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Review: Go For Opera! – An Encore Gala Concert

Opera Mariposa and the Heroic Opera Company are combining their talents to produce Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera this November. With such a stellar local and international cast, a fundraiser concert was a great idea. Go For Opera! was set up as a nicely packaged showcase of their talent.

On Sunday, August 20th, I had the opportunity to hear a variety of Opera’s best solos, duets, trios and ensembles sung by a variety of voice types. William Liu’s (baritone) performance was full of emotion, yet you could hear the drama just by listening to his warm colorful voice. Mark Pepe’s (tenor) always-present rich tone supports his ability to sing through his high notes in the most Italian romantic way, with a brilliant and full sound. Melissa Ratcliffe (mezzo-soprano) performed with a voice so pure and clear, I can only describe it as crystalline. In the ensembles, Melissa got me excited about Un Ballo in Maschera, because her tone and presence fits so well, yet shines in a unique way among the other singers.

One of the solo highlights was “Les Oiseaux dans la Charmille” from Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann. Nancy Hasiuk, a Canadian soprano currently studying and working in Germany, brought brilliance and warmth into even the most difficult coloratura high notes. Nancy also has a natural comedic side, which was carried over to the encore piece, “A Word On My Ear” by Flanders & Swann.

This show had a bittersweet side as well. Not only did we see a wonderful connection to Germany, but this was also a goodbye to an integral member of Opera Mariposa: Managing Director and soprano, Robin Hahn. This was her last show before moving to launch her career in Germany.

Robin brings everything to the stage from her sweet and elegant voice, to her versatile acting. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that Robin’s repertoire can be technically demanding, because she makes it look so easy—especially when her character is so engaging. It was heart-warming to watch Robin sing with Heidi Muendel, her first voice teacher.

Heidi Muendel (soprano), Canadian born and working in Germany, will undoubtedly be worth the price of your ticket to Un Ballo in Maschera, just to hear her sing! She is the goddess of resonance, with a deeply rich voice that is both wonderfully dark, with bright overtones at the same time. There’s an Italian word to describe this from the bel canto tradition: chiaroscuro. Heidi has a beautifully balanced sound.

Overall, the concert was a crescendo of beautiful music, including excerpts from Un Ballo in Maschera. To top it all off, everyone joined in to sing the drinking song, “Libiamo ne’ Lieti Calici” from La Traviata. It was a reminder of how much this small community is like family. Their wine glasses may have been empty, which was a good thing, since Heidi’s adorable little girl joined her on stage! Yet, their glasses were full of something else: love, joy, and artistry.

More details about the upcoming performance of Un Ballo in Maschera:

In Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera, or A Masked Ball, a secret love triangle and a political conspiracy both come to a head on a single night at a masquerade. This tale of passion, deception, and intrigue features some of the best dramatic music ever written, so you won’t want to miss your chance to see Verdi’s lush score brought to life by a stellar cast from across North America, Europe, and Asia!

Performance Dates:

Friday, November 17, 2017 @ 7:30 pm

Canadian Memorial United Church, 1806 W. 15th and Burrard, Vancouver

Sunday, November 19, 2017 @ 2:00 pm

Canadian Memorial United Church, 1806 W. 15th and Burrard, Vancouver

Third performance date coming soon!

Staged in Italian with English subtitles

Tickets $18-$28 at http://operamariposa.com/tickets, at 1-800-838-3006 or at the door

Learn more at http://operamariposa.com/


Kathryn grew up in Vancouver as a proud geek & nerd. Her love of sci-fi led to her first big dramatic dream of becoming the blue alien from the Fifth Element. Instead, she graduated with a Bachelors of Music degree as an opera singer. She is also a regular photographer for various performing arts groups and recently has been most interested in fun boudoir & body positive photo shoots. You can contact her here.

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