The Strathcona Symphony Orchestra dives into the world of opera for its upcoming concerts in Courtenay
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The Strathcona Symphony Orchestra will do something at its two season-opening concerts in December that it has never done in its 18-year history: opera.
Music Director Helena Jung decided to feature some of the most popular opera composers of all time as well as showcasing local singing talent during A Night at the Opera.
Vancouver Island residents Jennifer Rasor (soprano), Shante Van Horlick (mezzo-soprano) and Michael MacKinnon (bass-baritone) will perform pieces from The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni and Cosi Fan Tutyou (Mozart), Carmen (Bizet) and The Barber of Seville (Rossini).
The soloists have performed on the Canadian, American and European stages.
Rasor is known for her beautiful voice and for her acting abilities. A reviewer praised her for her excellent comedic timing.
Although Jung performed all of these opera arias as a cellist, she never did so as a conductor.
While performing classical music is challenging enough, opera increases the complexity by adding singing, acting, dancing, and costume.
While Jung describes it in an interview as “one of the most complex art forms”, she and the SSO will make it more manageable by not creating full-fledged opera conditions for hand-picked tunes. .
“I chose the best known and most loved,” she explains.
The SSO is a community orchestra made up of members of all ages and skill levels from the Comox Valley and Campbell River.
Even without the trappings of a complete opera, A night at the opera will be more demanding than usual for amateur SSO players, agrees Jung.
“We have to understand what kind of room, what kind of scene to know the whole story of opera, and then we can play those themes. That’s why I asked all my members, ‘Please , watch the whole opera.’ ”
She is confident that her amateur musicians will rise to the occasion. “They like challenges.”
If the public requests an encore, the orchestra will present special selections reflecting other highlights of opera and symphonic music.
The December 10 performance begins at 7 p.m. and 2 p.m. the following day. Both concerts take place at Native Sons Hall in Courtenay.
Tickets are available at https://strathcona-symphony-orchestra.tickit.ca.