I had a fun time previewing La Traviata in Vue Weekly this week. It’s described as the ‘pinnacle’ of opera, and this production is set in a cabaret club.
Mercury Opera’s slogan may be “Opera where you least expect it,” but for this week’s production of the iconic La Traviata, it’s hard to imagine a more fitting venue in Edmonton than the Chez Pierre Cabaret.
La Traviata tells a tragic tale of overlapping love triangles in 1920s Paris, with Violetta Valéry (an accomplished courtesan) and Alfredo Germont (the first man she feels has truly loved her) at the centre.
And within the intimate club setting of Chez Pierre, Mercury Opera artistic director Darcia Parada says an eight-piece orchestra will bring Giuseppe Verdi’s music to life while internationally acclaimed singers unleash their voices up close as if every audience member is a part of the characters’ party. Guests are even invited to attend in ‘20s attire to suit the occasion. Read more
I can’t wait to see what it feels like to be so close to the performers. I love the way Mercury Opera‘s tries to hook new audiences, and Chez Pierre couldn’t be a better choice to flaunt that approach. The show runs through Mar. 11.
I returned to my musical roots again this week when I previewed the Heart of the City Music and Arts Festival for Vue Weekly.
The annual Heart of the City Music and Arts Festival will take over Giovanni Caboto Park again this Saturday and Sunday as it highlights inner city artists for the 14th year in a row.
Charity Slobod, an organizing board member for the festival, has helped run the event for six years, and she says its primary goal is always the same.
“The main focus, and the most important point, is really giving a platform and helping inspire inner city musicians, artists, slam poets—you name it,” Slobod says. “If you sing it, you can play it, you can be on our stage.” Read more
I played with a high school rock band (Goodluck Jonathan) at the festival in 2010, so it’s great to hear that it is still growing and supporting artists in Edmonton’s core.
I previewed Jeff Sylvester’s latest exhibition, Signals, for Vue Weekly earlier this month.
The work of longtime Edmonton-based artist Jeff Sylvester looks like animated freeze-frames. And Signals, his latest solo exhibition installed this week at The Front Gallery, continues his concept of melding natural and man-made figures with his paintings.
The 44-year-old father of three slowed his exhibition pace after he had kids, but he’s been working steadily on Signals for the past two years and he’s happy with the result. Read more
The exhibition is up until June 5 at The Front Gallery, and both Sylvester and gallery owner Rachel Bouchard say you have to see the paintings in person to really appreciate them.
Bob Baker’s 17-year tenure as the Citadel Theatre’s artistic director may have wrapped last summer, but his connection to the company and Edmonton’s theatre community persists with Sense and Sensibility—the final production he’s directing this season.
Baker asked local playwright Tom Wood to adapt Jane Austen’s literary classic to the stage, because it’s more than a romantic comedy of manners.
“It’s got a lot of edge to it,” Baker says. “It’s got a lot of pain in it, it’s got a lot of heart in it. So I thought it would be a great production for the Citadel to present, but also for the participants of the Citadel Banff Program.” Read more
Baker is an old professional acquaintance who directed me in all of my appearance at the Citadel Theatre, so it was great to reconnect with him and learn about his current and future ambitions.
Sense and Sensibility opens tonight and runs until May 14 in the Citadel’s Shoctor Theatre. You can get tickets from the box office website.
I previewed Citie Ballet’s third and final production of its 2016/2017 season for Vue Weeklytoday.
This weekend, Edmonton’s Citie Ballet wraps its fifth season at the Timms Centre for the Arts with Boundaries—dance that challenges traditional balletic conventions.
The company’s artistic director, Jorden Morris says the two-part performance features something for everyone. Read more
The first featured ballet is choreographed by 22-year-old Kylee Hart, who’s also a dancer with Citie Ballet. It was incredible speaking with both Hart and Morris about the way they’re trying to push the conventions of their art.
In a preview for Vue Weekly, I had the chance to speak to Laura Ward, the director of the incredibly varied Edmonton Resiliency Festival.
Saturday’s third annual Edmonton Resilience Festival explores the many facets of sustainable living. Held at Waldorf Independent School, it is timed to coincide with the change of seasons in Edmonton and Earth Day. Read more
I’d never heard of this one-day, workshop-based festival before, but it’s brimming with opportunities to learn about living in a sustainably fulfilling way, and the workshops are ticketed individually. Check out the schedule and more info at the Edmonton Resiliency Festival website.