Living in the Present
Finally! At last, together. The beauty, the pleasure—at last the Festival, at last Lanaudière! The embodiment of so many things we have missed for the past year and a half, the joy of being together, of sharing, of discovering, the joy of living, quite simply. Emerging from the depths of the past, recreated through the mysterious magic of the performers’ work, the music enjoins us, here and now, to (re)live in the present.
First, let us envision Beethoven’s Fifth and its opening motif, a symbol of the eternal, implacable struggle with fate. In our inaugural concert, both Florestan’s cry for freedom and Strauss’ Metamorphosen, symbolizing a world in constant renewal and perpetual transformation, resist the fateful curse.
This is just one facet of a year unlike any other: a change of rhythm in human activity that most of us have never experienced before. Though restrictions to movement persist, contemplation and rootedness, self-awareness are magnified; the Grands Ballets and Brahms will demonstrate this in the most poignant way. If we still miss the freedom to travel, to dream is a faculty that remains—it is the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal and Jacques Lacombe who invite us to do so, later in the season, in two contrasting, exquisitely coloured programmes. Finally, we return to the freedom and pure joy of song, for a rendezvous that cannot be missed with the OSM Chorus: a hymn to love and nature.
Music calls out to us in the moment, in the depths of our being, and speaks to our emotions above all. Music is the channel for marvellous dialogue, both with our fellow human beings and introspectively. In this sense, the extraordinary humanist message of Beethoven, whose 250th anniversary of birth occurred in 2020, resonates with great power at this year’s Festival—at the opening concert and beyond, in an exceptional performance of the great master’s piano concertos by Marc-André Hamelin.
Les Violons du Roy and Nicolas Ellis also return for two concerts, including an almost mad journey from Baroque Italy to the bars of Buenos Aires—as this year marks the centenary of the genius Astor Piazzolla! Similarly, Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Orchestre Métropolitain take us on a journey to Dvořák’s “New World” in a grandiose conclusion to our 2021 edition.
This summer, you are sure to find faithful friends of the Festival—Nézet-Séguin, Lacombe, the OSM, the Métropolitain, the Violons du Roy, Hamelin four times rather than one—they need no introduction. Circumstances allow us to go the extra mile to offer you the first concerts by leading Canadian artists such as violinists Kerson Leong and Andrew Wan, harpsichordist Mélisande McNabney, soprano Rachel Fenlon, and cellist Bryan Cheng, not to mention the return of the great Karina Gauvin after a lengthy absence from our stages.
We invite you to join us for a truly incomparable season. In the words of ancient wisdom: carpe diem, let us “seize the day” and bring the world enchantment, as we do to ourselves.