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La Scena Musicale - Vol. 19, No. 7

Quebec Summer Festival Picks

by Renée Banville and Justin Bernard / June 1, 2014

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The Montreal Baroque Festival Goes Green
From June 19 to 22, nature is the theme! Chosen by artistic co-directors Susie Napper and Matthias Maute, the 12th edition of the festival will be presented on McGill University’s verdant campus. In addition to Redpath and Pollack Halls, audiences will have the opportunity to listen to music in sites that, while non-traditional for concerts, have stunning acoustic qualities and singular architectural elements.

On Thursday the 19 at 7 pm, Vivaldi e la natura brings together violinist Davide Monte and tenor and guitarist Nils Brown with l’Harmonie des Saisons. At 9 pm, sonatas and Venetian canzonas are presented by the Pallade Musica ensemblethe Pallade Musica ensemble presents sonatas and Venetian canzonas.

Friday the 20th, three masterclasses are offered during the day. At 7 pm, a new opera-ballet, Les Indes mécaniques, highlights the 250th anniversary of Rameau’s death. With Les Jardins chorégraphiques and Marie-Nathalie Lacoursière.

Saturday the 21st, the day begins at 9 am with breakfast on the lawn and troubadour songs, featuring violas da gamba and recorders. In the afternoon, make way for songs about medieval hunts and fantasies for six violas da gamba. At 7 pm, the winners of the Bruce Haynes International Competition, accompanied by the Bande Montréal Baroque, perform Bach cantatas. A treasure hunt at 9 pm completes this busy day.

Sunday the 22nd is devoted entirely to Beethoven. Various ensembles performing one after the other make a pianothon in two parts until the Grand Finale at 7 pm, which makes a beautiful finish to the great annual celebration of early music: Symphony Nno. 6 (Pastorale) and Piano Concerto Nno. 4 with Tom Beghin at the piano and Ensemble Caprice under the direction of Matthias Maute. www.montrealbaroque.com RB

Spotlight on Marie-Nicole Lemieux at Domaine Forget
The Festival International due Domaine Forget, which runs from June 21 to August 24, begins with a grand event: the renowned and dynamic contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux will delight fans with two concerts. Performing first with talented flutist Emmanuel Pahud and the Violons du Roy under the direction of Bernard Labadie (June 21), she returns the next afternoon in a concert-tasting with jazz pianist Lorraine Desmarais (June 22).

On August 2, a special day unitesd music and visual arts in several free activities, masterclasses, a round table on visual arts and a grand concert in the evening with the Orchestre Symphonique de Québec, maestro Fabien Gabel, and renowned German violinist Christian Tetzlaff.

The second concert-tasting of the season (August 3) will takes place with the special participation of pianist Louis Lortie and harpsichordist Jean Rondeau. The Orchestre de la Francophonie, directed by Jean-Philippe Tremblay, will accompany them.

Worth noting is the presence of guitarist Pavel Steidl, of the Emerson String Quartet, making his first appearance at Domaine Forget, and oboist Stefan Schili in a duo with bassoonist Gustavo Núñez. Audiences can attend performances with Pascale Giguère and Elizabeth Wallfisch as a duo, trio, or quintet. The Festival highlights the 80th anniversary of great Quebec pianist Oliver Jones, as well as 50 years of the highly celebrated Swingle Singers.

The Orchestre Métropolitain and conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin will perform at the annual benefit concert, and ensemble I Musici de Montréal, directed by Jean-Marie Zeitouni, also makes an appearance with violinist Vadim Gluzman. The honour of closing the festival belongs to Bernard Labadie and his Violons du Roy, along with pianist Benedetto Lupo. www.domaineforget.com RB

Festival de Musique de Lachine
From July 5 to 19, the Festival presents an opening concert featuring violinist Alexandre Da Costa and the Acacia Ensemble. They will peform Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and arrangements from operas. Two solo pianists are featured in the festival’s program: renowned performer André Laplante and young prodigy Daniel Clarke Bouchard. Myriam Farid and Olivier Godin perform a four-hands piano.

Notable in chamber music is the duo of violonist Kerson Leong and pianist Philip Chiu, the Trio Triple Forte with pianist David Jalbert, violinist Jasper Wood, and cellist Yegor Dyachkov, as well as Flûte Alors!, a recorder ensemble that proves to be a veritable journey into history. As far as vocal arts, the ensemble Vivavoce performs motets from the Renaissance through contemporary music. The Découvertes concert introduces the Quatuor Fandango Quartet, a young guitar quartet formed in 2009. The Sinfonietta du Festival and its conductor Vincent Lapointe present Mendelssohn’s Octet in E-flat major and Tchiakowvsky’s Serenade for Strings. Concerts take place at L’Entrepôt Performance Hall or Saints-Anges Church in Lachine. www.concertslachine.ca RB

Festival Classique des Hautes-Laurentides – Great Variety
Running from June 28 to August 30, the Festival Classique des Hautes-Laurenides offers music lovers 13 concerts in several cities. The season opens with a free outdoor concert with the group Hurlevent. Artistic Director Alexandre Da Costa will performs at the festival three times: July 12, with a virtuoso repertoire; August 23 at an outdoor concert with the Acacia Ensemble in a program of opera airs; and finally at the closing concert with poet Richard Desjardins, guitarist Alexandre Éthier, and the music of Spanish composers. Exciting events in July include Baroque violinist Olivier Brault and his ensemble, Sonate 1704 (5); a grand evening of opera with Marie-Josée Lord and Quartango (19), Michel Brousseau and the Société Philharmonique du Nouveau-Monde performing Brahms’s Requiem (26), and the Alcan String Quartet (27). Worth noting in August is tenor Simon Gfeller singing at the church in Nominingue, his hometown. www.concertshautes-laurentides.com RB

Concerts Populaires Celebrates 50 Years
In June 1964, at the initiative of mayor Jean Drapeau, the first event of the Concerts Populaires took place: a homage to Vienna with the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal under the baton of Alexander Brott. This year, the Orchestre Métropolitain, directed by Julian Kuerti, will performs an integral reproduction of the 1964 inaugural concert with soprano Aline Kutan. Six concerts will beare presented between June 26 and July 31 at the Centre Pierre-Charbonneau, Thursdays at 7:30 pm. www.concertspopulairesdemontreal.com RB

The OSM’s Classical Spree – An Expanded Program
The third edition of the OSM’s Classical Spree (Virée classique) takes flight on August 14 with Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, a huge free concert that brings together 1,000 singers at the Parc Olympique to perform under the baton of Kent Nagano. August 15 and 16, music lovers will have the choice of 30 different 45-minute concerts at low prices, presented in four halls, including the Maison Symphonique. Expect performances by world-class artists and a great variety of free activities for the whole family. www.osm.ca RB

The McGill International String Quartet Academy (MISQA)
Seeking to promote the grand string quartet tradition, the MISQA presents eight concerts and ten masterclasses from August 10- to 23. Performances include the Keller String Quartet at the opening concert, and the Arcadia String Quartet at the closing one. Other participating string quartets include Calidore, Excelsa, Jubiliee, and Mucha (14, 15, 21, and 22 at 7 pm). Three young-and-upcoming quartets, Amber, Benten, and Penfield will arebe on stage August 16 and 23 at 2 pm. Nine professors emeritius have been invited to share their wisdom with the young ensembles. Concerts take place at Pollack Hall at 7 pm, save for the fledgling quartets, presented at 2 pm at Tanna Schulich Hall. www.misqa.com RB

Opera in Saint-Eustache
For its fifth edition, the Festival d’opéra de Saint-Eustache presents two lyrical events on July 12 and 13. The first, entitled Diva By Night, features Natalie Choquette in a humorous and quirky show. The soprano plays an eccentric diva, confessing her outrageous moods and love and life disappointments to her admirers. She performs the great arias of the lyric repertoire that make her character sparkle, accompanied by pianist John Roney, July 12.

In collaboration with the Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyriques, the FOSE will hosts a free outdoor grand concert on July 13 entitleds L’Amour à l’opéra (Love at the Opera). Five winners of of the JAL scholarship program, which benefits emerging singers, will perform classics from the opera repertoire. Audiences will hear sopranos Anik St-Louis and Jang Eun Young, mezzo-soprano Rachèle Tremblay, tenor Kevin Myers, and baritone Pierre Rancourt, performing Mozart opera duos and arias by Verdi, Puccini, and Lehár. www.festivaloperasteustachecom JB

Fourth Edition of the Festival d’Opéra de Québec
Three major events are noteworthy, starting with a concert by the Violons du Roy devoted entirely to Vivaldi and Handel’s operas. Under the direction of Bernard Labadie, the chamber orchestra will accompaniesy young German soprano Sophia Brommer and Australian countertenor David Hansen on July 23.

Maurice Ravel’s L’Enfant et les sortilèeges by Maurice Ravel will bewill be performed at the Grand Théâatre de Québec, with stage direction by Philippe Soldevila and sets by Claudia Gendreau. For this “lyric fantasy”, several great artists will take the stage: sopranos Marie-Ève Munger and Pascale Beaudin, mezzos Julie Boulianne and Isabelle Henriquez, tenor Aaron Ferguson, and bass Alexandre Sylvestre, accompanied by a musical ensemble composed of a flute, cello, and four-hands piano on July 24, 25, 26, and 27.

The festival’s highlight will be Le Jugement Dernier (The Last Judgement), with original stage direction from Verdi’s Requiem by Paolo Miccichè reproducing the details of the eponymous great fresco by Michelangelo. On stage, the combined choirs of the Opéra de Québec and the Orchestre Symphonique de Québec will be directed by Jacques Lacombe. Soloists include soprano Latonia Moore, mezzo Eleni Matos, tenor Manrico Tedeschi, and bass Luiz Ottavio Faria, August 1, 3, and 4. The festival will runs from July 23 to August 4. www.festivaloperaquebec.com JB

The Orford Festival
This year, the opening concert will celebrates the summer season with a program based around Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Performers include the Alcan String Quartet and the group Kleztory, as well as actors Sophie Cadieux and Christian Bégin performing excerpts from the Shakespeare play on June 28.

Special emphasis will be placed on works by Mozart. In the “Chamber Music” series, pianist Marc-André Hamelin will joins the New Orford String Quartet in Schumann’s Piano Quintet. Also on the program areis Mozart’s String Quartet in D minor and a premiere by Tim Brady, the Orford Arts Centre’s composer of the year, on July 12.

In the “Piano” series, British artist Christian Blackshaw will performs Mozart’s Sonatas Nnos. 10, 12, 14, and 17 on July 26.

In the “Orchestra” series, the festival’s artistic director, Jean-François Rivest, will conducts the Orford Academy Orchestra in Mozart’s Requiem (Robert Levin version). Les Voix Boréales will sing the chorus, accompanied by the Petits Chanteurs de Laval. Soloists will include soprano Samantha Louis-Jean, mezzo Maude Brunet, tenor Jean-Philippe Fortier-Lazure, and baritone Julien Horbatuk. August 10.

The festival will takes place from June 28 to August 17. www.arts-orford.org JB

Translation: Rebecca Anne Clark

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