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Rebellion, religion, politics, madness and a controversial execution: Métis leader Louis Riel's life has been told and retold in our history textbooks, in theatre and even, most recently, in the form of a comic book. But his story would seem to be most naturally the stuff of opera.
Louis Riel, the opera by composer Harry Somers, first premiered in 1967 in celebration of Canada's centennial. Now, in honour of the centennial of music teaching at McGill, it is coming to Place des Arts. Opera McGill's Alexis Hauser will direct, and baritone Luc Lalonde will take the part of Riel.
Opera enthusiast and McGill engineering professor Ronald Gehr says Louis Riel is an obscure modern work. "There's dialogue and few traditional choruses and arias." To help those more familiar with the traditional forms of earlier centuries, as well as opera newbies, get the most of this rare performance, a seminar on Monday, January 24, will provide key background information.
With the aid of the only existing LP recording of the work, Dean Jobin-Bevans, the director of the McGill Conservatory, will discuss its musical structure. Equally importantly, Jobin-Bevans will explore how the opera condenses Riel, the sometimed-maligned, sometimed-exalted historical figure, into a theatrical character.
January 27 and 28, 7:30 pm, Théâtre Maisonneuve. Tickets: Place des Arts box office, 842-2112 or online at www.pdarts.com. Students $15.50 or $23, others $20 or $30.
Seminar: January 24, 4:30 pm to 6 pm in Room 497, Macdonald Engineering Building; free admission.
Those of you of a certain age probably recall a disapproving parent telling you, "No one ever made a living playing video games!"
Well, our large-thumbed readers may be interested to hear what John Buchanan of Electronic Arts Canada has to say about that. Buchanan, chief research scientist for the company that brought the gaming world such titles as Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005 and Need for Speed Underground will be talking about the video game industry as part of the School of Computer Science's weekly colloquium series.
A former professor of computer science, Buchanan has had a long relationship with video games: he was fired from a janitorial job in the early '80s for playing Galaga in the arcade in the mall where he worked. His first game, a shareware program he designed as an undergraduate student, made him $10.
His career, and the gaming industry, have progressed by leaps and bounds since those days. Games are no longer crude blips and bars representing a table tennis match — today they are artfully rendered worlds unto themselves, and can take days, or even months, to play.
Buchanan's talk will look at the growth of the industry and Electronic Arts Canada, and what sort of thinking goes into game design. Friday, January 14, 3:30 pm, McConnell Engineering Building, Room 13. Contact Brigitte Pientka at 398-2583.
Ah, brilliant sun glancing off snowbanks and ice! Short, frosty days followed by long, cozy nights... or slush and freezing rain, slippery streets and sodden socks, as the case may be.
If the winter scene outside your window is getting you down, come celebrate our northern clime indoors at Redpath Hall, with strains of Scandina-vian, Russian, Estonian and Canadian contemporary choral music sung by Simply Sweetly.
Under the direction of Alex-ander Cann, the McGill women's choir will take its audience on the aural equivalent of Governor General Adrienne Clarkson's circumpolar tour. Fans of choral music who may be familiar with pieces by Canadian composers — such as Glick's Psalm Trilogy, or Somers' Northern Lights — can look forward to experiencing new compositions from Sweden's Petter Ohls and Finland's Kaj-Erik Gustafsson.
While rehearsing the pieces, Cann says he has been struck by the similarities between pieces originating from northern lands, such as the strong choral traditions shared by Estonians and Scandinavians, and the effect of folk influences on Russian and Canadian composers.
Find out for yourself how snow and bracing winds have fed the musical souls of our northern counterparts. Tickets for the January 15 concert are $8 for students and $15 for adults. Call 571-4161 for information.
Are you looking for interesting opportunities to network with other young professionals? Since 1931, the Jeune Chambre de commerce de Montréal (JCCM) has put together over 70 yearly formal and informal events for young professionals to meet each other, exchange ideas and have fun. From lunchtime discussions on contemporary issues, to entrepreneurship clubs, to monthly cocktails, there's an activity to fit everyone's schedule and interests.
Almost 1,500 members strong, the JCCM is the largest junior chamber of commerce in North America. Truly representative of the Montreal community, members come from various cultural backgrounds and are mostly bilingual, if not multilingual.
Leslie Quinton, VP Com-munications for JCCM, also teaches part-time at McGill's School of Career and Management Studies. She says that being a member "has not only given me access to a whole network of people outside of my conventional circles, but has also offered me many professional training and educational activities."
Graduate students and young alumni in professional programs are invited to attend an information session on January 25 to find out more about the JCCM from the president, Patrice Borreman, as well as to meet with various volunteer directors who organize the different events.
The Jeune Chambre de commerce de Montréal's Non-Member Information Evening, Wednesday, January 20, Gallery 1225, 1225 Mountain St., 6 pm to 8 pm, reservations encouraged. For more information contact Fabienne Castor at 845-4951, ext. 25, or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.jccm.org.