Ballet, Opera, and the Symphony in Montréal’s Centre-Ville Est

Close up of the body of a violin with sheet music visible in the background.
Photo © Matt Trudeau, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

Montréal’s Centre-Ville Est is home to one of the most boundary-pushing ballet companies in North America, an outstanding opera house, and one of the biggest and most respected orchestras in Canada.

Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal

Founded in 1957 by young choreographer and dancer Ludmilla Chiriaeff, Les Grands Ballets (175 rue Ste-Catherine W., 514/849-0269; $50-150) continues to be the only ballet company in the city and one of the most boundary-pushing in North America. Presenting both classical and more contemporary works, which have included Tommy, Les Grands remains vibrant and is currently headed by artistic director Grandimir Pankov.

Opéra de Montréal

In the years since its founding in 1980, the Opéra de Montréal (175 rue Ste-Catherine W., 514/985-2222; $30-110) has presented 91 operas, including La Boheme, Salome, and two world premieres. In a city full of bilingual arts, the opera is one of the few places the two languages come together. The opera house presents a handful of operas a year. There are often specials for 18- to 30-year-olds.

L’Orchestra Symphonique de Montréal

Currently led by world-renowned conductor Kent Nagano, the Montréal Symphony Orchestra (175 rue Ste-Catherine W., 514/842-3402; $30-165) was founded by Wilfrid Pelletier in 1935 and continues to be the leading company of classical music in the province and is one of the biggest and most respected in Canada. Their new specialized hall, which was inaugurated at the Place des Arts in spring 2011, ensures the sound is impeccable and is quite the feast for the eyes. Those ages 34 and under should check out their website for deals on tickets.

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