Of all the reasons to visit Montreal, the biggest is arguably its distinct culture, particularly its music, art, and history. The Opéra de Montréal is the largest francophone opera company on the continent; it usually puts on four to five operas every season along with other activities and outreach programs. Over 55,000 people see the Opéra de Montréal every year.
The company was founded back in 1980, and since then it has performed over 970 shows in its 33 seasons—93 total operas. It has also done collaborations with the Seattle Opera, Vancouver Opera, San Diego Opera, Dallas Opera, and even Opera Australia.
The next upcoming show is Dead Man Walking (March 9, 12, 14, and 16), another interpretation of the true story on which the Oscar-winning film was based: Sister Helen Prejean is a nun who visits a prisoner about to be sentenced to death. This show is sung in English, with English and French surtitles (that is, projected subtitles). Next up is Manon (May 18, 21, 23, and 25), a five-act opera about star-crossed lovers who flee to Paris, only to find tragedy.
The Place des Arts, the concert hall that is the home of the Opéra de Montréal, is also a sight to see (even if you’re not there for the opera). It has a permanent art collection by Canadian and foreign artists, as well as tapestries, high-reliefs, and a glass mural.
The box office is open Monday through Saturday from 9am to 8pm by phone (or noon to 8:30pm in person). If coming by Metro, take the Green Line to the Place-des-Arts station. You can grab a classy bite to eat at Le Seingalt, Place Deschamps, or Le Contemporain, all close by.