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It is the Festival de Lanaudière that kicks off the ball for summer classical music programming in Quebec. Discussion with its artistic director Renaud Loranger.

“The music industry operates both in slow motion and in seventh gear. We haven’t quite found our bearings. There are a lot of things that don’t work exactly like before the pandemic, a lot of mechanics that are a lot less fluid, but I feel like everyone is trying to pretend like nothing happened.” , summarizes the administrator.

However, he says he is “very proud of what is happening in Lanaudière this year. There are still several blockbusters in the season.

The structure of the Lanaudois summer, which will take place from July 7 to August 6, is the same as in previous years, with an opening weekend provided by the Orchester symphonique de Montréal and a closing concert with the Metropolitan Orchestra.

In the first case, Rafael Payare will conduct not Mahler, as in the three previous editions, but the beloved Symphony No. 9 in D minor by Beethoven, which he gave last June at the Maison symphonique. The work has not been performed at the festival since 2007. The next day, we will be treated to the Concerto for orchestra by Bartók, but especially to the debut, in Concerto no 2 in C minor by Rachmaninoff, by the young Russian pianist Denis Kojoukhine, who will also perform Schubert and Liszt solo on July 10.

“He belongs to that absolutely extraordinary generation of Russian virtuosos. He is a boy who does not look like the others, who has an extraordinary technique, a sound of a thickness that makes one think of Emil Gilels. It’s not an aesthetic that we often hear today, “says Renaud Loranger, who worked with him as vice president at Pentatone.

We’ll be back with the OSM and its conductor on August 4 and 5, first for a complete Stravinsky’s Firebird and Reinhold Glière’s Harp Concerto with the virtuoso Xavier de Maistre (also solo on August 2 August), then for Schumann’s Symphony No. 2 in C major and Wagner’s Wesendonck-Lieder with mezzo-soprano Karen Cargill, a regular at the OSM.

As for the closing concert, Yannick Nézet-Séguin will be at the helm of the OM in Symphony No. 6 in B minor, known as “Pathétique”, by Tchaikovsky, given last summer at the Domaine Forget, but also Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor with the South Korean Seong-Jin Cho, a frequent partner of the Quebec conductor.

The OM and Nézet-Séguin will have had the opportunity, the previous weekend, to give the monumental Alpine Symphony by Strauss and the very athletic Konzertstück for four horns and orchestra by Schumann, before Les pins de Rome by Respighi and the Concerto for piano no 3 in D minor by Rachmaninoff with Marc-André Hamelin.

Between the beginning and the end of the festival, music lovers will also have the opportunity to hear the legendary William Christie and his flourishing Arts again, this time in Handel’s rare opera Partenope, but also the phenomenal Leonardo García Alarcón, for the first time here with its Capella Mediterranea (in addition to the Namur Chamber Choir) for nothing less than Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo and Vespers of the Virgin.

On the orchestral side, we will also be entitled to the Violons du Roy (July 14) in an all Haydn program and to the National Youth Orchestra of the USA under the direction of the experienced Andrew Davis (July 16), who will give Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, then the Barber Violin Concerto with the great Gil Shaham.

As for solo recitals and small ensembles, note the visit of the great accordionist Richard Galliano (July 9), a Brahms concert with pianist Charles Richard-Hamelin, violinist Andrew Wan and cellist Alisa Weilerstein (July 11), but also appearances by the Calder Quartet in Beethoven (July 18) and pianist Angela Hewitt in Bach (July 27).

As Renaud Loranger summarizes, “there are two tutelary figures in the season: Monteverdi and Rachmaninoff. We have two extreme poles: absolute hubris with Rachmaninoff; asceticism, renunciation with L’Orfeo. Handel and Haydn fit roughly in the middle of this, as a counterpoint to the extremes, through humor or transcendence.”

“All this can make it possible, as Fernand Lindsay [founder of the festival] hoped during his lifetime, to offer avenues to the public to, in the best case, move towards the good life”, he concludes philosophically.