Aug. 12 at 7 pm, and four orchestras performing in Spotlight on Youth on Aug. 13 at 10:30 am. Make your own music just by swinging: outdoor art installation 21 Swings is back until Sept. 5 outside Place des Arts. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts transforms a side street into Toulouse-Lautrec’s Belle Époque on Aug. 13 at noon, featuring Cancan dancers and music by the Alex Francoeur jazz trio. La Tohu circus centre hosts FALLA, a free event of world music, circus acts and kids activities, Aug. 11-13. And the Olympic Park hosts kids event Carnaval estival on Aug. 13. Montréal Pride… / Read More →

La Virée Classique: Symphony Under the Stars

The world-renowned Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal kicks off its fifth annual OSM Couche‐Tard Classical Spree festival with its big free outdoor concert for tens of thousands of classical-music lovers on the esplanade outside Olympic Stadium on August 10. This outdoor concert is a unique Montréal tradition that, says OSM conductor and music director Kent Nagano, unites people from “across all socio-economic classes, all cultural and racial backgrounds, all nationalities and all generations.” The OSM’s Classical Spree festival – known locally as La Virée Classique OSM – will also feature three additional free outdoor concerts at the Quartier des Spectacles, as well as a series of 30 ticketed indoor concerts at Place des Arts, from Aug. 10 to 13. The opening Galaxy of Heroes concert at the Parc Olympique on Aug. 10 will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Montréal’s 1976 Summer Olympic Games and the athletes who left their mark on the global Olympic movement. The Olympics is also the theme for the OSM’s Chariots of Fire indoor concert at the Maison symphonique on Aug. 12. “People associate this music with the film Chariots of Fire, a great film about the Olympics,” says the California-born Nagano. “We wanted to carry on… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: August 5 to 11

August in Montréal means it’s time to relax a little even while festival season keeps the energy high. This week we’ve got classical, metal, electronic dance music, anime and First Peoples festivals along with the start of Montréal Pride and the Olympics – plus all the food and drink to match. Festival pride Classical music meets the Olympic spirit this week at the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal’s Couche-Tard Classical Spree main event on August 10: free, outdoor show Galaxy of Heroes pays tribute to the 40th anniversary of Montréal’s 1976 Summer Olympics, at Olympic Park – music enthusiasts also won’t want to miss the Spree’s many affordable and abundant concerts, August 10-13 in the Quartier des Spectacles. Traditional music and hip hop, video and film, art and theatre made by Aboriginal artists take the spotlight as the Présence Autochtone Montréal First Peoples Festival, August 3-10 in and around the Quartier des Spectacles – evening shows include Innu singer Shauit on August 5 and Soirée ÉlectroChoc on August 6. Montréal Pride celebrates its 10th edition with parties, community and art events, cabaret shows, parades and more, August 8-14. For more festival fun, including Heavy Montréal and ÎleSoniq, see our live music section below. Fun and games The world… / Read More →

Your August guide to Montréal summer music festivals

The word “summer” is always music to our ears in Montréal, and not just because of the warm 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. Here is your August guide to Montréal summer music festivals. The Présence Autochtone Montréal First Peoples Festival celebrates  its 26th edition, August 3 to 10. Theirs is an expansive programme of outdoor concerts (hip-hop to rock to Inuit throat singing to you name it), aboriginal video and film (a veritable international film fest unto itself), outdoor street theatre, native art and a variety of other events and entertainment all taking place in and around the Quartier des Spectacles. Heavy Montréal blasts big chunks of hard rock, August 5 to 7. Death metal, hair metal, black metal, hard rock and hardcore are all on the agenda, and this year’s line-up is sick with the likes of Five Finger Death Punch, Disturbed, Nightwish and Volbeat, to name a few. Parc Jean-Drapeau remains at the center of… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: May 6 to 12

Mothers make the world go ‘round, and Montréal knows it – the city is set to celebrate all moms this weekend, whether at brunch or the spa, the garden or craft fairs, cocktail bars or the beer fest. There’s also Cirque du Soleil’s newest show for the whole family, a big food truck event, and evening entertainment, from symphony orchestras and ballet to musicals and  electro dance nights. Mothers’ Day Treat Moms to something special in Montréal this weekend. Numerous restaurants offer a Mother’s Day special Sunday brunch menus: the Ritz-Carlton hosts brunch and a live jazz band, while 400 Coups, Restaurant Tandem, Restaurant Helena, Les Cavistes, Chez Alexandre and Industria Brasserie Italienne celebrate mothers with multi-course prix-fixe meals. Brunch favourites Tapas 24, Mercuri, Nolana and Madre also celebrate the day with great food and service, as do many more restaurants around the city. Our guide to living in the lap of luxury in Montréal details where to shop for locally designed and internationally desired fashion, and find high-class food and drink to go with it – plus the most relaxing spas around. If you’re coming to the city with kids, look into staying at a family-friendly hotel and wonder… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: April 1 to 7

April arrives in Montréal as sugar shack season begins to wind down – get your fill of maple syrup and more food before it’s over – and award-winning restaurants revamp menus while the spring cultural calendar heats up with multimedia art, dance, theatre, orchestra concerts and all kinds of live music. April flowers Step into Montréal’s Botanical Garden to see the very beginnings of spring in bud and sample maple taffy on snow during sugaring off time (only until April 3!), while indoors butterflies go free and caterpillars cocoon, and the Botanical Garden restaurant’s special Sugar Shack menu keeps everyone well fed to April 24. If you’re extending your Spring Break in Montréal, consult our Guide to Spring Break Montréal Style and Montréal nightlife guide for places to eat, drink, dance and chill out. If you’re here with family, our Spring Break for families in Montréal guide has some ideas for entertaining and even subtly educational things to do with kids. Throughout the season, find free things to do in Montréal – for families, for friends, for fun (speaking of fun, these great gifs illustrate the 10 Signs that spring has totally arrived in Montréal.) Do you love spas, fancy… / Read More →

Forty reasons to celebrate the 40 years since the 1976 Summer Olympics

It was one of the most pivotal periods in the history of the city. For two weeks in July, Montréal held the attention of the world as the host city for the 1976 Summer Olympics, which would live on in sports history as one of the most memorable presentations of the Games ever. Now, in 2016, Montréal is preparing to mark this milestone moment with an appropriately epic commemoration featuring 40 events celebrating the 40 years since the Olympics captured our imagination. The 1976 Summer Olympics in Montréal were the very first Summer Olympics hosted by Canada (and following two Winter Olympics in Calgary and Vancouver, remain the only Summer Games to take place here). Among the many highlights: 14-year-old Romanian gymnast Nadia Comăneci held the world in thrall, scoring seven perfect 10s on the way to winning three gold medals. Bruce Jenner set a world record with his gold medal performance in the decathlon. And after breaking his right knee during the floor exercise, Japanese gymnast Shun Fujimoto hid the injury during the rings event and somehow managed to stick a perfect dismount thus securing gold for the Japanese team. We could go on… Montréal will pay tribute to these… / Read More →

OSM highlights for spring and summer 2016

The internationally-revered Orchestre symphonique de Montréal continues its blockbuster 2015-2016 season with a major 10-city U.S. tour that runs from March 14 to 26 to mark the 10th season of Grammy-winning Maestro Kent Nagano as OSM music director. The program will include Stravinsky’s immortal The Rite of Spring which audiences in Montréal can see the OSM perform first at the Maison Symphonique de Montréal at Place des Arts, from March 8 to 10. There are also several other must-see concerts to wind down the OSM’s 82nd season: French conductor Alain Altinoglu will appear for the first time with the OSM, in Holst’s The Planets as well as works by Simon Bertrand, Scott Good and Jeffrey Ryan (April 12, 13 and 14); while Finnish conductor Jukka-Pekka Saraste will be heard in Shostakovich’s Eighth Symphony (April 20 and 21). Also, Russian conductor Vasily Petrenko will make a much-anticipated return to the OSM in Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, “Titan” (May 11 and 12). Music lovers and film buffs will also enjoy the program Dina Gilbert and Movie Soundtracks with Dina Gilbert, OSM assistant conductor, and legendary Québec actor and the evening’s host, Rémy Girard (April 26). This concert is presented without projections. The Toronto Symphony… / Read More →

Montréal’s star-studded winter-spring 2016 classical music season

Montréal’s winter-spring 2016 cultural season features many all-star concerts for classical music lovers. The return of famed Swiss Maestro Charles Dutoit with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal in the Maison symphonique for two much-anticipated concerts on February 18 and 20 with superstar Argentine pianist Martha Argerich (also former spouse of Dutoit) ranks as one of the most significant cultural events in Montréal in 2016, and is part of MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE. Dutoit, who turns 80 this year, will lead the OSM 14 years after his 24-year tenure as its legendary conductor, a period that witnessed the OSM’s elevation into the ranks of the world’s greatest orchestras. On the program: the overture of Roman Carnival, op. 9 by Berlioz; the Piano Concerto no 1 in C Major, op. 15, by Beethoven; Petrushka (the original 1911 version from) by Stravinsky; and La Valse by Ravel. Other concerts of note presented by the OSM this season include the concert recital Marie-Nicole Lemieux & The French Art of Song, presented in collaboration with Pro Musica at the Maison symphonique de Montréal on April 19, featuring internationally-acclaimed Quebec contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux, who was also appointed to the order of Canada in 2015; and three OSM Pop concerts with famed French entertainer Patrick… / Read More →