Every February, Montreal comes alive with the best in music, circus arts, song, theater, dance, food (and everything in between!) for 2 weeks of festivities celebrating our rich and diverse culture. Montréal en Lumière is back for its 17th edition, honouring the Chinese city of Shenzhen, and this year promises to be bigger than ever!
One of the largest winter festivals in the world, experience a unique program combining performing arts, gastronomy, free outdoor fun, and a full night of wonders, where original creations and dazzling performances will become part of the city's fabric for 17 straight days.
With literally hundreds of activities to choose from, you are guaranteed to find something for everyone. Here are 45 things we're most looking forward to doing at this year's at Montréal en Lumière 2016.
1. SHENZHEN DESIGN IN 24 POSTERS
Celebrating Chinese design with a curated collection of 24 artistic posters, made possible thanks to the collaboration of the Shenzhen Guanshanyue Art Museum.
2. INTENSIONAL PARTICLE
Choreographer and former B-boy Hiroaki Umeda finds himself suspended weightless over an undulating landscape, ringed by metallic flames or transfixed by rays of light conjuring an infinite poetry.
3. COLD BLOOD
After their first experience creating a piece live right before the eyes of their audience, Michèle Anne De Mey and Jaco Van Dormael return with a sensational new creation.
Plunging deeper into the magic of changes of scale, working with lyrical, tragic, mysterious or dreamlike themes, their intricate effects suggest micro-worlds, miniatures that echo the infinitely large macrocosms that contain them.
4. SOIRÉE FLAMENCA with THE TRIO CAMELO
The Trio Camelo presents an evening of spicy flamenco fusion.
5. BALLET FLAMENCO DE ANDALUCÍA
In the 20+ years since its creation, Ballet Flamenco de Andalucía has spread the magic of its flamenco vision with its extraordinary dancers and passionate vocalists. The Ballet takes you on a shimmering and unforgettable trip to the heart of flamenco, guided by choreographer Rafaela Carrasco.
6. ROMAN ZAVADA - RÉSONANCES BORÉALES
Presented in the SAT’s dome, Zavada proposes a dialogue between the piano’s resonances and the northern lights captured in 360 degrees, deep into the arboreal forest. A unique, colourful, and immersive experience!
7. BASIA BULAT - (OPENING ACT: JOHN JACOB MAGISTERY)
Armed with the new repertoire of her latest album, Good Advice, the prolific composer comes to the festival to charm us anew with her incisive and irresistible songs and incandescent voice. The evening opens with local indie-post-folk band John Jacob Magistery.
8. JAMES CORREA SINGS SOUL
James Correa performs hits by Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, Bill Withers and much more onstage, so you know the dance-floor will be packed all night long!
9. SPEAKEASY ELECTRO SWING
The essential swing evenings known as Speakeasy Electro Swing Montreal, created by DJ Eliazar, Don Mescal and Sidi Khalil, marries the music of the first Great Depression with the technology of the second… and make it all swing like hell. Swing classes, live musicians, circus and burlesque performances bring an added touch of decadence.
10. TRIO FIBONACCI - MYSTICISM
Mysticism has inspired musicians since the dawn of humanity. Be it the esoteric teachings of freemasonry in the works of Mozart and Sibelius, or the visions of the medieval abbess, poet and composer Hildegarde von Bingen, this concert will take you on a fascinating voyage through the centuries.
11. SHENZHEN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
Conducted by Jindong Cai (Cincinnati Philharmonia Orchestra, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra), the orchestra will perform an outstanding program of Chinese and Western classical music to celebrate the arrival of the Chinese New Year, and will feature the brilliant violinist Dan Zhu, renowned on the international music scene.
12. RADIO RADIO
Brilliant rhythms, a tight connection with the crowd, delivering hip-hop, fired up with eclectic electronica influences, the band is back with their new album Light the Sky.
13. SOPHIE PELLETIER - LE DÉSERT, LA TEMPÊTE
In her Montreal return, the singer-songwriter presents her first album, Le désert, la tempête, produced by Andre Papanicolaou. Sophie is at her best onstage, delivering the full measure of her being and talents, charming the hearts and ears of her fans with her powerful voice, sensitivity and striking lyrics set to catchy pop laced with folk, blues and country.
14. THE FANTASTIX - 2082 : LA FUSION DES FORCES MAGIQUES
This major interactive and fantastical production transcends the limits of the imagination and celebrates a fascinating fusion of hypnotism, illusionism and mentalism, rejuvenating the traditional magic show.
15. COUPS DE COEUR
Presented by TOHU as a selection of pieces seamlessly strung together, discover the many disciplines of the modern circus . With works by circus performers from various local and international great companies such as Cirque du Soleil, Cirque Éloize, Flip Fabrique for an unforgettable evening.
16. CIRCUS INCOGNITUS
Circus Incognitus relates the story of an ordinary man who tries but fails to transmit a message. Engaging in a series of improbable and hilarious adventures, the famed clown-acrobat-juggler-illusionist-balancing-artist charms his audience with a solo show that is equal parts tenderness and irresistible humour.
17. L'IMMÉDIAT by CAMILLE BOITEL
Pretending to lose control, six performers move with acrobatic fluidity between elements that continuously fall and break. L’immédiat is a combination of circus, dance and theatre, where the action unfolds like clockwork, following its own madcap logic.
18. GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS by DAVID MAMET
Four real estate brokers are living under the rules of an outrageous capitalism on the North Side of Chicago in the 80’s. Competition is fierce and any trickery is possible: lies, intimidation, corruption, fraud and theft. Directed by Frédéric Blanchette.
19. THE SECRET ANNEX by ALIX SOBLER
A stirring and romantic “what if” story Anne Frank looking at her survival, sacrifice and all that we have to be grateful for. Directed by Marcia Kash.
20. ON THIS DAY by ALEXANDRIA HABER
A bickering couple driving to their friend's birthday party may have hit a young woman... A comedy-drama exploring today’s large issues within the minutiae of our daily routines. Directed by Alain Goulem.
21. FRIDA KAHLO : CORRESPONDANCE
Letters, messages, confessions, poems, intimate journals... Frida Kahlo wrote the way she painted. Sophie Faucher welcomes you to a theatrical reading of the life of famed Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. Accompanied by Mariachi Figueroa and conjuring a fiesta atmosphere.
22. RACE by DAVID MAMET
When a rich white man is accused of raping a younger African American woman, he looks to a multicultural law firm for his defense. But even as his lawyers—one of them white, another black— begin to strategize, they must confront their own biases and assumptions about race relations in America. Directed by Martine Beaulne.
23. LOUIS RIEL: A COMIC-STRIP STAGE PLAY
Part civil rights leader, part self described prophet—equally revered and reviled, Riel is a man of his time. Rugged, bilingual, born of Canada’s European and Indigenous histories, he embodies the new Canada. RustWerk ReFinery’s live action puppet adaptation of Chester Brown’s acclaimed graphic novel is a stunning and spirited trek through one of Canada’s most riveting historical periods.
24. FESTIVAL LUNCHES!
CHEF: JÉRÔME FERRER (Europa)
Europea invites you to its annual gastronomic get-together! Come enjoy a five-course meal for the tantalizing price of $35. Don’t miss this rare gourmet treat, courtesy of chef Jérôme Ferrer.
25. NEW ENGLAND HAPPY HOUR
CHEF: FRANÇOIS FONDROUGE (Pullman Bar a Vin
Enjoy a taste of New England for happy hour. Pullman invites you to several appetizing aperitifs during the Festival.
26. TANTALIZING TRUFFLES!
CHEF: NORMAND LAPRISE (Brasserie T!)
Fresh black truffles highlight a parade of exquisite dishes, with a special two-course menu served. Signature dishes, available à la carte, will also be garnished with truffles.
27. BERGEVIN’S TARTARE
CHEF: PAUL SOUCIE (Le Richmond Griffintown)
GM of the Montreal Canadiens, Marc Bergevin will be present his favourite veal tartare recipe. Marc and executive chef Paul Soucie will season the meat to perfection as they chat about sports and cooking. Marc will be at the event on February 18, and the meal will be available on all dates.
28. HONORARY PRESIDENT DINNERS
CHEF: OLIVIER PERRET (Renoir)
For the first time ever, restaurant Le Renoir will welcome the honorary president of the festival, along with the traditional cuisine of Huaiyang and its savoury, aromatic specialties. Chef Dong arrives with his impressive culinary résumé, accenting that ancestral savoir-faire with a touch of magic that transforms every dish into a work of art.
Guests of these two extraordinary evenings, in groups of two or ten, will enjoy a seven-course meal of the utmost refinement, combining Asian products and the talents of two great chefs.
29. HAKIM’S TRAVELS
CHEF: JEAN-BAPTISTE MARCHAND (La Fabrique)
La Fabrique invites you to a celebration of modernity and tradition featuring guest chef Hakim. On February 18, he joins Jean-Baptiste and his brigade to serve up a taste of his native Morocco. On the second evening, he will introduce you to his exceptional cuisine focused on the quality products and people encountered on his many travels.
30. PUB-CRAWL, INVASION COCKTAIL-STYLE! - APÉROFEST
(Starting point: Berri-UQAM metro station, Berri exit)
Hosted by Romain Cavelier, winner of Canada’s prestigious Made with Love 2015 mixology contest, and spiced up with historical anecdotes along the way, plunge into the wonderful world of mixology in this exclusive tour of three Montreal cocktail bars.
31. COMEDY CLUB
CHEFS: KIM DONG HYUN AND PHIL LEE (Flyjin)
Flyjin converts into a comedy club to welcome a highly famous Montreal comedian, for this quasi-private three-course dinner show. Treat yourself to Flyjin’s delicious dumplings and signature dishes while you get your laugh on. Who is this famous comedian? You’ll have to go to find out!
32. LEGENDARY CHEF LYDIA SHIRE IN OUR KITCHEN
CHEF: ÉMILIE RIZZETTO (Le Saint-Gabriel)
Boasting several James Beard awards and hailed by Food & Wine as one of the top 10 chefs in America, Lydia Shire will lead two exclusive evenings, with her infectious energy and passion for Italian-inspired cuisine.
33. APRÈS-SKI HAPPY HOUR -
APÉROFEST (LAB, comptoir à cocktails)
Because winter is synonymous with warmth, the team at LAB, Comptoir à Cocktails invites you to discover their selection of comforting hot cocktails.
34. A TRIBUTE TO QUEBEC’S CHEESES
CHEFS: PETER SAUNDERS AND SOPHIE OUELLET (EVOO)
Quebec’s cheeses will be the star of this four-course menu, created in collaboration with La Fromagerie Atwater. EVOO showcases the meticulous skill of the artisans of yesteryear with their unyielding passion and desire to create innovative cheese creations.
35. LALOUX GOES VEGGIE
CHEF: JONATHAN LAPIERRE-RÉHAYEM (Laloux)
Known for his eco-responsible philosophy, Jonathan Lapierre-Réhayem will unleash his creativity in a five-course menu made up of seasonal local products—with no fish or meat! An unforgettable evening of fine vegetarian dining!
36. MAISON BOULUD WELCOMES TIM CUSHMAN
CHEFS: RICCARDO BERTOLINO AND DANIEL BOULUD (Maison Boulud)
Daniel Boulud and Riccardo Bertolino are pleased to welcome Boston chef Tim Cushman to Maison Boulud’s kitchen. After studying music, this multi-talented chef transposed his artistic expression into cooking, earning many awards and accolades along the way. Cushman will concoct a flavourful Asian-inspired menu honouring Quebec products.
37. A NEW DYNASTY AT LES 400 COUPS
CHEFS: GUILLAUME CANTIN AND BRIAN VERSTRATEN (Les 400 Coups)
For one delightful week, Les 400 Coups fuses local flavours from China and Quebec, bringing you the best of both continents! This special four-course meal will be inspired by Chinese cuisine but prepared with local products from La Belle Province.
38. DANIEL VÉZINA WELCOMES BOSTON CHEF TRU LANG
CHEF: DANIEL VÉZINA (Laurie Raphaël Restaurant/Boutique)
Daniel Vézina is proud to showcase a promising young chef from Boston, Tru Lang. Whether you go for a gourmet lunch, or an opulent eight-course dinner, discover Lang’s passion and his profound respect for fresh products and nature.
39. CANTONESE CHEF MARK WU IN OUR KITCHENS!
CHEF: JÉRÔME FERRER (Europa)
Chef Jérôme Ferrer is pleased to welcome master chef Mark Wu for two special evenings to create a tasting menu featuring the finest flavours of Chinese cuisine. This deliciously inventive meal will be served in six courses.
40. MONTREAL COOKS LIVE !
CHEF: JOE MERCURI (Mercuri)
Chef Mercuri invites five chefs who, like him, contributed to the book Montreal Cooks by Jonathan Cheung and Tays Spencer. Each chef, including Joe, will prepare an original recipe to create a sublime six-course menu.
Featuring Steven Leslie from Taverne on the Square, Dany Bolduc from H4C Place St-Henri, Josie Weitzenbauer from Léché Desserts, Adam Ganten from Le St-Urbain, Carlin Filmore from Moishes.
41. QUEBEC CHEESE FESTIVAL
Back for a 10th edition at the Grande-Place, offering the public a marvelous opportunity to meet the cheesemakers of Quebec. Visitors can taste the Québécois “classics” and make surprising discoveries... while tasting excellent wines and beers at the Quebec Cheeses Boutique.
42. THE MONDIAL DES CIDRES 2016
SPECIAL EVENTS - (Complexe Desjardins’ Grande-Place)
The 2016 edition of The Mondial des Cidres invites you to enjoy the craftsmanship of more than 20 local cider-makers and to discover cider in all its variations: sparkling, sweet, dry, iced, flavoured, etc.
43. FLAVOUR, SCIENCE AND SAP
SPECIAL EVENTS - (Agora Hydro-Québec)
A scientific and gustatory exploration of our gastronomic jewel. An evening featuring several tastings and testings to experience the amazing world of maple syrup.
44. QUEBEC CHEFS AND CHEESES
SPECIAL EVENT (Le Grand Salon du Reine Elizabeth)
An evening that brings together four chefs from Radio-Canada’s popular show Les Chefs!, for a special edition that challenges them to create 12 delectable culinary creations for some 400 guests using the best in local cheeses. Only one will walk away with the $5,000 Grand Prize!
45. ALL-DUCK TASTING EVENING
SPECIAL EVENTS - (Place des Festivals)
Back by popular demand, the Bistro du festival SAQ presented by SAQ will host this gourmet evening presenting a six-course service of Rougié duck along with wines specially chosen by an SAQ expert to create the perfect pairings.