It’s back to the basics for Skye Donald.
On June 20, the Qualicum Beach soprano is performing a solo concert based on Arie Antiche, a collection of antique arias still used in classical vocal training.
“If you go to a festival… young people will be singing these songs,” Donald said, who herself learned a handful when she started out. “Really, I wanted to learn them all.”
According to a news release for the recital, Arie Antiche is composed of a number of Baroque and Classical arias collected and published by Italian composer and music editor Alessandro Parisotti in 1885.
“They’re simple enough you can really get into the singing of them,” she said. “They’re fun.”
The pieces in Arie Antiche, however, are not original. Instead, they are romanticized versions that Parisotti created by adjusting word placement, rhythms and harmony and by adding ornamentations to the vocal line.
So, for her concert, Donald decided to track down versions of the pieces that are more like the originals would have been.
While she said the pieces are not perfectly authentic, they are definitely different from what people may have heard before. In particular, Donald said the originals are simpler and thus give a singer space to add their own touches.
“You can go in and add your own complexity,” she said. “That’s really liberating.”
While the afternoon will focus on pieces from the Arie Antiche, the program will also progress into more advanced work, Donald said. Selections will include Mozart’s concert aria Ch’io mi scordi di te? … Non temer, amato bene, Vissi d’arte by Puccini and Casta Diva from Bellini’s Norma.
“(They’re) songs I enjoy singing,” she said.
Donald has previously appeared in recital series with Vancouver Island Opera and Nanaimo Opera, as a soloist for the Parksville & District Community Chorus and Malaspina Choir and Island Consort. She also took on the role of Buttercup for ECHO’s 2013 production of HMS Pinafore.
Accompanying Donald for this show on the piano will be Sharon Wishart, who currently plays for the Malaspina Choir and Nanaimo Opera. According to the release, Wishart was honoured with the B.C. Choral Federation’s Joyce O. Maguire Award for long-term excellence in choral accompanying in 2013.
The recital will be held at St. Stephen’s United Church in Qualicum Beach on Saturday, June 20 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $15 at the door. Local vocal students who wish to attend are eligible for a special rate of $5 if they or their teacher contact Donald ahead of time at firstname.lastname@example.org.