“Nobody needs knowledge to love music”

He is the soul of Bourgie Hall. Isolde Lagacé chronicles her experiences as the head of what can now be described as a real institution in the artistic landscape of Montreal.

We joined the former administrator at a cafe in the Montcalm district of Quebec, where he recently lived to be closer to his two children, who are active in Les Violons du Roy.

A few days earlier, Bourgie Hall in Montreal had given him a final tribute concert. “My project is to live,” answered Isolde Lagacé when asked about possible retirement plans. “At 65, when you’ve been running your whole life, you deserve to take a break! »

Why leave now, after nearly 15 years at the helm of the Arte Musica Foundation, which was responsible for bringing life to the former Erskine Church and American United, which later became Bourgie Hall? “There are still challenges in our environment, and these challenges, I’d rather someone of another generation respond to,” he said. The pandemic is like a natural split. All the elements are there for me to pass the torch. Just because I’m sick doesn’t mean I’m unhealthy or out of ideas. »

Isolde Lagacé recalls the mistrust of the Foundation’s directors after she wrote her own job description, which was important in the hiring process. To endlessly want to entrust everything to one person is to try to make a circle into a square. “People of my generation were versatile,” said the man in his sixties. For many years, I invited musicians to have dinner with us after concerts. And I don’t have a $10,000 expense account. I treat them like my family. »

The chairman of the board, Pierre Bourgie, finally gave up. “I told him that if we wanted to continue growing, it was time to separate positions”, recalls the newly retired, whose positions were entrusted last year to Caroline Louis (general management) and to Olivier Godin (artistic direction).

Grow, but how? Isolde Lagacé continues to preach for programming diversification.

I find it tiring that we always play the same thing. We’re told that if we don’t play less well-known pieces, it’s because they’re uninteresting. But this is not true!

Isolde Lagace

The same goes for guest artists. “It’s not that you don’t know a bad name and you won’t get too emotional,” he said. By the same token, the more you pay, the more you think it will be good! I want people to learn to judge for themselves, ascertain their tastes instead of relying on what has been said. »

Another credo for the former administrator: “No one needs theoretical knowledge to love music, he assures. People say they have no ears, but they love music. I tell them that’s why they have ears. »

He gave the example of a man who taught his children in elementary school. After seeing her again randomly on the bus, he immediately invited her to Bourgie Hall to hear her daughter Mélisande play. The crush that made him a regular in the bedroom. “That’s the essence of my job! cried Isolde Légaré. If we change someone’s life on any given night, our job is done. »


Find sounds buried in memory


Composer Keiko Devaux

Composer of the Year at last year’s Opus Awards, Montrealer Keiko Devaux will unveil his opera Listening to the Lost at the Darling Foundry, February 3 and 4. Co-produced by the Paramirabo ensemble and Musique 3 Femmes, this “non-narrative, experimental and bilingual chamber opera” for three soloists on the theme of memory will be directed by Marie Brassard with Jennifer Szeto as music director.

A Haitian opera was performed in Montreal


Soprano Suzanne Taffot

Is Montreal on its way to becoming a black opera hub? After Backstage at Carnegie Hall by Tim Brady, created last September, is Torch by David Bontemps, a Haitian composer living in Montreal, which will be performed for the first time on February 7 at the Pierre-Mercure hall as part of Black History Month. This opera about “corruption, misogyny and the abuse of power” will feature four black singers (including soprano Suzanne Taffot) accompanied by Orchester Classique de Montréal and conductor Alain Trudel.

Le Métropolitain dives into Quebec’s creations


Valerie Milot and Stéphane Tetreault

After the opera, it was the orchestra that celebrated the new music, and twice more than once at the Orchester Métropolitain. From 9 to 11 February, Dutch theremin virtuoso Thorwald Jørgensen will present a concert by Simon Bertrand with Serbian conductor Daniela Candillari. Barely a few days later (15, 17, and 19 February), Denis Gougeon would see him double concert composed by cellist Stéphane Tétreault and harpist Valérie Milot, under the direction of Nicolas Ellis.

A Bat on the mountainside


Conductor Jean-François Rivest

Will Doctor Falke be able to get revenge for the bitter joke his friend Eisenstein once played? To find out, you have to go to the Claude-Champagne room, from February 23 to 26. Bat by Johann Strauss, one of the most popular operettas in the repertoire, will be performed by the Atelier d’Opéra de l’Université de Montréal. Jean-François Rivest will conduct the orchestra and François Racine will direct.

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