Montreal’s great ode to classical music, the OSM Classical Spree Festival, returns this week, offering 30 concerts and more than 200 musicians through this weekend. Things start with a kickoff concert this evening, August 5, then the concerts run August 7 and August 8.
Now in its fourth year, the OSM Classical Spree is a mini-marathon of 45-minute concerts celebrating music and musicians worldwide, spread throughout city locations like the Maison Symphonique de Montreal and the Place des Arts. Artists joining this year include Kent Nagano, the music director of OSM, the city's symphony orchestra; violinists James Ehnes and Shunske Sato; pianists Nikolai Lugansky and Benjamin Grosvenor; cellist Luigi Piovano; and more.
Tonight's event is a free, large-scale concert performing the music of Carmen in Olympic Park. Nagano will conduct the OSM to accompany the vocal stylings of Michèle Losier, the mezzo-soprano singing the lead, Gregory Dahl, tenor, singing Don José, as well as several more singers, dancers and actors, all performing for an expected audience of more than 40,000.
The festival appeals to aficionados and families alike, with family programming sprinkled in among more intimate shows. Tickets are $8 to $30, and you can either follow suggested musical itineraries or make your own at the official site.