After two years of planning and enhancement, the Société du parc Jean-Drapeau (SPJD) and the Metropolitan Orchestra organized a free concert for the inauguration of the Espace 67, preserving the symbol of community and sharing from the 1967 International and Universal Exposition.
Created for people-gathering activities, the new Espace 67 is now ready to accommodate 65,000 people in a charming and welcoming site along the Saint-Laurent, facing the city of Montreal. The vast site accommodates several sitting areas for possible picnics, including food trucks, and other outdoors activities.
To celebrate the new site, 77 musicians from the Metropolitan Orchestra performed a beautiful and imposing concert conducted by none other than the notable Yannick Nézet-Séguin. The pieces were carefully selected to highlight the history of Montreal, Saint-Hélène Island, and, of course, parc Jean-Drapeau. These compositions came from various composers, such as Georges Bizet, Edward Elgar, the brilliant contemporary composer Alejandra Odgers, and finally Maurice Ravel. With the diversity of these composers in mind, Nézet-Séguin explained with passion and consideration their link to the new Espace 67, which ultimately embraced the feeling of affinity and universal influence, as well as a sense of belonging.
The concert started with Georges Bizet’s famous Carmen, Suite No.2. With this strong introduction, the Orchestra commemorated the music of the world as well as the French influence from the 17th century.
Following this beautiful introduction, the Orchestra performed Enigma Variations from the British composer Edward Elgar, which illustrated elegantly the 18th century British influence of the city of Montreal.
For the third piece, Odgers composed a very special piece inspired by the creation of the parc Jean-Drapeau, in 1874. Menahanis, which means “creation”, was an impressive combination of 27 different famous melodies from around the world, such as Edward Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March No.1, once again promoting the diverged history and shape of the City of Montreal.
Unfortunately, during the performance of Maurice Ravel’s masterpiece, Boléro, persistent rain and thunder put an immediate end to the concert. Furthermore, because of the spaciousness of the Espace 67, a symphony orchestra is probably not the most suitable style in terms of clarity of the sound. In fact, the piano modulations, or quiet notes, were not lucid enough and therefore could hardly be heard.
Nevertheless the inauguration of the Espace 67 was a great success, and we are looking forward to the next musical events, as well as other attractions, that will take place in this beautiful setting.