Wednesday, June 27, 2012

June Trip: Montreal

The eating, she ees so easy in Montreal... It was student protest time (how French), Grand Prix weekend, and street festivals abounded.

M and I met up at the station and headed out to Le Chien Fumant (the smoking dog). This was an M and D recommendation - thanks guys! Great calamari, but all ridiculously huge portions. We took doggie bags home, er I mean, sacs de chiens (do I?)

Ah, L'Express Bistro... home of the single truffle (thank you!), the most exquisite calf liver, the hottest waiter (rrrrrrowwrrrrr...)


On the Friday night we attended the vocal gala of the Montreal International Music Competition at the new symphony hall (gorgeous). The Montreal Symphony kicked things off with the Meistersinger overture. My weakness for deep male voices was sharpened by performances from Philippe Sly (who cleaned up the awards) and the Americans John Brancy and Sidney Outlaw (what a name!). The Swiss soprano Olga Kindler gave me chills with her aria from The Consul. What an actress. Sir Thomas Allen was on the jury among other luminaries, including Joseph Rouleau, who was in the very first opera my dad ever saw, the performance that turned him into an opera lover, well before I was born. Rouleau pops up everywhere. I`ve seen him at Covent Garden and at Opera Hamilton. What a force of nature.

Here's the gorgeous repertoire (no idea why this event wasn't sold out, but suspect it was the whole Grand Prix/protest thing).

Overture, Die Meistersinger (Wagner)
"Postoite na odno mgnovenye!" Pique Dame (Tchaikovsky) - John Brancy
"Pleurez mes yeux", El Cid (Massenet) - Olga Kindler
"Mache dich, meine Herze, rein", St. Matthew Passion (Bach) - Philippe Sly
Sempre libera", La Traviata (Verdi) - Emily Duncan-Brown, Yuri Gorodetski
"Daybreak" (Estacio) - Philippe Sly
Flower Duet, Lakmé (Delibes) - Andréanne Paquin and Olga Kindler
Pearl Fishers Duet, Lakmé (Delibes) - Won Whi Choi, Sidney Outlaw
"Largo al factotum", The Barber of Seville (Rossini) - John Brancy
"To this we've come", The Consul (Menotti) - Olga Kindler
"Madamina", Don Giovanni (Mozart) - Philippe Sly

Beforehand we ate at Place des Arts.... mussels for M, lobster sliders for me. Deelish.

Last time I was at Place des Arts, I saw a production of Turandot, then came out to find myself in the middle of the jazz festival and James Brown in concert. What a night.

This time we came out and the Lotus team party was going on. The car outside was stunning. The music was deafening. I mean it, I think I lost some hearing!

In between more shopping, I visited my favourite Olive et Gourmando, the only safe haven in the otherwise über-touristy old part of Montreal.

How touristy? This was the conversation in one of the adjoining stores.

Me: How much?

Shop-keeper: Er... $32. No, I mean $37. I mean $43!


Here are some more pictures from walking around Montreal...


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