MONTREAL — Singer Enrico Macias and comedian Gad Elmaleh will be among the stars performing during the Festival Sefarad de Montréal, a celebration of francophone Jewish culture, taking place Nov. 1-15.
The fortnight of programming, with television personality Sonia Benezra acting as spokesperson, includes music, theatre, humour, fashion, lectures and discussions, showcasing international personalities.
Algerian-born Macias performs Nov. 7 and 8 at the Olympia Theatre, and then tours Saguenay, Quebec City, Sherbrooke and Gatineau. The 70-year-old legend last put on a show Montreal about seven years ago.
The Moroccan Elmaleh, a favourite in Montreal, appears at Théâtre St. Denis on Nov. 3 in a one-man show called Papa est en haut. Part of his popularity here is due to his ability to perfectly mimic the Québécois accent.
Other major headliners include Tunisian-born French singer and songwriter Félix Gray at the Olympia Nov. 10. Tribute will be paid to him with an original show featuring highlights from two of his musicals, Don Juan and Sherazade, produced locally by Yves Desgagnes and Gilles Maheu.
This one-time only event of songs, dance and humour will feature some well-known local artists including Caroline Néron, Jean-François Breau and Marie-Eve Janvier.
Israeli-born Ishtar Alabina, known as “the Middle Eastern queen of world music,” is on stage at the Olympia Nov. 12 and 14, accompanied by her Gypsis ensemble. She performs traditional and modern Arabic songs and dance, and was a hit when she last appeared her three years ago.
Another notable event during the festival is the presentation of the play Meches folles et bigoudis Nov. 9 at Salle Pierre-Mercure. In the tradition of La Cage aux folles, this play tells the hilarious story of a gay Jewish couple faced with the wedding of the daughter of one of the two men. Directed by its author, Albert Maman, Meches stars Elie Abecassis and up-and-coming French actress Liliane Abitbol, among others.
The 2009 festival coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Sephardi Jewish community’s establishment in Montreal. To mark the occasion, a gala evening is held Nov. 15 at Le Windsor, under the honorary chairmanship of Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay and Quebec Finance Minister Raymond Bachand. Among the stars coming out that night will be Linda Thalie, Johanna Monty, Shloma Bar and Benjamin Bouzaglo.
For details on the festival, visit www.sefarad.ca, or phone 733-4998, ext. 3135.
— Compiled by CJN Staff