Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Espace pour la Vie Montréal : Programmation 2014

Montreal Space for Life : Program 2014


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(Last update – Most recent entry at top of page / Dernière mise-a-jour – l’entrée la plus récente au haut de la page: June 18 Juin 2014)

Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium   
Two Shows That Are Out Of This World!

October 31st 2014 by Nancy Snipper

Continuum… a magnificent immersive experience

In an earth-breaking spectacle of beauty at night - beyond what the eye can see, the Planetarium features an astounding space journey into our dynamically active galaxy and many others. This remarkable adventure that takes place inside Chaos Theatre is called Continuum. We become a part of it, as our bodies are splayed out on huge comfy cushions. Like a Cirque de Soleil fantasy where science and artistry merge, Continuum was created by two geniuses: Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon. The effect is visually awesome; we are mesmerized by what we witness above us. The music by Philip Glass is evocative of the magnificent, mysterious and ominous vitality in a dimension that we normally are not privy to. We begin with night descending over a forest lit by a great canopy of stars, and then the action begins. Sometimes, it is gentle and at other times frighteningly explosive. What is going on above our heads – far above our heads, million of light years away?  We journey to the progeny of the Big Bang. Bubbles turn into cells. We see nebulae sprawled across immense space. The show artistically coalesces, merges and dynamically manifests the myriad of movements that happen in space. What a revelation!  The poetic liberties of Continuum’s marvellous spectacle take visitors into an odyssey filled with rapture; we fall in love with space. I want to go there. I want to be part of those stars, of that lightening, of that circuit of planets and the infinite darkness beyond! Sublime, sensational - out of this world!

I also enjoyed the highly visual and completely scientific show called From the Earth to the Stars – held inside an amphitheatre that presents before our eyes a myriad of stars – their pictorial constellations and the geometric forms that help locate all our galaxy’s seasonal constellations. This show featured the expert narration of physicist Simon A. Bélanger and as the music and his technology worked their magic, we learned an enormous amount about our galaxy and others too. Did you know there are 100 to 500 billion galaxies and in each one – an average of all million stars?
I highly recommend you attend this show. It brilliantly dazzles as it combines the educational (there are many fascinating statistics given with names that help you enter the universe above as an amateur astronomer). The space ship we traveled in brought us into Saturn’s rings, took us right to Mars, and even gave us a sighting of the black hole. Imagine all this, and we never had to leave our seats to travel in space!

You may want to take in the meteorite exhibit which features tiny and big ones from Argentina, Africa, Russia, Quebec and the USA. More than a dozen 17th-century sun dials enclosed in glass cases are also on view. It would seem that space is a far more captivating place to be in than the humdrum daily grind that marks our earthly mundane comings and goings. You come out of the Planetarium and the secrets it reveals feeling renewed. The effect is positively magical!!
For information on this show and the next ones to come, please visit: www.montrealspcaeforlife.ca


Biodôme brings in the sloths

June 17 2014 by Nancy Snipper:

Montreal’s unique Biodôme with its four ecosystem environment/habitats of their respective climates in which diverse distinct animals and fauna thrive, celebrates 22 years of life on June 22nd. The gift it’s giving to the public must be unwrapped slowly, for now everyone can slow down with two slowpoke 2-toed sloths. The installations, and creatively conceived habitat to keep things and us on the same pace as these near, non-moving mysterious animals was developed by Marie-Claire Lagacé and her Biodôme team. 
Marie-Claire Lagacé

Huge trees in creamy white with robust gnarled roots have the two metal “houses” where mother and daughter literally hang out. Long thick fabrics rolled like snakes on the floor are where people can lie and stretch out to relax and get in sync with the sloths. 

Another sloth-inspired creation was the sound and light and mime show animated by Eric Poulin. As we sat in two round section of seats, we clapped and snapped  our fingers and stomped our feet to bring on various jungle sounds -sometimes mimicking a sloth climbing or thunder –  as the orally-told story took us into the day and a life of a sloth trying to avoid predators and other dangers. The music, composed by Vincent Letellier was great, and our imaginations were stimulated.
Hanging from the ceiling to separate the show with the sloth area was a huge mobile of delicate beauty, once again created by Marie-Claire. Oval white pieces of paper seemed to float like a mirage of sunlight – each holding the finger print and message of each of her team members.
Making the whole affair educational was biologist, Diane Mitchell. She related fascinating information about the 7.5-kilo sloths, their eating habits and digestive system (they only do “their business” once a week), along with details about their hair, teeth and toes.
I enjoyed the explanations, but noticed there was no written literature on panels for the public to read. The sloths found a friend in Marie-Claire. Her reflections on their sweet, remarkable laid-back way of living deeply inspired her, and we leave with a smile slowly forming on our face.
The sloths will be on view until October 26th. It’s your day to feel as lazy as a sloth. 


 “The Arts Put on a Show at the Garden”

Commentary and Reviews by Nancy Snipper

This summer you are invited into a leisure filled experience brimming with concerts within the enchanting, flower-filled setting of the Montréal Botanical Gardens.  
The Arts Put on a Show at the Garden puts art is in the spotlight at this uniquely beautiful Montréal venue. All summer long, some big-name performers will be playing in the Centre Stage series, while visitors can look forward to a series of intimate encounters with artists every Sunday in different gardens in bloom. Poets, musicians, storytellers and circus performers are sure to add their magical touch to the various gardens. Even more fragrances, sounds, images and light will appear in the Spirits of the Tree exhibition at the Frédéric Back Tree House. This exciting exhibit is certain to delight visitors’ senses, with the all-new multimedia installation created by Michel Gauthier, Thierry Dubreuil and Michael Moisseeff. 

Angèle Dubeau & La Pietà  
Kicked off Space for Life’s “The Arts Put on a Show at the Garden” 

 May 18th, 2014

It was a happy 4:00 pm, Sunday concert, held Centre Stage en plein air – wind and all. The day was sunny, and the audience was eager to hear the prestigious ensemble of international renown. What a wonderful way to usher in the Garden's summer-long events.

Ms. Dubeau and her eight musicians – all on string instruments of course, save for the pianist presented a fantastic concert of such appealing music. Each melody conjured up fond memories and images of beauty and suspense for us all. The program primarily featured compositions from film classics, such as  Dr. Zhivago, The Mission, Fiddler on the Roof, Cinema Paradiso, Romeo and Juliet, Scent of a Woman and The Titanic.
The ensemble was totally sonorous, but what struck me most of all, was Ms. Dubeau’s vigorous, highly spirited playing that conveyed a great scope of musicality whether the passages were gentle or dramatically intense. Her emotional connection to the program was as tight as glue.

Ms. Dubeau also revealed that she has just produced an album, titled “White” which musically features her deep feelings and thoughts regarding her personal experience with breast cancer. Two pieces – Mario and The Rain were so moving and stunning in the tango tune of Por Una Cabeza or the lyrical composition of Lady Caliph by Ennio Morricone – her champion of composers to perform – the delivery was truly invigorating and evocative of mood variation. The hour whizzed by!
Preceding this concert, I strolled over to the Alpine Garden to listen to Voces boreales. Fourteen vocalists brought timeless religious songs and hymns to poetic heights with their harmonious voices. Latin was the language of many of these songs. Amid the Hosannas, Amen endings and Dominie Sanctus, I felt transported to a transcendent place of solemnity and peace.

The innovative group, BarbuZébelle, presented a fun concert in the Lilac Garden. This young Quebecois group of whimsical artists features a story-teller and three hearty musicians whose exuberance was a perfect fit for the traditional music they played from Quebec, Ireland and Scotland.


Benoit ”Bison” Davidson told his original story, Création which comprises two tales: À l’an 2033 and Les Aurores Boréales,  He also related Ciel Bas, a First Nations story. It was a concert that children and adults attended and because of the group’s dynamic energy, one wanted to grab a pair of spoons to play along with them, as Acadian flavours marked much of the music. Vocalist and accordion player Isabelle Cadieux-Landreville really punched up the songs with her vocals.

The garden was filled with gladness.

I was enchanted by the harmonizing of art and nature in the splendid sublime floral settings for which the Botanical Gardens is renowned.

I look forward to attending more of these enjoyable events.

For information on the summer concerts’ performers, schedules and specific location in the Botanical Gardens, visit: montrealespacepourlavie.ca