There’s more here than meets the eye. They’re both huge Leonard Cohen and Habs fans. They were both recruited by search committees, headed by former McGill principal and vice-chancellor Bernard Shapiro, to take on their respective positions in the city. They’re both Americans who have not only embraced Montreal like few natives ever have, but who are now considered essential parts of the city’s cultural fabric.
Since arriving in Montreal over a decade back, Orchestre symphonique de Montréal conductor Kent Nagano, a Californian, and Cantor Gideon Zelermyer, a native of Connecticut, have become fast friends, but had never worked together. Until now. The two will collaborate on Sunday when the OSM, conducted by Nagano, presents Felix Mendelssohn’s Elijah in the sanctuary of the Congregation Shaar Hashomayim, Zelermyer’s home synagogue. Although the lead role of Elijah will be performed by acclaimed Canadian baritone Russell Braun, tenor Zelermyer will be featured prominently as a soloist in a variety of roles.