The Opéra de Montréal has been reaching out to a broader audience over the last few years by staging activities for diehard fans and newcomers alike. The purpose, of course, is to get people better acquainted with this “total” art form, as Wagner once called it, and thus build a wider community of devotees.
Among the activities and community initiatives devised by the company to develop awareness are Parlons opéra, préOpera, presentations in schools for the blind and hearing-impaired, and initiatives designed to promote mental health.
The good news is that things are working out. Just last year, 14,494 youths and adults were given the opportunity to discover the world of opera in its staging, performers and creators. Audiences of all ages and backgrounds experienced first-hand this art in all its facets. With a new season underway, the prospect of winning over more hearts to the cause is as strong as ever.
Hansel, Gretel… et les autres! (in French)
This is the title of the latest project devised by the Opéra de Montréal for all Quebec schools: a behind-the-scenes video account of the Atelier lyrique de Montréal production of Hansel and Gretel by Engelbert Humperdinck. Frédérique Drolet, who plays the part of Gretel, narrates this lively half-hour documentary aimed at unravelling the world of opera for the unacquainted. Designed for students of the upper elementary and early secondary school levels, this production can be obtained free of charge by contacting the author of this article at firstname.lastname@example.org.
let’S talk Opera
To reach both opera buffs and neophytes, we want to create a sense enchantment throughout the city. The Parlons Opéra series is designed as a listener-friendly introduction to each production in the OM season. In 90 minutes, musicologist Pierre Vachon dives deep into the heart of each work, outlining its historical and cultural context, the music, the voices, the composer and more. To enhance these talks, singers will be on hand to perform excerpts. The response to last year’s talks was so positive that more dates and locations have been added, most notably on the north and south shores, with guest speakers Geneviève Rivard and Richard Turp.
Victoria Hall Nov. 4, Jan. 20, March 17, April 28
Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul Nov. 11, Jan. 13. March 10, May 5
For more information and reservations: letstalkopera.operademontreal.com
Translated by Marc Chénard