December 7, 2018

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The Holiday Season is a wonderful time to get together with friends and loved ones to enjoy some memorable moments. Whether you’re the kind of person who can never get enough winter festivities or someone whose skin crawls when the carolling starts, there’s a cultural event in the Quartier des Spectacles for you this month. Why not make a gift of them – or treat yourself?

Here are some suggestions to enjoy the holidays – traditionally or not !

Magical shows, music and traditions

In December, the Quartier des Spectacles hosts a cornucopia of glittering options, bringing light to the festive season.

Celebrate Christmas with the Goethe-Institut. Partygoers will enjoy traditional German holiday treats like lebkuchen and glühwein, live music by Choeur de l’Art Neuf and a paper-art workshop. Admission is free, but donations of non-perishable food items, baby food and new toys are encouraged, with proceeds going towards Sun Youth.

A cherished tradition continues at Place des Arts with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens’ majestic production of The Nutcracker. The ballet, based on Hoffmann’s fairy tale, is synonymous with Christmas magic. Entertaining, gorgeous, unforgettable, and set to Tchaikovsky’s timeless score. Pure joy!

Treat your ears to a holiday classic when the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal performs Handel’s Messiah. Over 250 years since its debut, this rousing oratorio about the life of Jesus has become a mainstay of the season. Conductor Paul McCreesh leads this OSM tradition.

Few things are more soothing for body and soul than the best soul, Motown, funk and disco tunes played by world-class musicians who only want to make you smile and dance. That’s what you’ll get with Le Balcon’s holiday special, a winning combo of party, cabaret and dinner-show. In an equally festive spirit, Théâtre Maisonneuve presents Gospel Celebration 2018 with the Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir, a heartwarming Montreal tradition.

The joys of nature and culture

The Christmas in the Park festival, in Place Émilie-Gamelin, has something for everyone, even those who crave warmth: Christmas trees for sale, local crafts, campfires, hot drinks, delicious snacks and plenty of live music. It’s an intimate urban party in a charming spot.

Not far away, but indoors, the Grande Bibliothèque (BAnQ) offers a huge selection of inspiring books for the holidays. Recipes for delicious feasts, décor and crafting ideas for homemade gifts, stories, legends… You’re sure to find something to make you dream, and the space is perfect for exploration and discovery.

Holidays with a difference

No, there’s nothing wrong with you if you don’t adore traditional Holiday celebrations, and all you want is to forget our too-cold days and too-long nights. The Quartier des Spectacles can help, with some great shows and irresistible entertainment.

At Place des Arts, contemporary dance is both exuberant and delicate in Vraiment doucement, by choreographer Victor Quijada, performed by six dancers from the RUBBERBANDance company.

Following up on last spring’s sprawling live cover of Pink Floyd’s iconic album The Wall, Richard Petit and his team return to explore the rest of the band’s canon in Space #2 Symphonique. This time, they are backed by an orchestra of three dozen musicians at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier at Place-des-Arts.

Soften up your inner curmudgeon

Push winter’s grey into the background with three dazzling activities, Luminothérapie, Slava’s Snowshow and Françoise Sullivan : Retrospective Exhibition.

Starting December 11 in Place des Festivals, Luminothérapie invites us to have some good outdoor fun with domino effect, a stunning reinvention of the universal pastime by Montreal-based studio Ingrid Ingrid. It’s a musical, luminous, participatory winter experience.

The touching Slava’s Snowshow, which keeps spreading wonder around the world, returns to Théâtre Saint-Denis. This artistic masterpiece features an unforgettable absurdist world, where each scene is an epic in its own right.

Swathes of orange, undulating black waves, tumbling circles of crimson: Françoise Sullivan’s dynamic bursts of colours make a fine retreat from grey winter days in this well-deserved retrospective. Explore this evolution of one of Quebec’s most impactful artists at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal.