Newsbites (Page 2)

Newsbites (Page 2) McGill University

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ALUMNI QUARTERLY - winter 2008
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Newsbites (Page 2)

Panorama on Quebec

McGill teamed up with the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi (UQAC) recently to launch a new website all about our home province. Panorama sur le Québec is a complete guide to Quebec's culture, people and history. All content (in French, naturellement) was provided by academics from the participating programs, including UQAC's École de langue française et de culture québécoise, and McGill's Quebec Studies Program and French Language Program, as well as the International Association of Quebec Studies. From portraits of Quebec people to essays on language issues, interviews and articles about the Quebec cultural scene, the economy and more, Panorama sur le Québec is full of useful information for people around the world and at home to explore the province for educational, business or travel opportunities.

Panorama website

The website was launched during Principal Heather Munroe-Blum's visit to UQAC in the Saguenay region of the province in November, where she met up with McGill graduates and with UQAC researchers working on a number of projects with their McGill counterparts.

"Collaborating on the launch of Panorama sur le Québec was a natural choice for McGill, since the University is an important provider of varied, high-quality education in Quebec and French studies," said Munroe-Blum.

"This new website is an excellent example of a partnership between McGill, the Government of Quebec and the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi."

Visit Panorama sur le Québec at www.panorama-quebec.com.

Thirst for knowledge

There have been lots of chances for McGill alumni to go back to school lately. Homecoming this fall saw successful lectures and symposia offered by a number of McGill faculties. But there are other opportunities for intellectual stimulation coming out of McGill these days.

David Moss
Owen Egan

The McGill Alumni Association recently co-hosted with Concordia University the first in a series of "Public Conversations." Grads from both universities descended on the funky Café Sarajevo on Clark Street in Montreal and settled in for drinks and some live jazz from McGill students before moving on to the main event, a collective discussion on the evening's topic: "Does Culture Still Matter to You? Individual Creation, Public Institutions, Private Tastes." Guest speaker for the event was David Moss (pictured), the General Director of the Opéra de Montréal, and the host was Lara Evoy, BA'93, a Montreal arts researcher and curator.

The packed house responded well to this new concept in alumni events which grew out of the "University of the Streets" program organized through Concordia's Continuing Education department by another McGill graduate, Eric Abitol, BA'92. More Public Conversations will follow in the new year, including one with journalist and human rights activist Sally Armstrong, BEd'66, DLitt'02, in February.

Also in the fall, alumni out near Macdonald Campus got a chance to participate in the hugely successful Mini-Med lecture series offered by the Faculty of Medicine, which brings the general public right into the world of medical school. The magic of videoconferencing allowed participants at the West Island campus to see the presentations taking place downtown. "We hosted three of the Mini-Med lecture broadcasts at Mac to a small test-run audience that sold out quickly," says Trish Duff, BA'88, the Alumni Association's associate director of regional programs. After the featured lecture, the long-distance guests participated in a question and answer session via email. "We're hoping to bring more of future Mini-Med lectures to Mac," says Duff.

The Alumni Association is launching an alumni book club on campus, with English department professors Allan Hepburn and Peter Gibian discussing John le Carré's The Spy Who Came in From the Cold in January and Henry James's Daisy Miller in March.

And hot on the heels of Mini-Med comes Mini-Law from McGill's Faculty of Law. Expect similar success for this series, which will offer law school basics for the lay person. Law professor Rosalie Jukier, BCL'83, LLB'83, says, "Next fall, Thursday evenings will find McGill's top legal minds lecturing on topics such as What is Law?, The Court System, Human Rights, Criminal Law, Corporate Responsibility, Contract Law, Family Law, and Ethics. The purpose of these lectures is to give the public a taste of legal education and to learn how the law influences our daily lives." More information will be available shortly from the faculty.

To find about events offered by the McGill Alumni Association, see www.mcgill.ca/alumni or call (514) 398-5000.

Operatic Offred

Enforced surrogate motherhood, public executions, religious hypocrisy, totalitarian rule -- "It all makes for a pretty intense show," says Stephanie Marshall, BMus'98. But she isn't complaining. "Being the centre of attention is great fun," she laughs. She is speaking of the part of Offred, the central character in Poul Ruders and Paul Bentley's operatic adaptation of Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel, The Handmaid's Tale.

Stephanie Marshall
Michael Cooper / Canadian Opera Company

After Marshall performed the role with the English National Opera in London last year, the critics took note. "She'll be going places," wrote Martin Anderson in the Observer. Among those places: Toronto, this past September and October, to reprise Offred for her debut with the Canadian Opera Company at the Hummingbird Centre for the Performing Arts, where sell-out audiences were treated to one of Canada's most impressive young singers in top form.

Marshall's career has been ascending since graduating from McGill's music program. She left Montreal to study at the Royal Academy of Music in London, and later joined the English National Opera, where she has also performed Sonya in War and Peace, Myrtale in ThaEFs, Wellgunde in The Rhinegold and Twilight of the Gods, and Mercedes in Carmen. As a soloist she has sung with the Hallé Orchestra and the English Chamber Orchestra, and in 2001 she won the prestigious Kathleen Ferrier award.

At 31, she has plenty of years before her, as classical singers reach their vocal prime well into their 40s. This is good news for audiences. Marshall has made it back for a Pollack Hall recital as part of the CBC-McGill concert series but otherwise her schedule is booked with the English National Opera. Recordings will come, no doubt -- but in the meantime, only way to hear her is to buy a ticket and see her live. Check her website at www.classicalperformers.com/stephaniemarshall for performance details.

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