“It is a rare pleasure to arrive at a classical concert past a line of hot dog carts and portable toilets to a crowd of 40,000 that cheers when the piece is announced. The occasion was a free concert at the Olympic Stadium esplanade to open the Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal’s 2014 ‘Spree’ ” with Orff ‘s Carmina Burana, writes Lev Bratishenko in Saturday’s (8/16) Gazette (Montreal, Canada). “After five days of rehearsal, 1,500 singers had formed three attack formations, left, centre, and right, with one conductor each. The OSM’s Nagano was above the centre choir with the orchestra in white smoking jackets, a big band feel, and the other three Dina Gilbert, Andrew Megill, and Richard Owen…. The stadium loomed behind like an insane scallop shell. The orchestra, the front choir, and soloists Aline Kutan, Antonio Figueroa and Trevor Scheunemann were all miked. There’s no other way, not outdoors, and it sounded good even with two monstrous speaker banks dangling from steel frames like sleeping Mothras…. Nagano kept the orchestra set to high contrast, whispers or bellows, which suits amplified concerts fine. The soloists managed the outdoor condition well.” A separate review of some of the festival’s 30 concerts on August 15 and 16 at Montreal’s Place des Arts can be found here.

Posted August 18, 2014