By Chris Ruel
Image: Geneviève Bigué
The Société de musique contemporaine du Québec (SMCQ) has announced a series of concerts for the 11th edition of Montreal/New Musics (MNM) international festival. Over ten days, from Feb 23 to March 5, 2023, MNM will showcase contemporary music under the 2023 theme of Music and Spirituality.
“Music and Spirituality is broad and open, evoking the search for meaning, hope and liberation within the challenges of our world,” said SMCQ Artistic Director Ana Sokolovic in a press statement.
For this article, only vocal performances are listed. SMCQ will release the complete NMN program in January 2023.
The concerts start with “Voix du nord: Nunavik – Brittany,” showcasing the voices of Inuit and Breton singers. Composer Katia Makdissi-Warren is known for building bridges between cultures, and with “Voix du nord,” two thousand-year traditions come together in a work for orchestra and four voices. Soloists include Lydia Etok, Nina Segalowitz (throat singing), Marthe Vassallo, and Nolùen le Buhé (Breton singing). On the podium will be SMCQ principal conductor Christian Gort.
Performance Date: Feb. 23, 2023
Also in February, works by Cree composer Andrew Balfour bring Indigenous voices to the forefront with “Notinikew,” an anti-war mini-opera performed by Dead of Winter (formerly Camerata Nova), along with six singers from the Winnipeg Boys Choir. The mini-opera relates the story of Indigenous soldiers who fought for Canada during World War I, yet were denied the right to return home. The work features Cory Campbell (Ojibway songkeeper), narration by Robert Falcon Ouellette, tenor Nolan Kehler, bass John Anderson, and cellist Leanne Zacharias. Mel Braun leads the performance.
Performance Date: Feb. 24, 2023
Composer Walter Boudreau’s “Golgot(h)a” is based on the poetry of frequent collaborator and friend Raôul Duguay. The composition calls for a large ensemble featuring brass, percussion, organ, and 16 voices. Boudreau and Duguay take the audience on the Way of the Cross, represented by 15 tableaux. The piece is based on a motet for four voices by Tomas Luis Da Vittoria and was the winner of Grand prix Paul Gilson from the Community of French-Language Radio Broadcasters. Vocalists include bass-baritone Sébastien Croteau, soprano Virginie Mongeau, and mezzo-soprano Marie-Annick Béliveau. Walter Boudreau conducts.
Performance Date: Feb. 26, 2023