1950s gay-themed opera sells out in Montreal

The first night of Les Feluettes sold out last night at the Opéra de Montréal despite some subscribers returning their tickets.

The opera, co-commissioned with Pacific Opera Victoria is based on a play by Michel Marc Bouchard with music by the Australian composer Kevin March.

First report here.



photo Yves Renaud

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  • As opera companies are free to produce works with uncommon / unusual subjects, listeners are free to be or not to be interested in them.

    The Ring has far more unusual plot content, it seems, not to speak of Handel’s Julio Cesare where the hero is a soprano. And Monteverdi’s Poppea is outrageous.

    • Oh I see, so gay is unusual, whereas pedophilia (15 year old Cio-Cio San) or incest (Siegfried and Brunnhilde) is right up your alley. Good to learn of your preferences, Mr. Borstlap.

      • I think you should read the linked article and then carefully re-read Mr. Borstlap’s comment. If you stand by your comment after that, I would suggest looking at the definitions of ‘reading into’ and ‘misreading’.

        • There is an unpleasant cabal on SD who waste no opportunity to invent reasons with which to be offended by any word from Mr. Borstlap, regardless how innocent.

          The constant attacks are tiring and boring, but eventually one learns who the members of this gang of internet hoodlums are. If only the posting system allowed one to place certain people on “ignore”.

          • Well said. Since when did the Thought Police and Speech SS have a role on classical music sites – especially when these anti-democratic storm-troopers take the form of trolls.

            Haven’t we all had enough of trolls? I don’t speak about difference of opinion, but the personal attack on somebody who has one. I’ve got one word for them; ‘losers’.

    • I am an opera subscriber and it is awesome when, in a their opera season, an opera company takes the risk to present one more contemporary production, from living librettists and composers. I believe that if we cannot open our minds to try new works of arts – knowing that it is likely we won’t appreciate some – we won’t be helping new talent to grow. Some of today’s talent may be tomorrow’s great composer, or may never be if they don’t get commissions to develop their potential… And even for the classical works, it’s not all of them that were well received when they were first performed.

      As an Opéra de Montréal subscriber, I wasn’t enthusiastic about “Les Feluettes” when I’ve renewed my subscription, but I’ve renewed and was going to attend to that performance to “encourage” emerging librettist and composer. I live in Ottawa, two hours away, and I still gladly subscribe to attend to Opéra de Montréal’s productions. And they usually add one more contemporary operatic piece in their yearly very classical program, and I appreciate that they give new talents an opportunity to have their work exposed to a 3000 opera fans audience, and for four nights.

      Yesterday, I didn’t have high expectations for “Les Feluettes”, although I knew that Étienne Dupuis is probably going to be one of the world’s top baritones before long: I was just going to “encourage” emerging talent. However, I was delighted and transported. Bouchard (libretto) and March (composer) turned into a magistral, unforgettable experience. Moreover, I don’t rember having heard such an ovation at the Opéra de Montréal. Finally, I was glad that I’ve been privileged enough to attend to the world premiere of that opera, and I’m even considering attending to the performance that will take place in Victoria, BC, in 2017.

      • Beautiful news! But such trust in the opera company’s programming is only possible when the company consciously builds-up such trust. This is how new works should be introduced and indeed, the development of new works be encouraged. But it also heavily depends upon which type of music is chosen: music that can communicate (opera being about musical expression and communication), or conceptual music which remains in the pit and does not give the singers opportunity tp get their part across to the audience.

        • While the Opera de Montreal has been a bit hit and miss in general, they have had outstanding productions of modern operas. Dead Man Walking, Silent Night, and now Les Feluettes, have all been good successes and got good critical receptions. That being said, the auditorium is 3000 seats, so they are limited in what type of repertoire they can explore.

          • All the more admirable of them. And of the audience, who are prepared to take a ‘risk’.

  • 46 ticket cancellations (probably exchanges for another performance, since no one gives refunds on tickets anymore) over 4 performances… that’s probably no more than their typical ticket exchange rate.

    But very smart of their PR staff to note it and hint at the “gay” reason, none-the-less. It’s publicity that can’t hurt them.

  • 46 cancellations out of 5000 subscribers hardly seems worth mentioning, but as Mr. Holmén says it’s smart PR (though I don’t think many folks from Montreal care if one is straight or gay as the first performance is sold out).

    • For all it’s worth, I wouldn’t be surprised if a chunk of them were “I don’t do contemporary music” cancellations…

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