35,000 at Yannick concert in Montreal

35,000 at Yannick concert in Montreal


norman lebrecht

July 26, 2019

The Journal de Montréal reports record crowds for the annual Orchester Métropolitain outdoor concert at the foot of Mont Royal.

Grieg, a Tchaikovsky symphony and Ravel’s Bolero, perfect for a summer’s night.

Across town, meanwhile, the Orchestra Symphonique de Montréal was performing bits and bobs at Sorbonne Park under conductor-in-residence Adam Johnson. Not quite the same.


  • Wladek says:

    It could have been a lot worse if that was possible.But
    the conductor knows his audience .He gave them what
    they wanted ..all noisy climax music to make em feel good and cultured.Yannick is clever if nothing else.But clever eventually ends up in the waste basket.

    • M2N2K says:

      It does, “if nothing else”. But YNS is much more than “nothing” and may actually be closer to “something else”.

  • Emil says:

    Not across town, and not the same kind of event. The OSM was on the South Shore of Montreal, in what was not at all a direct competitor to the OM. The OSM’s big outdoors concert with Nagano is on August 7th, when they perform Verdi Requiem outside the Olympic Stadium, which should also draw a substantial crowd.

    As for the YNS/OM concert, it was a mixed bag. The Peer Gynt was average at best, and it took until half the Tchaikovsky for the amplification problems to be resolved – the orchestra was awfully off balance at times. The Tchaikovsky symphony was quite good (playing all movements attaca to prevent the crowd from butting in was a smart move), as was the Bolero, well measured. Two things though: YNS (and the presenter, Penelope McQuade) really need to talk less – I’m pretty sure they exhausted a thesaurus’ worth of superlatives – and YNS dressing in all white when the musicians were all in black was an odd choice (as if we were meant to look only at him, not at the orchestra).
    Still, 35000 people turned up to listen seriously to a Tchaikovsky symphony in the middle of summer – a success by any account.

    • Paul Wells says:

      I’m always glad to have Emil reporting what actually happened after this site presents a very rough first draft of an account of events in Montreal.

    • Martain Smith says:

      Most interesting to hear analysis from someone actually there…
      Perhaps you’re right in your consideration of the dress code choice – arguably not surprising!

    • Nick2 says:

      I do not know who was responsible for organizing and hiring the amplification equipment, but it was surely the orchestra’s responsibility to ensure it was working perfectly and that the balance was as equally perfect as possible. It seems this was all done in some indecent haste. If so, that was extremely unfair both to the audience and the musicians

  • Pacer1 says:

    And, that same night, the Orchestre de la Francophonie was performing the complete concert version of West Side Story with soloists from Quebec at the Centre Pierre Charbonneau. Quite the City Montreal.

  • Matthew says:

    ‘Not quite the same’ says it all. The Orchestre symphonique de Montréal was performing one of three free concerts in the outer-Montreal region this week – part of its mission to reach a broader public. In a few weeks they will perform Verdi’s Requiem at the Olympic Stadium to expected crowds of 40,000. Not quite the same…

  • David Leibowitz says:

    Wow…you’d think these two groups would coordinate so that they don’t both give outdoor concerts in the same city on the same night…

    • V.Lind says:

      It appears the city can stand it. I’m sure they often give indoor concerts the same night as does London and any other city blessed with several musical establishments. Yikes, when you hear year-round whingeing about the dearth of classical music, three cheers for a city that is full of options!

    • David L. says:

      The Montreal symphony did not play in Montreal but in Brossard. And they did other outdoor concerts earlier this week. Mr Lebrecht is in Europe and is re-using the paper from Journal de Montreal without double-checking the geography. And the “No quite the same” is so mean… Why trying to oppose both orchestras? Montreal should be proud of having two great orchestras. Creating a fake rivalry between OSM and OM is not good for them (and for his journalistic reputation, but that’s another story)

    • Emil says:

      They were not, in fact, in the same city.

  • music_montreal says:

    This was a great article, until the usual OSM bashing – and this time Nagano was not even conducting! Emil and others said it in different ways: this is apples and oranges. Why not celebrate the fact that close to 50,000 folks were out for classical music in the greater Montreal (and suburbs) area on the same night? Of course you will also be reporting on how many people will go to the annual OSM concert at Olympic Stadium to hear the Verdi Requiem… as you reported in recent years?

    • Wladek says:

      What utter nonsense” celebrate ” crowd size.
      Paying out of pocket the regular admission tickets the crowd would have dwindled down to zilch. Free always generates large crowds which
      means nothing.except one can point and comment
      on numbers and try to tie the numbers to a false
      observation .Does one think people would have
      paid hard earned cash to go hear such a 2nd.
      rate program.? It was a nice night out,there was
      a free concert that’s all .

      • Emil says:

        I, for one, see it positively that 50 000 people on a summer night, with a huge comedy festival going on at the same time, when the city is bustling with activity, in the middle of the two weeks when many Québécois take vacations (it’s the ‘vacances de la construction’), would be interested in going to classical music rather than anything else.

  • DD says:

    Outdoor concerts with loud crowds are antithetical to classical music.

  • V.Lind says:

    Perhaps. If you are a listen-in-silence, cough-at-the-risk- of-the-scaffold type. But perhaps classical music should make occasional forays into the real world. There is something about a lovely summer’s night, where you can hear beautiful music with friends in an atmosphere of relaxation and fun, that is very appealing, even if acoustically imperfect. And one of the benefits is to attract an audience that might find the atmosphere of a concert hall – particularly one populated by the likes of you — intimidating or antipathetic.