La Scena Musicale

Monday, 15 June 2015

This Week in Montreal (June 15 - 21)

Violinist Rachel Barton Pine (Photo: Andrew Eccles)

This Week in Montreal (June 15 - 21)

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Montreal Chamber Music Festival
Celebrations of the 20th anniversary of the MCMF were launched on March 12, and continue until June 21. They will include the pianist Marc-André Hamelin playing with the Dover Quartet (June 10) and giving a recital the following day (June 11). The Dover Quartet will then join the Israeli clarinettist Alexander Fiterstein (June 12). Rachel Barton Pine returns to the festival, playing the 24 Caprices by Paganini (16). Elizabeth Wallfisch will perform with the winners of the Canada Council for the Arts’ Musical Instrument Bank (June 21).

Paal Nilssen-Love Large Unit
Spearheaded by a Norwegian drummer, this free wheeling company of eleven hardy Norsmen crosses the Big Pond this month for several North American dates, including three Canadian festivals. Egged on by their leader, this ensemble of primarily young compatriots is comprised of three brass, two reeds, an electronics man, a guitar, two basses and a second drummer. They run the whole gamut from high octane blowouts to the barest of whispers, with some compositional material that at times recall the feisty spirit of Charles Mingus. After a two-evening stop at Montreal’s Suoni per il Popolo Festival (June 20 and 21), they move on to Ottawa the next day and land in Vancouver five days later. A bracing experience to say the least.

The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz - The Musical (Photo: Maxime CitÇ)
Montreal’s Segal Centre for Performing Arts debuts its homegrown production of Mordecai Richler’s The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz - The Musical. Richler’s iconic œuvre of ruthless ambition is set in 1950s Montreal and charts Duddy’s amoral-cum-criminal path to “success.” Desperate to escape St. Urbain Street’s Jewish ghetto, the unscrupulous Duddy rationalizes heinous acts by invoking his grandfather’s maxim, “A man without land is nobody.” Featuring music by prolific and multi-award-winning songwriter Alan Menken (Aladdin, Pocahontas, Little Mermaid, etc.), the show has been nearly three decades in the making. Book and lyrics are by award-winning David Spencer (Weird Romance, New York’s Public Theater’s La Bohème). Veteran thespian Austin Pendleton directs. An onstage band led by Jonathan Monro & Nick Burgess accompanies the 14-member, all-Canadian cast. June 8-26, with a worldwide premiere on June 11th.

Montreal’s comedy festival Just For Laughs, presents GREASE (in French) this summer, at Théâtre St-Denis. Tickets were selling out so fast that as of mid-April producers had to extend the run in order to meet demand. Grande dame of Quebec theatre and cinema, Denise Filiatrault, serves as artistic advisor, while Toronto-based Andrew Shaver directs. Set in 1950s Chicago, the cast of working-class characters comprises a cross-section of youth subculture called “greasers,” hence the title. Local singers Annie Villeneuve and Jason Roy Léveillé play lovestruck teenagers, Sandy & Danny. The musical score invokes early 50’s rock ‘n roll and features a 17-member cast, which includes Normand Brathwaite (as Vince). Translated and adapted by Yves Morin, with musical direction by Guillaume St-Laurent. June 17-July 25.

St-Ambroise Montreal FRINGE Festival - June 1 to 21
Take a walk on the weird side at one of the many theatres for Montreal’s FRINGE, with music, dance, cabaret, circus, storytelling, and comedy events! The festival opens with Fringe-For-All, a free show of previews at Café Campus on June 1 and 11. If you prefer to participate, check out events like the Strip Spelling Bee, the 1 am “FRINGE: The 13th Hour” series, or any of the free daily events at Fringe Park (Parc des Amériques), including collaborations with Piknic Électronik, Folk sur le canal, Dr. Sketchy, CJLO, Fantasia Film Festival, Lunch Beat, or Pop Montreal.

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