Monday, 12 December 2011

The Messiah by the Violon du Roy, LePage and Nézet-Séguin at the Met: What Happens When You Put Resources into Culture

An absolutely terrific afternoon yesterday when we heard Handel's Messiah presented by the Violons du Roy. I have never heard a better performance, with particularly marvelous singing by tenor James Gilchrist and the choir, La Chapelle de Québec. The critics agree : Christophe Huss, Le Devoir's picky reviewer, called it the "concert of the year," while Arthur Kaptainis of The Gazette wrote: "The excellence of the performance also could have been foreseen, but not all the novel details Bernard Labadie teased out of (or added to) the arch-familiar score."

Last week also saw Yannick Nézet-Séguin conduct the Metropolitan Opera in Gounod's Faust: the young conductor is "impressively gifted" said The New York Times. Earlier this fall, Robert LePage, another Quebec talent, mounted the third of his rethinking of Wagner's Ring Cycle, Siegfried.

There is a lesson here that is an argument for continued spending on "frills" like culture. Quebec, with a population of about 8 million, is hitting way above its weight. In large part this comes from 30 years of support for culture in all its aspects, culture that is exportable, that crosses boundaries, and enriches our lives.

1 comment:

Muzition said...

One thing I absolutely love about living in Quebec and Montreal is how much people care about culture.