When literature, music and theatre come together…

The Orchestre symphonique de Montréal invites you to discover the concert-show Around the World in 80 Days… or Almost!, which was first performed at the Maison symphonique on March 2, 2019.

This musical and dramatic adaptation of the novel by the famous French writer Jules Verne (1824-1905) introduces us to musical works that were specifically chosen to accompany the action.


Under the baton of the OSM’s Music Director, Kent Nagano, we’re about to embark on an adventure-packed journey with Phileas Fogg (Dominique Côté), Passepartout (France Parent), Aouda (Laurie Gagné), Inspector Fix (Fayolle Jean Jr.) and their cheerful companions (Tatiana Zinga Botao and Simon Simon Beaulé-Bulman)!

A listening guide is available for teachers and parents who’d like to learn about this concert-show along with their children.


Here we go! Just follow the guide!

Recommended for ages 5 to 12




Yesterday is already tomorrow…or almost!

London, October 2, 1872: Someone has just stolen £20,000 from the Bank of England! Inspector Fix promptly suspects the distinguished Phileas Fogg. Several things arouse his suspicion. First of all, on the day of the robbery, Fogg is getting ready to leave the country unexpectedly. Accompanied by his new valet, the excitable Passepartout, he is about to embark on a madcap adventure in the hopes of winning a wager: to race around the world in just 80 days! Not only that, but Fogg has bet half his fortune, which just happens to be the princely sum of £20,000. Well, well, well….

News of their departure makes headlines. The hot air balloon launch takes place at 8:45 p.m. on the dot. Obsessively punctual, Phileas Fogg intends to return on December 21, 1872, at precisely the same time.

And off they go! Heading east, they first arrive at the newly opened Suez Canal, after which they head on to India, travelling from Bombay to Calcutta, China, Japan and, finally, America, where their journey takes them from San Francisco to New York. Travelling by train, steamer ship, horse-drawn carriage and elephant, our two adventurers and their travelling companions cross continents, sail oceans and have a thousand adventures, until the tenacious inspector Fix finally catches up with them and nearly jeopardizes the entire trip…. which is saved thanks to the difference in time zones!



A short listening guide

SERGEI RACHMANINOV, Vocalise op. 34 n°14 (38’20-40’02)


Sergei Rachmaninoff composed many works that feel like songs, with connected, flowing melodic phrases that stick in your memory. Originally written for voice and piano, Vocalise has been arranged for many different instrument combinations, including cello and piano, violin and piano, and also orchestra, which is the version you’ll hear in the show. In our concert, the violin is the solo instrument. Try to imagine the main theme played by an oboe or flute.


op. 4: II. Playful Pizzicato (8’05-9’08)


Maestro, pizz!

If a violinist plucks a string with their finger, it’s called a pizzicato. When many notes are played in this way, it’s called… pizzicati! Notice how the skipping effect of the pizz in this piece reflects the hurried steps of our two adventurers.

Did you know ?

There are all kinds of pizzicati: snap, tremolo, glissando, nail… there’s a pizz for every mood! To know more, click here:


«Bella siccome un angelo» (26’59-29’55)


In our adaptation, Phileas Fogg is played by an actor who’s also a singer. We could have chosen a tenor (high vocal range) or a bass (low vocal range), but we preferred a baritone, whose range lies between a tenor and a bass. This voice type is both powerful and velvety. The audience gets two opportunities to be charmed by Phileas Fogg’s warm baritone!

CAMILLE SAINT-SAENS, Samson et Dalila,

Bacchanale (22’49-24’44)


French composer Camille Saint-Saëns spent nine years composing this “biblical opera,” based on the famous Old Testament story, in which Delilah cuts off Samson’s hair while he sleeps, rendering him powerless.*

Each melodic phrase of the opening of “Bacchanale,” featured in the final act, is permeated with Oriental influences.

Listen to the excerpt with your eyes closed and allow yourself to be carried away by the intoxicating timbre of the solo instrument. Did you recognize it? It’s an oboe.

*Libretto based on Chapter 16 of the Book of Judges.

Did you know ?

Antonín Dvořák, Symphony no. 9, “New World Symphony” (46’47-48’38)


If Antonin Dvořák hadn’t been a composer, he would likely have been an innkeeper or a butcher! That would have been sad for the Apollo 11 mission astronauts, as they would have been deprived of the pleasure of listening to the recording of the 9th Symphony that Neil Armstrong brought along to play when they stepped onto the Moon!

AARON COPLAND Rodeo (New York, 1942) 

IV. Hoe Down (48’51-51’06)


Rodeo is a “cowboy ballet” that tells the story of… a cowgirl! Choreographer Agnès DeMille wanted Copland to incorporate traditional folk tunes in his score—a happy coincidence because Copland wanted his music to appeal to all audiences! In “Hoe Down,” the main theme is based on “Bonaparte’s Retreat,” a popular song by Kentucky fiddler Bill Stepp.

Did you know ?

“Hoe Down” was performed during the opening ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City (USA).



Let’s learn more about Jules Verne and this epic adventure story that tells us a lot about the age in which he lived!

The idea for the novel was sparked by the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869. The newspapers of the day declared that it would now be possible to travel around the world in 80 days!

The Second Industrial Revolution (1870-1945) was in full swing. It revolved around steam, chemicals, petroleum, electricity and the science of metallurgy, which now made large-scale production possible, especially in the area of transportation.


Jules Verne was fascinated by all these technical and scientific discoveries. He scrupulously researched his adventure novel and drew inspiration from his own experiences as a traveller—he had a lifelong captivation with sailing—to dream up the misadventures of Phileas Fogg and his companions.


The book was a phenomenal success. A few years later, Jules Verne adapted it into a stage version that would tour the world.