The Opéra de Montréal’s 2018-2019 season will be remembered for quality and accessibility
Montreal, June 27, 2019 – Opéra de Montréal capped off its 2018-2019 season with six sold-out performances of Carmen at the Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier. The season had opened with a bang as well with Rigoletto, an immense success that showcased the incredible talent of the American tenor René Barbera, who positively galvanized the critics. Das Rheingold saw many canadian singers debuts in Wagner in a very innovative production, while Champion allowed Montrealers to discover the first opera by jazz musician Terrence Blanchard who was nominated for an Oscar this year. The passionate recital by internationally renowned soprano Joyce El-Khoury presented at the Arab World Festival and rebroadcast on the ICI Musique was simply unforgettable. Twenty-Seven, a chamber opera presented at the Centaur Theatre by the Atelier lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal, featuring Canada’s best emerging singers, was also memorable. These productions drew nearly 43,000 people this season.
It’s no coincidence that so many people were in attendance this year as the pricing for our 2018-2019 season was revised. 800 more affordable seats per performance were available, in addition to the availability of season tickets starting at $99. These new rates generated impressive enthusiasm and have allowed Montrealers from all walks of life to return to see the opera.
This accessibility also means renewed community commitment. More than 15,000 people discovered opera this season for free thanks to our many social and educational initiatives. In particular, we saw an explosion of popularity for our Parlons Opéra series of talks/concerts, presented more than 50 times in Montreal and in surrounding areas. Our conviction about the positive influence of music led us to launch a pilot project with the Ste-Justine Hospital entitled YO’péra for the City of Montreal’s Cultural Development Agreement. Over 26 weeks, 15 teenagers and young adults with mental health problems became the artisans, artists and performers of a mini opera. Proudly presented on May 21, the fruits of their effort resoundingly won over the audience at the Place des Arts’ Cinquième salle.
The many achievements of the artists-in-residence at the Atelier lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal brought passion to the fore again this year. Their collaboration with the Orchestre Métropolitain, with whom they sang Christmas carols under the direction of Yannick Nézet-Séguin, was a resounding success. They also presented The Turn of the Screw opera with the Orchestre de l’Agora which was broadcast on ICI Musique and CBC Music. One of the season’s most impressive highlights was the success of the opera Svadba, presented by the Atelier lyrique in the 2017-2018 season, which was awarded the Opus Award for the Music Event of the Year. It is with particular joy that we celebrate the achievements of the best young singers in the country, who trust the Opéra de Montréal to prepare them for the great career that awaits them.
Another major achievement this year was the Opéra de Montréal establishing itself as a world leader in customer experience research thanks to the implementation of a major technological project funded by OPERA America and the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation. The aim of this study was to analyze the brain activity of audience members to better understand their experience at the opera and to identify possible means of making it even more unforgettable. This project is just the beginning, as the Opéra de Montréal just received significant financial support from the Canada Council for the Arts to conduct a pan-Canadian project to measure audience engagement in performing arts in Canada.
It is with confidence and great enthusiasm that we prepare for the next season. A season which will allow us to become more closely connected to opera lovers in Montreal and the province as a whole. A presentation of Carmen, which was recorded live last May, will be broadcast simultaneously in nearly 30 concert halls across Quebec in the winter of 2020. Directed by filmmaker Charles Binamé, the opera showcases an all-Canadian cast and creative team—a great opportunity to showcase our local talent. Another new development for our 2019-2020 program, there will now be a Sunday Matinee Performance for each of the season’s operas. This newly expanded scheduling will make it easier for many to attend the opera including families, people living outside the city and seniors who prefer afternoon activities.
We are extremely privileged to present lyrical arts in a city as culturally effervescent as Montreal. We want to continue our mission as a key player in the propagation of local talent, while giving Montrealers the opportunity to hear some of the greatest voices from elsewhere.
About the Opéra de Montréal
Well-established in Montreal, at the crossroads of North American and European culture, the Opéra de Montréal acts as a catalyst for the city’s artistic creativity and celebrates Quebec and Canada’s rich vocal heritage, showcasing opera at its most diverse and daring. From great classics of the opera repertoire and innovative new works from home and abroad, to a training program for the finest young Canadian singers and a strong commitment to the community and to education, the Opéra de Montréal offers unforgettable operatic events at which everyone is warmly received and feels welcome.