Montreal goes for Baroque with 16th-17th century pearls

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Montreal’s worldwide reputation as a major centre of Baroque music goes on display June 23-26 with a series of concerts at various downtown venues. The period is from 1500 to 1650 and the term comes from the Portuguese word barroco, meaning oddly shaped pearl. Its greatest exponent was Johann Sebastian Bach.

To get a sampling of what’s on at indoor venues, attend free outdoor concerts at noon June 23, 24, 25, and 26 at Phillips Square, and June 24 at Place d’Armes. 

Major events at 7 pm.

June 23, Redpath Hall. La Tempête de Prospero combines highlights of Shakespeare’s The Tempest with theatre music by Purcell and Blow. This concert will feature the Bande Montréal Baroque and Spanish violinist Lina Tur Bonet.

June 24, Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel. The Ensemble Caprice and the Métis Fiddler Quartet play a selection of Métis music.

June 25, Redpath Hall. Nouvel Opéra performs La Veuve Rebel à la foire Ville-Marie, in which a stormy quarrel erupts as a widow revolts against censorship, monopoly, and tyrannical rules.

June 26, Redpath Hall. The Bande Montréal Baroque, directed by Eric Milnes, will accompany four young singers in three Bach cantatas.

Other concerts

June 23, 9 pm, Redpath Hall. Montreal guitarist/composer Tim Brady and his band join Les Voix Humaines for Tornades fugues – electric guitar meets viola da gamba.

June 24, 2 pm. Salle de la Commune, Marché Bonsecours, Lina Tur Bonet, the Spanish baroque violinist, baritone Jesse Blumberg, and harpsichordist Eric Milnes play the first of three concerts covering J.S. Bach’s partitas and sonata for solo violin.

June 24, 5 pm, Salle de la Commune, Marché Bonsecours. The ensemble Sonate 1704 with soprano Jacinthe Thibault presents Larmes et Tempêtes! – music by French composers Clérambeault, Montéclair, and Rebel.

June 24, 9 pm, Crypt, Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel. The La Chamaille group (five flutes, one lute) emulates an orchestra in Brise ou ouragan.

June 25, 11 am, Redpath Museum. Jean-François Bélanger performs Rafales scandinaves on the nyckelharpa, the Swedish keyed violin in vogue 700 years ago.

June 25, 4 pm, Redpath Museum, guitarist David Jacques and percussionist Ziya Tabassian play Los rafales de vento.

June 25, 9 pm, Redpath Hall. Violinst Lina Tur Bonet continues performing Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin, with baritone Jess Blumberg and harpsichordist Eric Milnes.

June 26, 11 am, Arts Building, McGill University. Italian viola de gamba player Paulo Pondolfo tackles the Bach cello suites!

June 26, 4 pm, Arts Building, McGill University. Violinist Lina Tur Bonet completes her performances of Bach’s six sonatas and partitas for solo violin with baritone Jess Blumberg and harpsichordist Eric Milnes.

June 24 concerts highlight emerging talent

11 am, Salle de la Commune, Marché Bonsecours. Soprano Odéi Bilodeau, winner of the Mathieu-Duguay competition, Festival international de musique baroque de Lamèque, will personify L’Impétueuse, with harpsichordist Martin Robidoux.

2 pm, Osler Library of the History of Medicine, McGill University. Descant recorder player Vincent Lauzer offers works by Québec composers.

If it’s talk you want, check out McGill Shakespeare specialist Michael Bristol on the ins and outs of The Tempest, June 23, 5 pm, Redpath Museum, prior to the 7 pm performance of Prospero’s Tempest.

On June 24, 9 am, join French musicologist Gilles Cantagrel for a breakfast talk on the joys of Bach, at Bistro Tasse et coupe, 300 Notre Dame E. in Old Montreal.

Ticket prices range from a 15-concert festival pass – $336 adults, $289 seniors, and $231 students, to as low as $30 adults, $25 seniors, and $20 students for single tickets to some of the concerts.
Tickets and info: or 514-845-7171

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