LA BOHÈME UNDER THE STARS
Opera simulcast on a giant screen at Percival Molson Memorial Stadium,
an event on the official program of Montreal’s 375th anniversary celebrations
Saturday, may 27, 2017, at 7:30 pm, FREE
Montreal, Tuesday, May 2, 2017 — Bringing its season to a magnificent close, the Opéra de Montréal, through a partnership with The Society for the Celebration of Montreal’s 375th Anniversary, BMO Financial Group, the Montreal Alouettes, the Société de transport de Montréal, and the Orchestre Métropolitain, is especially delighted to be able to offer 15,000 people the opportunity to attend a free open-air operatic event at Percival Molson Memorial Stadium, on Saturday, May 27, 2017, at 7:30 pm. The event, which is part of the official programming for Montreal’s 375th anniversary, will take place rain or shine and will be preceded by the Opéra’s outreach activities. The STM will also be making a shuttle service available from the McGill metro station.
The final performance of one of the most well-loved operas in the repertoire—La bohème by Puccini, presented in Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier—will be simulcast on five giant screens installed in Percival Molson Memorial Stadium. This is a free EVENT, but tickets—available via the Opéra de Montréal’s website at boheme.operademontreal.com —are required. 15,000 tickets are available, starting today.
The opera is performed in Italian with English and French surtitles. During intermissions, spectators will be able to keep watching the giant screens to get a look at all the frenzied activity going on behind the scenes, where they will also meet the artists, designers, and craftspeople who bring the production to life. This outdoor event is in keeping with the Opéra de Montréal’s mission of democratization, and social and community outreach. The first Under the Stars event took place in June 2005, with a simulcast of Carmen by Bizet, brilliantly bringing the company’s 25th season to a close. Verdi’s Aida was presented in June 2006, and in June 2008, Puccini’s Madama Butterfly drew some 33,000 spectators to the Esplanade at Place des Arts to attend a captivating simulcast of the opera on a giant screen.
“Finally, opera accessible to everyone! What a wonderful opportunity for all Montrealers to experience an unforgettable moment… Under the stars!” stated Alain Gignac, General Manager of the Society for the Celebration of Montreal’s 375th Anniversary.
“It is through projects of this scope that our cultural metropolis is distinguishing itself in such a remarkable fashion. The Montreal community is delighted to see a free cultural event that will allow its citizens to celebrate Montreal’s 375th anniversary while familiarizing themselves with opera,” added Mr. Denis Coderre, Mayor of Montreal.
Italian composer Giacomo Puccini’s La bohème is one of the most well-loved operas in the repertoire. What makes it so popular? Part of it may be because the opera speaks about each and everyone one of us… our youth, our love, our friendship, our suffering. La bohème takes audiences through a full range of emotions, from straightforward laughs to heartrending tears, all wrapped up in music that goes straight to the heart. The story: in 19th century Paris, budding young artists, filled with hope and life, celebrate friendship, sharing, and love… A story based on Scènes de la vie de bohème by French writer Henry Murger.
All of the soloists are Canadian. Soprano France Bellemare (Mimì), winner of the Concours musical international de Montréal in June 2015, who has since gone on to become a rising star in the opera world, is now making her company debut in a lead role. Tenor Luc Robert (Rodolfo) recently made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera. Their “bohemian” friends are portrayed by several former Atelier lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal artists: soprano Lucia Cesaroni (Musetta), baritone Justin Welsh (Marcello), baritone Christopher Dunham (Schaunard), and bass-baritone Alexandre Sylvestre (Colline). Parpignol is sung by eclectic tenor Isabeau Proulx–Lemire, a current member of the Atelier lyrique; bass-baritone Clermont Tremblay is the Customs Officer; bass Claude Grenier sings Alcindoro/Benoît; and bass Alain Duguay portrays the Sergeant. Directing the production is Alain Gauthier, who has won praise for his inventive and classic stagings, and more recently for Elektra, which left its mark on the Montreal scene in 2015. Set design is by Olivier Landreville, active both on the theatre scene and on television, who also designed Pagliacci/Schicchi for the company in 2009, recipient of the Opus Award for “Show of the Year.” Conductor James Meena leads the Orchestre Métropolitain, lighting is by Claude Accolas, and costumes are by the Opéra de Montréal.
Alouettes’ Blood Drive
For their part, the Alouettes will hold their annual blood drive, presented by BMO, at the Opéra de Montréal’s home base in Place des Arts, on Monday, May 15. Several Alouettes players, as well as their head coach Jacques Chapdelaine, will be on hand to greet all of the generous donors. The public is welcome to come donate at the Salon Urbain, from 10 am to 7 pm.
Opéra de Montréal
Founded in 1980 and based in Montreal, the Opéra de Montréal is the largest francophone opera company in North America. Each season, close to 50,000 spectators make their way through the doors at the company, which is under the direction of General Director Patrick Corrigan and Artistic Director Michel Beaulac. Its season is made up of four to five operas, activities and concerts by the Atelier lyrique, and outreach activities. The Opéra is a key player in the city’s economic, cultural, and social development as, each season, it maintains working relationships with over 360 local businesses, and hires no less than 800 artists and craftspeople. Close to 80% of the artists appearing at the company are Canadian.
About the Society for the Celebration of Montreal’s 375th Anniversary
The Society for the Celebration of Montréal’s 375th Anniversary is a non-profit organization whose mission is to organize the festivities and socioeconomic initiatives that will mark Montreal’s 375th birthday in 2017. With a focus on promoting Montreal expertise, it acts as a catalyst for unifying forces to fulfill its mandate of mobilizing the community, implementing a funding strategy, wisely managing financial resources, developing a high-quality program of events, and promoting the festivities.
The Society receives financial support from the City of Montreal, the Government of Quebec, the Government of Canada, as well as private funding from twelve Great Montrealers. For more information: 375mtl.com