I am subscribed to the Place des Arts newsletter. Which is great because I know what’s coming, what’s on pre-sale, what’s on special… I say great but not sure if this is a good or bad thing! Ka-Ching! On September 20th they had a 45% price reduction on Les Grands Ballets Canadiens’ “Lady Chatterley’s Lover”. Hmmm…. I checked to see what sorts of seats were available then contacted my ever-willing- partner-in-all-things-cultural, Julie, to see if she was interested. If she wasn’t, I was going to go it alone. However, it is always way more fun to share these things. Lucky for me, she said yes and I purchased the tickets in a loge. Number 13. Maybe that should have been a warning.
We agreed to meet just outside of the interior parking lot (both of us felt lazy) around five-ish giving us a good almost three hours to eat and catch up. But where to go? Many options in that hood, lemme tell you!
There are two restaurants, one in back of the other, built right on the sidewalk of Jeanne Mance Street. They are like glassed-in “pop-up” style restaurants. Only permanent. At least, I think they are! Coolest thing ever. Both of them are the “offsprings” of high-end restaurants in the city. We stopped first at Brasserie T (baby of Toqué!), checked out the menu… looked interesting. We decided to check out the second one. There was no menu posted outside so we had to go in and ask to look at it. This one is Taverne F (baby of Café Ferreira). We chose this one.
The hostess asked us if we had a reservation. You see, on nights where there are events going on at PdA, they are booked solid. However, if we were willing, there was a place at the bar. Ever the uncomplicated peeps we are, Jules and I accepted. What a great thing that turned out to be!
Our barman/waiter, Simon-Pierre, was excellent, plus he had a little of the Chris Pratt look to him 😉 It was suggested we order 2-3 items per person. So we ordered 6 in all. He then suggested a bottle of red (Boina) to go with. I have no knowledge of Portuguese wines so his suggestion, based on our tastes, was essential. No. I did not take any pictures of our food (d’oh!) however should you wish to, just click on the link above and you can see all sorts of beautiful pictures.
We started off with Pastéis de Bacalhau (the quintessential cod fritters with a red pepper piri-piri sauce), Sardinhas (roasted sardines with pickled veg) and Camarão e Amêijoas (shrimp and clams). Perfect trio to start us off and we had lots of time to enjoy, so we did!
Simon-Pierre asked if we wanted a little break before the next three and we agreed…. We then had Polvo (grilled octopus with potatoes, confit tomato, chouriço and sherry vinaigrette), Feijoada (lima bean cassoulet with chouriço sausage and fried pork) and finally, Arroz de Marisco (seafood rice, sofrito, calamari, shrimps and mussels). With a little (maybe more than a little) bread to sop up the various sauces – for both trios – we were feeling just perfect. Not too much, not too little. We leisurely finished off our wine and chatted away.
It was then suggested we have a little dessert. Looking at the time, we still had over half an hour to kill. What the hell! Pastéis de Nata is a classic Portuguese pastry (custard tartlet, cinnamon, caramel sauce) and then that handsome feller went and gave us each a glass of Moscato!
Now we were properly stuffed! We made our way back to PdA and settled into our seats. They were not as great as I had hoped. If we had been on the other side of the theatre, we would have seen everything. We did have a great view of the orchestra pit. Snark, snark. The stage was built on an angle, to represent hills, so any action happening on the left-hand side was out of our view. Thankfully, not too much happened in that corner, but still. Quite annoying. During the second half, the two sitting ahead of us and to the right (where the water bottle is and which had a better view) did not show up and we considered taking their seats but by the time we realised they were not returning, we, didn’t want to disturb…
I was a good girl and did not take any pictures of the ballet. It was a pretty ballet but it was so slow in the beginning, us two chicas, satiated on food and wine, both struggled to stay awake (I was relieved at intermission when Julie admitted to me she was struggling as much as I was!) A bottle of sparkling water each and we were ready for the second half!
I have to admit to not having read D.H. Lawrence’s book – yet – so I did not know the storyline, except for the obvious part. I also like to NOT read the synopsis of the ballet because I like to see if I can figure out what is going on. And I did, mostly, so that says a lot for the choreographer, Cathy Marston. It was easy enough to figure out who was who except for two characters: Lady Chatterley’s sister – though I was fairly certain that’s who she was. (A little aside on this character… At intermission, I turned to Julie and asked: “Have you ever seen such a busty ballerina?” To which she responded: “I know, right? I couldn’t help but notice, too!” One of those stupid things you can’t help but comment on because it truly is outside the “norm”.) There was another dancer that we thought was maybe a lady of the evening but, it turns out, was the lover’s (Mellors) former wife. Oops. My bad.
All in all, we did enjoy it – way more than the last one we saw which was Stabat Mater – a whole lotta hype that disappointed us.
What we both were wondering is why in the hell do they put this image on the cover of the programme and all other advertisements? We kept waiting to see this superbe costume! Nope.
They do the same with their videos… not anywhere near what we saw, costume-wise…