The Vancouver Island Opera has announced its sixteenth Cultural Recital Series, which includes a Sunday, March 18 performance at the McMillan Arts Centre in Parksville.
The March 18 concert features soprano Holly Bekmyer and mezzo-soprano Janessa O’Hearn. They will perform a popular selection of well-known and not so well-known classical music, from Pergolesi to Strauss to Bernstein, and will be accompanied by Pianist Nikolai Maloff.
Beckmyer is a soprano, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and music educator. She was recently seen in North Shore Light Opera’s Die Fledermaus as Adele, followed by a U.K. tour of early 20th century music with pianist Heather Cattanach.
Favourite previous vocal roles include Pierrot in Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire, Belinda in the West Coast Opera Studio’s production of Dido and Aeneas, and Nella in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi at Vancouver Academy of Music. Specializing in contemporary classical music and modern opera, Bekmyer studied at Vancouver Community College, the Canadian College of Performing Arts, and Vancouver Academy of Music.
Beckmyer has also recently released an album of original folk songs called Close Encounters With Anxiety. She is currently studying operatic voice with Robyn Driedger-Klassen in Vancouver.
International mezzo-soprano O’Hearn returned to Canada in June after studying classical voice at the Accademia di Alta Formazione Musicale in Verona, Italy. Previously, O’Hearn attended the Vancouver Academy of Music under the guidance of Maestro David Meek.
Her favorite roles include Cherubino in Vancouver Island Opera’s production of The Marriage of Figaro, Hansel in Hansel & Gretel and Siebel in Faust.
O’Hearn is currently preparing Zerlina in Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Despina in Così Fan Tutte and she will return to Italy later this year to continue her studies.
Maloff holds a masters degree from the Moscow State Conservatory in Russia, where he studied with Gleb Axelrod, a second-generation disciple of Liszt, and a doctoral degree from the University of British Columbia. In his capacity as a teacher, Maloff not only brings to his students the full breadth of his years of performance experience, but also the benefits of an intimate understanding of both Eastern and Western pedagogical traditions.
Previously a faculty member at institutions such as the Peru State Conservatory of Music, San Agustin University, the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, and the Euromusic Piano School, Maloff now runs a successful private studio in Vancouver and teaches at the School of Music at UBC.
The recital series is being performed to help raise awareness of VIO and to raise funds toward a bursary being developed to give grants to singers from Vancouver Island who are training towards a possible career in the opera world.
VIO is a registered non-profit society; any donations would be eligible for a tax receipt.
The local recital is happening Sunday, March 18, at 3 p.m. at the MAC (133 McMillan St. in Parksville). Tickets are $20 available at the door or by calling the MAC at 250-248-8185. For more info, go to www.viopera.com.
— Submitted by Hugh Sinnott, VIO