Winter’s feeling fine as Montréal settles into February by going dancing in the snow, digging into La Poutine Week (perfectly paired with the Superbowl) and doing a little freestyle snowmobiling – with some opera, art, live music and speakeasy cocktails on the side.
Montréal turns 375
From Montréal’s first winter carnival to this winter’s Les Hivernales events, the city has been celebrating winter like a a pro for 375 years. This weekend keeps the party going by day with free and family-friendly Fête des neiges at Parc Jean-Drapeau (complete with games, an ice-sculpted pirate ship, snow tubing, a Ferris Wheel and more), and at night with electronic music festival Igloofest in the Old Port – dance to music by Green Velvet and more artists on Friday and Dave Clarke and other beat-droppers on Saturday, plus incredible visuals. Day or night, try Igloofest’s Nordik ice slide on Place Jacques-Cartier or visit the Nordik Village next to Quai Jacques-Cartier. Freestyle snowmobiling is way up there on the list of extreme winter sports: see world snowmobiling champions perform unbelievable aerial tricks this weekend at free event Motoneige MTL Xtrem at Philips Square. On the other end of the e-sports spectrum: Ubisoft’s Rainbow Six Invitational gaming event at Usine C. And hear campfire songs and stories at Feu, feu, joli feu, un karaoké des bois on Feb. 5 at Parc St-Viateur.
Stage and screen
Opéra de Montréal presents Francis Poulenc’s mystical opera Dialogues des carmélites, dramatizing the French Revolution, faith, materialism and humanity at Place des Arts to Feb. 4. This year’s winter-spring dance program is packed with talent: inspired by Joan of Arc, contemporary dance choreographers Dave St-Pierre and Anne Le Beau created “urban epic” suie, presented by Danse Danse at Place des Arts, Feb. 1-11, and Clara Furey and Peter Jasko perform “sleek love story” Untied Tales, Feb. 9-12 at Usine C. Laugh along with farcical play Noises Off at the Segal Centre or Centaur Theatre’s hit comedy Bakersfield Mist. Drawn & Quarterly brings award-winning author Heather O’Neill to the stage to talk about her new novel The Lonely Hearts Hotel, at the Rialto on Feb. 7. See the future at the Phi Centre’s Virtual Reality Garden and Not Short on Talent installation. And the SAT’s 360-degree surround-sound dome gets a workout during SATFEST screening short high-tech works.
Museums and galleries
Gorgeous paintings, costumes and music fill the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts’ newest exhibition CHAGALL: COLOUR AND MUSIC, featuring 340 works by the Russian-French artist. While there, also see exhibitions Leila Alaoui: No Pasara, SHE Photographs, and Montreal in Love: Embracing Diversity, and walk through the museum’s new Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion for Peace. Telling stories in analog and digital form, exploring time and identity, kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) artist Skawennati’s solo exhibition Tomorrow People opens Oboro gallery’s year devoted to Aboriginal artists. See decades of excellent work by Montréal artist, Françoise Sullivan at Galerie de l’UQAM. In Old Montréal, experience thought-provoking sculpture and more by Belgian artist Wim Delvoye at DHC-ART. Never Apart’s winter exhibition celebrates Black heritage, Indigenous women and more. See artist and novelist Marc Séguin’s multidisciplinary exhibition Atemporalités – and on Feb. 7, his film Stealing Alice – at Arsenal. For more aesthetic wonders, follow our guide to art in the “underground city” pedestrian network and the city’s most stunning churches and other sacred sites.
On Friday, Orchestre Métropolitain performs Elgar’s Symphony No. 1, John Lunn’s Downton Abbey Suite and Walton’s Violin Concerto at Place des Arts, while hard rockers Alter Bridge and NONPOINT come to Metropolis and Nuit d’Afrique Soundsystem/Canicule Tropicale celebrates Black History Month with a night of dancing at La Sala Rossa. On Saturday night, video game soundtracks from Zelda to Chrono Trigger get the acoustic treatment as Orchestre de Jeux Vidéo performs at Place des Arts, eclectic artist Her Harbour sings captivating songs at Bar Le Ritz P.D.B., and Dutch producer Dash Berlin keeps us dancing at New City Gas. On Monday, singer-songwriter Léon croons at Bar Le Ritz P.D.B. Alt-country-rock prevails as Drive-By Truckers roll into Théâtre Corona on Tuesday, Feb. 7, and The Firemen get toes tapping with old country at Bar Le Ritz P.D.B. On Feb. 8, Canadian country-rock stars Blue Rodeo play songs old and brand new, with much-loved openers The Sadies, at Place des Arts, and NYC (by way of Tennessee) musician Valerie June blends electric blues, African rhythms and soul in brilliant ways at Club Soda. On Thursday, Jeffrey Tate conducts violinist Midori and the Montréal Symphony Orchestra in a concert of Mendelssohn’s Third Symphony, the Violin Concerto by Britten and Ravel’s Valses nobles et sentimentales at Place des Arts, while Le Trouble and Pale Lips bring their jangly guitar rock to Petit Campus, and Banners shines a light at La Sala Rossa.
Up next:2017 winter-spring dance program