Opening Concert of the Virée Classique: Precision and Intensity

by Rédaction PAN M 360

The tenth edition of the Virée classique, the classical music festival presented by the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, kicked off on Wednesday evening with a concert on the Esplanade du Parc olympique. With remarkable precision, Rafael Payare and the orchestra transported the audience through famous opera arias and more. The evening was hosted by Magalie Lépine-Blondeau, spokesperson for the Virée classique. Together, they offered a remarkable, accessible and highly enjoyable concert.

Bomsori, violin. Photo credit: Antoine Saito

The audience travels to charming Seville, with excerpts from Rossini’s Barber of Seville, followed by George Bizet’s famous Carmen. Franz Waxman’s Carmen Fantaisie for violin and orchestra, performed with brilliance and virtuosity by solo violinist Bomsori, presents a number of technical challenges which she overcomes with ease. The piece is inserted between the two opera excerpts, echoing the arias sung by guest mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard. The latter charms the crowd with her warm timbre and theatricality. The remarkable clarity of the lyrics, in both Italian and French, is to be commended, while her acting effectively conveys the emotional complexity of the characters she portrays.

Isabel Leonard, mezzo-soprano. Photo credit: Antoine Saito

Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition is decidedly different in tone. It moves away from opera and into a more figurative, even descriptive style, evoking the passage through the halls of a museum or salon. It emanates a nobility and majesty that is evident from the very first, well-known theme that structures the work. The brass section’s performance is to be acclaimed for its precision and clarity. The orchestra reserved a final surprise for the audience, with an encore of Wagner’s celebrated Ride of the Valkyries. Its exemplary interpretation made it the highlight of the show.

The technique and execution behind the concert were impressive. We applaud the accuracy of the timbres through the amplification, as well as the fascinating work of the cameras in the orchestra, offering a different perspective of the musicians. On the downside, the sensitivity of some of the microphones on stage meant that we could distinctly hear pages turning, chairs creaking and bows falling. However, it’s this same subtlety in the recording that allows you to hear the orchestra’s softest nuances, even from several meters away. The disadvantages are quickly forgotten after all that!

Despite this minor detail, the concert was both exhilarating and entertaining. The tunes were familiar and the themes already familiar, but the interpretation was so exceptional and precise that it was as if we were rediscovering these classics. This is where the Orchestra really shone. It communicated all the love that it and its conductor have for music.

The Virée classique promises to be exceptionally vibrant!

Elena Mandolini and Alexis Ruel

Latest 360 Content

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique 2024 | Ibibio Sound Machine, indeed a machine!

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique 2024 | Ibibio Sound Machine, indeed a machine!

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique | Club Sagacité at the Festival, San Farafina explains

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique | Club Sagacité at the Festival, San Farafina explains

Piknic Elektronic | Jordan Gardner, from TO to MTL “for the artistry”

Piknic Elektronic | Jordan Gardner, from TO to MTL “for the artistry”

Domaine Forget 2024 | American Landscape at the Domaine, Nicholas Walker tells us about it

Domaine Forget 2024 | American Landscape at the Domaine, Nicholas Walker tells us about it

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique 2024 | Andy Rubal’s fiery salsa

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique 2024 | Andy Rubal’s fiery salsa

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique 2024| Jimmy Belah Trio: beautiful afro-folk, sometimes lacking panache

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique 2024| Jimmy Belah Trio: beautiful afro-folk, sometimes lacking panache

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique 2024 – Athenea, A Woman of Many Roots

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique 2024 – Athenea, A Woman of Many Roots

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique 2024 – Omar Mbaye: Take-off for Dakar!

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique 2024 – Omar Mbaye: Take-off for Dakar!

Festival de Lanaudière 2024 | Yoav Levanon, prodigy in recital or with orchestra

Festival de Lanaudière 2024 | Yoav Levanon, prodigy in recital or with orchestra

Nuits d’Afrique 2024 | A Chat With Ibibio Sound Machine  Frontwoman Eno Williams

Nuits d’Afrique 2024 | A Chat With Ibibio Sound Machine Frontwoman Eno Williams

Colin Fisher – Suns of the Heart

Colin Fisher – Suns of the Heart

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique – Afrovibes Opens the Ball

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique – Afrovibes Opens the Ball

EP Quintet – Le convoi des oies

EP Quintet – Le convoi des oies

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique – Pahua : A Latina Tornado

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique – Pahua : A Latina Tornado

Valérie Ekoumè on tour in Canada : mutual love and jubilant rhythms

Valérie Ekoumè on tour in Canada : mutual love and jubilant rhythms

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique 2024: Rumba de Bodas, Italian coffee roasting

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique 2024: Rumba de Bodas, Italian coffee roasting

Christine Jensen Jazz Orchestra – Harbour

Christine Jensen Jazz Orchestra – Harbour

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique 202 | All United by The Kora

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique 202 | All United by The Kora

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique 2024 | Pahua, New Under the Mexican Sun

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique 2024 | Pahua, New Under the Mexican Sun

Festival de Lanaudière 2024 | Quatuor Diotima in Quebec: musical dialogues from past and present

Festival de Lanaudière 2024 | Quatuor Diotima in Quebec: musical dialogues from past and present

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique 2024 | Queen Omega, From the Top of Her Throne

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique 2024 | Queen Omega, From the Top of Her Throne

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique 2024 | Pahua, New Under the Mexican Sun

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique 2024 | Pahua, New Under the Mexican Sun

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique | Youba Adjrad, Algeria’s Great Pop Voice

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique | Youba Adjrad, Algeria’s Great Pop Voice

The Festival d’Art Vocal de Montréal Opens to the General Public

The Festival d’Art Vocal de Montréal Opens to the General Public

Subscribe to our newsletter