Classical singer Eve Daniell will be performing along with pianist Rykie Avenant in Parksville on July 12. — Rick-Lee Allison photo

Opera singer returning with summer tour

Irish folk songs, Euro art songs focus of July 12 concert in Parksville

Daughter of the Cowichan Valley and up-and-coming classical singer in both the U.K. and B.C., Eve Daniell is coming back to town, and she has a series of performances planned in B.C.

Daniell will sing along with pianist and longtime collaborator Rykie Avenant, with the pair performing in Parksville at St. Edmund’s Church on July 12.

The series of performances will serve as a bit of a working holiday for the coloratura soprano, who’s been working hard in the U.K., earning the chance to take on some of her dream roles in a pair of Mozart operas.

But her B.C. series focuses on some of her and Avenant’s other favourites, and includes an homage to Daniell’s grandfather, as well as to French composer Claude Debussy.

“We have four sets,” in the hour-long recital, said Daniell. “The first one is the Venetian cycle, and then the second one is a French cycle to mark 100 years since Claude Debussy died.”

The final set focuses on Strauss, but the third is a set of Irish folk songs, “because it’s 100 years since my grandfather was born,” she said. Of Irish descent, Daniell said that branch of her family came to Canada as pioneers. “(The set) is a loving nod to my grandpa.”

This, and the rest of her series of recitals promise to be a welcome reprieve from her work in the U.K., where, in some cases, the drama is not exclusively in the operas.

A singer who enjoys pushing her voice to the extremes, and a Mozart fan as well, it may come as no surprise to opera lovers that earning the role of Elettra in Mozart’s Idomeneo has been high on Daniell’s list of dream roles.

“Elettra’s father has been murdered by her mother, and now her brother has gone insane and gone down to Hades, and she’s trying to avenge it all… she’s an intense character,” said Daniell. “And Mozart reflects that in the way she sings.”

She had her chance at the role in April of this year, and was overjoyed, but caught an illness in the lead up to the performance.

“I had to do the entire rehearsal process silently, and then fall on all of my technique and skill to get me through,” she said.

“It was definitely a week to practice zen.”

But it all went off well, she said.

“To get to sing music that I adore so much with a full audience who loves the music, and an orchestra where each of them is contributing so beautifully to the whole, and for all of us to get to deliver that story together was really, really rewarding,” she said.

Daniell and Avenant’s performance in Parksville aims to be a much more intimate affair, with the pair looking forward to speaking with the crowd in between songs to give a bit of the history and some anecdotes on the music.

The performance at St. Edmund’s Church (407 Wembley Rd.) starts at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 12. Tickets are $20 for adults, $5 for students, while those under 12 years old are free. Tickets are available at Mulberry Bush bookstores.

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