Montreal’s Place des Arts turns 50, continues to energize city

Posted on: September 24, 2013

In Saturday’s (9/21) Gazette (Montreal), Victor Swoboda looks back to September 21, 1963, opening date of Salle Wilfrid Pelletier, the first building in Montreal’s Place des Arts. “In 1954, after seven months in office, opera-loving [Montreal Mayor Jean] Drapeau pushed for a large, centrally located new concert hall. At the time, the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal performed in a nondescript building in Lafontaine Park called Plateau Hall (now Centre Calixa Lavallée). Drapeau’s vision took in a complex of theaters, restaurants, and bars with a sprawling esplanade where thousands could gather. A place for the arts.” Former OSM Music Director Zubin Mehta comments in the article that “the cultural life of Montreal exploded with the opening of Place des Arts and Salle Wilfrid Pelletier.” Swoboda adds that “the arrival of Swiss conductor Charles Dutoit in 1977 … put the OSM on the world map…. Expo 67’s need for stages to presents its World Festival performances hastened the completion of PdA’s second building, which contained Théâtre Maisonneuve, Théâtre Port-Royal, and Théâtre du Café de la Place, later renamed Studio-Théâtre…. In 2011, the superb acoustics of PdAs newest addition, Maison symphonique, brought joy to music lovers and musicians.”

Posted September 24, 2013