Spring is just around the corner, and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s season is officially past its halfway mark. But many of the season’s highlights are still to come including some Wicked Divas, a trip down the Yellow Brick Road and Maestro Bramwell Tovey’s The Inventory, an opera based on the life of brewmaster Alexander Keith.
March kicks off with Julia Murney and Emily Rozek (aka. Elphaba and Glinda), the Wicked Divas, performing a program of Broadway favourites – including a number of songs from the Tony Award-winning sensation, Wicked.
Three season highlights happen back-to-back-to-back in late-March: First, Peter Serkin, one of the world’s leading pianists for over four decades, performs the Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1; next, legendary soprano Renee Fleming makes her much-anticipated return to the VSO to perform classical and operatic arias including Ravel’s Shéhérezade; then, one of the planet’s most electrifying violinists, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, performs Shostakovich’s brilliant and exciting – many violinists would say terrifying – Violin Concerto.
April begins with a trip down the Yellow Brick Road to the land of Oz: The VSO presents the original film The Wizard of Oz, restored in all its glory on the big screen, with the orchestra performing the amazing score live and in person.
After we click our ruby red slippers, we’re back in the Orpheum for a Tea & Trumpets matinee presentation of The Merry Widow, and a VSO Pops concert featuring all sorts of professional dancers on stage with the orchestra in a program called, appropriately, Let’s Dance!
The VSO presents the Seoul Philharmonic, with famous conductor Myung-Whun Chung, on their North American tour on April 15th. After this, the VSO splits in half to visit the Chan Centre with Concertmaster Dale Barltrop leading from the violin, and the Orpheum Annex for an evening of contemporary music with Bramwell Tovey.
May is a very busy month for the orchestra starting with jazz superstar Chris Botti performing with the orchestra, returning after a sold-out performance in 2010. Next up, cellist Jan Vogler performs Dvorak’s Cello Concerto, followed by a Tea & Trumpets and VSO Pops weekend that also features Platypus Theatre with the orchestra in a VSO Kids‘ Koncert.
Back to the Chan Centre and the Annex, the VSO performs with pianist Jeffrey Kahane in a program of Bach, Respighi and Mozart, and under the baton of Pierre Simard at the Annex. The very next weekend, piano superstar Yevgeny Sudbin gives three performances of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24, in a weekend that also marks Conductor Laureate Kazuyoshi Akiyama’s 40th anniversary of conducting the VSO.
June sees two very special VSO weekends at the Orpheum, beginning with Canadian pianist Jan Lisiecki performing Schumann’s Piano Concerto in a concert that also features Richard Strauss’s ode to the ego, Ein Heldenleben. The VSO’s Season Finale features the concert version of Bramwell Tovey’s opera, The Inventor, a very Canadian story about Alexander (Sandy) Keith Jr., nephew of the famous brewmaster, and his tragic life and criminal acts. Maestro Tovey’s opera debuted with the Calgary Opera last January to critical and audience acclaim, and this concert presentation includes the original cast.