by Paula Citron
This is my annual love letter to Quebec’s Festival de Lanaudière and I know I’m making converts.
Festival de Lanaudière is in Joliette, about an hour’s drive beyond Montreal. It is the most important mixed music festival in Canada and among the top in North America. The main venue is the stunning, open-air amphitheatre which has near perfect, natural acoustics where the mainline concerts are performed.
The weekend evening concerts at the amphitheatre feature top gun orchestras like Kent Nagano’s Montreal Symphony and Bernard Labadie’s Les Violons du Roy. The very popular Sunday afternoon concerts have lighter fare. During the weeknights, chamber music is presented in the region’s historic wooden churches. The artists are those featured in the amphitheatre programs.
One of the joys of Festival de Lanaudière is the inventive mix of themed music. You often hear rare repertoire which is a boon to the jaded concert goer. The international array of artists is always outstanding.
And then there is the bonus of the Lanaudière region itself with its lovely countryside, quaint villages, craft stores and wonderful restaurants. Who needs to schlep to the United States when this wonderful festival is on our own doorstep?
Festival de Lanaudière continues until Aug. 5.
I’m Paula Citron, arts reviewer for CLASSICAL 96.3 FM.