Craig Morash (baritone)
Last night`s opening concert was a huge success! Our day started with a late-morning rehearsal with Maestro Nagano and the OSM to iron out the last few rough patches and then everyone was revved to go for the show. The evening`s festivities began with the official ribbon-cutting, carried out by Premier Jean Charest and Lucien Bouchard, who is the Chairman of the OSM Board. Then we began the performance with a piece by Quebecois composer Claude Vivier for solo soprano and choir. This was followed by 2 newly-commissioned works, one for solo flute and the other for full orchestra, interspersed with poetry by Quebec and Innu poets and read by Quebec actors. Then on to the Beethoven Ninth Symphony. The orchestra played superbly and the concert hall`s acoustics, even filled with over 2,000 people, were impeccable. The first pianissimo theme in the fourth movement, played by the basses and celli, was awe-inspiringly quiet and clear. The choir sang the fourth movement with fully-energized verve and, at the conclusion, the audience leapt to its feet in a sustained and vocal ovation. It was a thrilling end to the concert. The evening`s events continued with a wine and hors d`oeuvres reception for the audience, musicians and choir in the foyer of Place des Arts, while other dinners took place throughout the lobbies and in tents on the outdoor terrace surrounding the new hall. At 9:00pm, in an outdoor square beside the new concert hall, the CBC broadcast was projected onto the entire exterior wall of the new building, while other various camera shots of the performance were projected on several smaller screens placed throughout the square. All of this was accompanied by impressive circus performances by Cirque Eloize on three different stages in the square. While one would think that the Ninth Symphony and circus art forms were too much of a dichotomy, the effect was quite magical and ethereal. At the conclusion of the broadcast, Maestro Nagano and the soloists came up on the main outdoor stage and took a bow in front of the cheering and applauding thousands in attendance. It`s terrific that the music and the new concert hall were so enthusiastically received both inside and outside its brand new walls.
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