Throughout February, Black History Month is celebrated as an annual event that honors African American contributions and achievements in the US and Canada. The purpose of Black History Month is to recognize the struggles and successes of African Americans, promote diversity, understanding, and equality as well as hold events to commemorate contributions and accomplishments in various fields such as politics, art, music, and science.
Here in Montreal , the artistic contributions of the black community have played a significant role in shaping the cultural landscape of the city and have made a lasting impact on society.
Through their artistic contributions, black artists have not only enriched the cultural tapestry of society, but have also inspired and influenced countless others to express themselves and create change.
One such unique contribution was held last night at the World Premiere of the original French chamber opera ” LA FLAMBEAU ” by Quebec-based Haitian composer David Bontemps and Librettist Faubert Bolivar that was received with much acclaim to a sold-out audience at Salle Pierre – Mercure.
The opera featured a talented cast of four black opera singers, backed by the Orchestre Classique de Montreal led by maestro Alain Trudel, that brought the piece to life through dynamic singing, staging, music and lighting.
The performance sourced its roots from a mesmerizing blend of traditional Haitian Nago, Yanvalou and Kongo dances, and creole voodoo songs that showcased the African roots of the music.
The unique musical elements, including pentatonic and whole-tone scales, modal and tonal harmonies, blues notes, as well as captivating string and vocal passages ( that were sometimes challenging for the usual vocal range of the performers) were expertly woven together to create a dramatic and emotional experience for the audience.
Through a series of intense monologues, subtle exchanges, and multilayered characters, the performance told a moralizing tale that emphasized the importance of love and respect of others in society.
The imaginative elements, including Ogou a Yoruba deity, a secret society, a fantastical court trial, and a “dancing on command” zombie, added depth, a bit of humor and richness to the story.
With the closing scene, the audience were left with a simple, but poignant message that lingered long after the final notes faded away…
” La Flambeau“
Held Tuesday, February 7th , 2023 – Salle Pierre-Mercure
Orchestre classique de Montréal led by maestro Alain Trudel
David Bontemps, composer
Faubert Bolivar, librettist
Suzanne Taffot, soprano
Catherine Daniel, mezzo-soprano
Paul Williamson, tenor
Brandon Coleman, baritone-bass
Mariah Inger, Stage director
The French opera held its world premiere with the OCM here in Montreal . The performance will be followed by a performance at BrottOpera in Hamilton. A recording is also scheduled for release on the ATMA Classique Label for 2024.
*** The opera contains sensitive scenes whose mature subject matter may be disturbing or triggering to some audience members. ( sexual misconduct).
The Orchestre Classique de Montreal
The Orchestre classique de Montréal is a classical music orchestra based in Montreal, Canada. Currently celebrating it’s 82nd season , it is a well-regarded ensemble that performs a wide range of repertoire, from Baroque to contemporary compositions. The orchestra frequently collaborates with local and international soloists and conductors, and presents concerts in various venues in Montreal and beyond.
To learn more about up-coming concerts please visit :