Inside Place des Arts, Montreal's Largest Performance Arts Complex
If there ever was a focal point for performing arts in Montreal, it's Place des Arts, a multidisciplinary arts complex located in the heart of Montreal's entertainment district featuring a cascading outdoor esplanade in addition to multiple performance halls in various configurations.
Keep scrolling below to see inside each of Place des Arts' performance halls, be it Cinquième Salle's mobile platform system, Salle Wilfrid Pelletier's proscenium stage, Théâtre Maisonneuve's classical Italian theatre, or the Maison Symphonique's concert hall, a venue specifically designed to enhance acoustics emanating from the stage while neutralizing competing background noise.
In other words, when an internationally acclaimed Broadway production books a few dates in Montreal, it's here. A major contemporary dance performance or neo-circus presentation? Here. The world's prima ballerina? If she has performed, is performing or will perform in Montreal, I can guarantee with near certainty that it was, is, or will be here.
Not just a pit stop for visiting artists, various local companies call Place des Arts home, including the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Opéra de Montréal, Orchestre Métropolitain and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal, all residents or partners who almost exclusively perform under its roof if a given presentation is held within city limits.
Place des Arts also links up to Montreal's contemporary arts museum, the Musée d'art contemporain and is across the street from Complexe Desjardins.
To find out what performances are scheduled at its various venues, visit the Place des Arts website.
Visiting Montreal? Stay Near Place des Arts
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Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier is Montreal performance arts complex Place des Arts' flagship venue and the province of Quebec's largest performance hall featuring a proscenium stage, with a capacity of 2,996 seats.
Internationally acclaimed dance companies like the Paris Opera Ballet and La La La Human Steps have graced Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier's proscenium stage, as have music's biggest and brightest household names, folks like Bob Dylan, Miles Davis and Ella Fitzgerald.
In contrast to Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, Place des Arts' Théâtre Maisonneuve is a smaller scale proscenium stage with 1,453 spectator seats. Dance recitals, theatrical circus presentations and standup comedy are typically booked in this particular performance hall.
Visiting Montreal? Stay Near Place des Arts in the Entertainment District
Maison symphonique de Montréal
Place des Arts' Maison symphonique de Montréal is home to Montreal's symphony orchestra, the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, an ensemble obviously requiring superior acoustics, one of the reasons the performance hall was erected in the first place. Montreal needed a venue, a hall that could, say, meet the needs of Maestro Valery Gergiev, who conducted the Mariinsky (Kirov) Orchestra on its stage two years after the Maison's 2011 inauguration.
Equipped with 2,100 seats, a Casavant organ and built in such a way that ambient noise doesn't compete with the acoustics of a given musical performance, developers claim that courtesy of the venue's engineering, background noise in the hall is not even audible to the human ear, meeting noise criteria N1.
I love Cinquième Salle. It's one of my favorite venues in Montreal. Smaller than Place des Arts' signature performance halls like Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier and Théâtre Maisonneuve, Cinquième Salle is modest, unadorned and only seats a maximum of 421 audience members, which makes for a delightfully intimate experience. It doesn't matter where you're sitting, you'll have a good (or great) view of the performance.
And the room itself is remarkably versatile. Its mobile platforms can transform the room into your standard proscenium Italian stage, Elizabethan setup, face to face setup, or a thrust stage.
Generally dance performances, variety and standup comedy are held in Cinquième Salle.