Browsing: La Scena Spotlight

This April 19, National Canadian Film Day 150 (NCFD 150) promises to be a nation-wide celebration. With free events and over 800 screenings in venues such as schools, cinemas, online platforms, public squares and even airplanes, organizers promise that this will be the largest film festival in the world. So, what are some of the strengths of Canadian cinema as the 21st century unfolds? Our cinema might be able to teach us a thing or two about how we engage one another culturally, through images and sounds. One aspect of intercultural cinema, for ­example, is the use of languages. How…

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Louis Riel is one of the most important Canadian operas ever written. It was inspired by the life of controversial Métis hero Louis Riel (1844-1885) and events surrounding Canadian Confederation in 1867 that became defining ­moments in the country’s history. With a libretto by Canadian playwright Mavor Moore in collaboration with Jacques Languirand and music by Harry Somers, Louis Riel was premiered in Toronto by the Canadian Opera Company for Canada’s centennial celebrations and performed soon after at Montreal’s Expo ’67. Louis Riel is being programmed this year by the COC as a co-production with the ­National Arts Centre to…

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It wasn’t easy to pick only a few of this season’s several visual arts exhibits. The exhibitions announced for the spring are all equally promising, ranging from nanotechnology and fashion to hockey. Here are some that you shouldn’t miss! Chagall: Colour and Music Rooted in the idea of “total art” — a perfect union between music and painting — that was so dear to famous artist Marc Chagall, this exhibit perfectly showcases the importance of colour and rhythm that is central to his works. Via decors, costumes, and paintings, this exhibit ingeniously succeeds in highlighting the importance of music in…

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This February 7, 2017, it was a celebration of the excellence of performance and artistic creation and the Conseil Québécois de la Musique, under the presidency of Robert Leroux, thanked the artists who contributed. Collectif9, with their youth and dynamism, were entrusted with the opening performance by the CQM. This great ensemble demonstrated that classical music demands a lot of effort. Their interpretation of Brahms required an exceptional form and a collective discipline. And for 2016, young performers were not shy to take their place in the spotlight. Beth McKenna received the prize for the Concert of the Year – Jazz and World Music for Home Montreal. Ballet-Opéra-Pantomime, a young company, has been…

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First published September 1, 2000 Avant-garde composer Erik Satie created his Première Gnossienne (the first in a series of Gnossiennes) in 1890, when he was 24 years old. Like his Sarabandes and Gymnopédies, it was one of the highly successful works that placed Satie squarely in the Parisian fin-de-siècle scene. Although it first appeared publicly in a musical revue in 1893, it took 20 years to be published by Rouart-Lerolle. The work is typical of his enigmatic style, and like many of his compositions gives us pause for thought. To begin with, the title offers cause for much speculation. Does it refer to the Cretan island…

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Montreal’s Centaur Theatre presents two new plays that question our assumptions, challenge our complacencies, and mock our politically correct, self-congratulatory smugness. Morgan Freeman, the iconic, Oscar-winning American actor, doesn’t want your condescension. For him, an attitude of patronizing superiority – of disdain, even – inhabits the folds and air pockets of your blanket generalizations. “You’re going to relegate my history to a month?” the 79-year-old actor said during a 60 Minutes ­interview in 2005. “I don’t want a black history month. Black history is American history.” Clybourne Park (2011) is a sharply pointed stick of black and white American history.…

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The most anticipated event of the 2016-17 season was Opéra de Montréal’s creation of Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall: The Opera. Ticket sales were so brisk that it was extended twice, to 10 performances, 150% more than the company’s usual four-performance production. Reviews were, however, mixed. Originally published online, my comments reflected my misgivings (reproduced in print on page 35). Publishing more critical content is one of the recommendations from our advisory committee, and we have begun to have more concert reviews on our website (mySCENA.org). When we have space in our print magazine, we will publish some…

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REBEL DAUGHTER Dawson College’s professional theatre program recreates Doris Anderson’s autobiography, Rebel Daughter, this spring. Widely recognized as a pioneer in Canada’s feminist movement, Anderson began her career at Chatelaine Magazine, becoming its first female editor in 1957. She disrupted Chatelaine’s hitherto comfortably wholesome agenda of recipes and interior décor tips by venturing into hot-button legal issues like divorce, wage parity, abortion, rape etc. The renowned activist-journalist chaired Canada’s Advisory Council on the Status of Women after losing her bid to become an MP. Under her leadership, women’s rights were enshrined in our Constitution and Charter of Rights & Freedoms.…

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“The cynical and tender spirit, a modern and unique thought, a characteristically Quebecois music, the star of this popular concert of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Robert Charlebois.” These are the words of Roger Bouchard, television host, in 1971. It happened 46 years ago at Montreal’s Place des Arts. At just 27 years old, the young Robert Charlebois, dressed in an original and colourful shirt – typical of the 1970s – was going to live the experience of the symphony orchestra. Today, he admits that he has never refused the opportunity to play with an orchestra. Probably one of the…

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When listening to or performing music, many people have experienced the “oceanic feeling,” variously described as an altered state of consciousness, a sensation of limitlessness, an experience of eternity, oneness with the universe, an ideal dream where you are held in a weightless reverie and lose the boundaries of your self. French writer Romain Rolland (who coined the term) noted the presence of “le sentiment océanique” in mystics of all religious traditions. He believed that this feeling was the source of all religious energy, and that one may call oneself religious on the basis of this feeling alone, regardless of…

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