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Style Arts galas kick off Montreal’s spring social calendar with a bang

Orchestre Métropolitain Gala, Montreal

The concept for the evening was simple: great music and a great meal. It’s a formula for fundraising that seems to be working; the third (now annual) Great Conductor, Great Chef gala in support of Montreal’s Orchestre Métropolitain raised an impressive $500,000 net on March 11. Radio personality Pénélope McQuade was on emcee duties, and ahead of the onstage conversation with Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Orchestre Métropolitain’s superstar artistic director and principal conductor, she was joined on stage at Maison symphonique de Montréal by four boldface patrons of the organization: novelist, playwright and director Marie Laberge; fashion designer Marie Saint Pierre; golfer Anne-Catherine Tanguay and philanthropist Sophie Desmarais, a nod to the company’s mission moving forward to include and spotlight more female conductors and artists. After the concert, which featured Leonard Bernstein’s Candide Overture and Edward Elgar’s Enigma Variations, it was time for chef-on-the-rise Sophie Tabet to take the reins for the culinary portion of the night.

Les Grands Ballets Annual Gala, Montreal

On March 23, IGA Stadium, the 8,000-seat tennis court at the edge of Jarry Park, was transformed for Les Grands Ballets’s annual fundraising gala. North of $635,000 was raised at the event, funds which will support the company’s unwavering mission to create and develop ballet works. The evening’s always great performance program included an excerpt from Vendetta, a contemporary ballet by Belgian-Colombian choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, and a pas de deux by choreographer Peter Quanz, the first Canadian to create a piece for the legendary Kirov Ballet in St. Petersburg. Company artistic director Ivan Cavallari dedicated two pieces choreographed by principal dancer Vanesa Garcia-Ribala and dancers Vera Kvarcakova and Jérémy Galdeano to Constance V. Pathy, a beloved figure in Montreal’s dance community, in honour of her 30th anniversary as chair of the Grands Ballets’s board of directors.

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