Summer in the city (Quebec that is)

Hello sailors in Quebec City
You are entering the national capital region, the sign said (in French). Presumably the nation of Quebec that is. I don't need my passport, even though I'm an Anglo here in Quebec City , just three hours drive from Montreal. Temperature 29C. Atmosphere lively. Apparent number of tourists - millions.
Quebec City hopes to get on the world opera festival circuit with its new annual event - Festival Opera de Quebec. I'm attending its second year.
Chapelle du Musee de l"Amerique Francaise
My first stop was the weird and wonderful Le Jeu de Robin et Marion. In the oldest city in North America it seems appropriate that we should be listening to music from the 13th century. Ensemble Anonymous has been performing medieval music for more than 30 years. The musicians played traditional instruments and the sound, in the chapel above, was beautiful. The singers added an extra dimension by imitating paper puppets as they sang.
Premiere tonight.
Quebec is already one of the world's most beautiful cities so it doesn't have to try very hard to be appealing. But it has ramped up the ante with the involvement of Robert Lepage, a Quebec god, who can turn his hand to anything and make it incredible - plays, operas, Cirque du Soleil, you name it. But tonight it was the premiere at this festival of Nelligan.
T-shirt for sale featuring Quebec swear word

The opera, written in 1990 by André Gagnon, is about Quebec poet Emile Nelligan, who is considered one of Canada's best and was admitted to an asylum aged just 19. One theory is he suffered a breakdown because of the cultural difference between his French-Canadian mother and Irish father. The opera was extremely moving and tenor Marc Hervieux and baritone Dominique Coté as the younger and older poet really tugged at the heartstrings. A lot of opera types here in Quebec asked me how much of the mostly French libretto I had understood. Well, I cried, I said. This seemed to convince them and they went away smiling.

Church in Quebec City
For more on Quebec City: Bonjour Quebec and Quebec City.
To read more:  my next blog post.


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