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Free Events in April Exploring Métis History and Culture + Canadian Opera Company’s “Louis Riel”

Along with the Canadian Opera Company’s new production of Harry Somers’ Louis Riel, this April is going to be chock-full of FREE events that celebrate the unique history and culture of the Métis people.

Discover Canada’s unique contribution to opera during COC’s popular Free Concert Series (at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts). Here’s what’s happening:

The V’ni Dansi’s Louis Riel Métis Dancers (April 13, from 12 to 1 p.m.). This performance brings the rhythms and images of the Métis spirit alive through traditional and contemporary styles of Métis dance and music. The Vancouver-based company is dedicated to sharing the dances, stories and culture of the Métis and, on April 13, performs in the Free Concert Series for the first time in celebration of the Métis people.

The Métis Fiddler Quartet (April 20, from 12 to 1 p.m.). A musical voyage that travels the trade routes of the Northwestern frontier. Born in Winnipeg, the four Delbaere-Sawchuk siblings (Alyssa, Conlin, Nicholas and Danton) perform Métis fiddle music passed down by their elders, while drawing on their diverse backgrounds in classical music, jazz and beyond. Clap, jig and sing along with this award-winning group and discover the history of the Métis people in Canada through fiddle tunes and songs.

Audiences of all ages can also participate in multiple community outreach events:

Rebel Without a Chance: Louis Riel (April 12, at 7 p.m.) hosted by the COC at the Toronto Public Library – Don Mills location. In this free and interactive session, Opera Canada editor Wayne Gooding offers a multi-media exploration of the theme of opera and revolution by examining how Louis Riel tells the story of this important historical figure.

Youth Opera Lab (April 13, from 5 to 9:30 p.m.) explores the traditional music of the Métis people in a workshop led by musician and educator Conlin Delbaere-Sawchuk of the Métis Fiddler Quartet. This free workshop for young adults takes place at Toronto’s Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts and includes the opportunity to observe an on-stage rehearsal of Louis Riel.

Hearing Riel, a free, one-day-only symposium (April 21) explores the complex biographical, historical and political terrain of Harry Somers’ landmark Canadian opera. This event is presented by the COC in partnership with the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music and the Humanities Initiative of the Munk School of Global Affairs. The symposium runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Innis Town Hall. Admission is free and tickets can be reserved in advance as of April 4.

The COC presents seven performances of Louis Riel on April 20, 23, 26, 29, May 2, 5, 13, 2017 at Toronto’s Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. For more information, visit www.coc.ca.

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