McGill Chamber Orchestra opens season with operatic benefit concert

By Naomi Gold

Montreal’s McGill Chamber Orchestra will celebrate a double launch at their special fundraising gala onWednesday, September 11th.  In addition to inaugurating their 74th season, the MCO will be debuting a historic venue in Westmount, which was recently transformed into an events space.  The venue’s new owner, soprano Sharon Azrieli Perez, will host and sing at this “It’s Better With Music” soirée. She will be joined onstage by baritone Étienne Dupuis in performances of Rossini, Verdi and Tchaikovsky.

Maestro Boris Brott will lead a quintet of principal MCO musicians, comprising concertmaster Jean-Sébastien Roy, Veronica Thomas, Annie Parent, Catherine Perron and pianist Louise-Andrée Baril.   Baritone Étienne Dupuis and Azrieli Perez will perform arias by Rossini, Verdi and Tchaikovsky. 
World-renowned opera singer Joseph Rouleau is the gala’s guest-of-honor and diplomats from both the Israeli and Egyptian consulates will be attending.  The newly named Azrieli Perez Pavillion, is an intimate concert venue to perfectly complement the occasion, which is billed as a night of music, friends, support and mingling. 

Founded by Boris’ father, Alexander Brott, the MCO is Quebec’s oldest chamber orchestra, and entering its 74th year, it faces sobering economic challenges. Many years ago, Azrieli Perez, was invited by maestro Alexander Brott to perform a concert of Mozart arias with his MCO at Place des Arts.  Today, Azrieli Perez sits on the Azrieli Foundation’s board, which was begun by her real-estate developer father, David J. Azrieli. The elder Azrieli, a renowned philanthropist-billionaire, oversees what will soon become Canada’s largest public foundation.  Retrieving the fiscal baton from her father, Azrieli Perez has stepped up to the philanthropic plate in assisting this cause: “For almost 75 years, two generations of Brotts have been the artistic directors of the MCO, and we need to ensure the future,” Azrieli Perez insists, especially in the context of shrinking government funding for the arts.” 

“It’s Better With Music” takes place on Wednesday, September 11 (5:30 PM) at 4192 Ste. Catherine St. West, corner of Greene Avenue, in Westmount. The soirée includes a cocktail reception, wine, silent auction, and operatic concert.  Tickets are $200 and can be purchased online or by phone: 514-487-5190.

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