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A Potpourri of Song for the New Year

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Wentworth Villa

1156 Fort Street

Victoria, BC V8V 3K8

Canada

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Event description

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Singers Ingrid Attrot, Sarah Fryer, Benjamin Butterfield, and Gary Relyea will join Toronto-based pianists Stephen Ralls and Bruce Ubukata to perform a mix of art songs of special significance to them, followed by Johannes Brahm’s Liebeslieder Waltzes Op. 52 for vocal quartet and piano duet.




Recital Program

A selection of Art Songs chosen by the performers (TBA)

Intermission

Johannes Brahms – Liebeslieder Waltzes Op. 52 (for vocal quartet and piano four-hands)




Hailed as ‘a singer with uncommon theatrical sensibility and musical intelligence’, soprano Ingrid Attrot has appeared with the London Symphony Orchestra, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Montreal Symphony, and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra with conductors such as Dutoit, Marriner, Willcocks, Pinnok and Hickox. Her work with conductor Richard Hickox has included performances of the Britten War Requiem, Peter Grimes (Ellen Orford), and Beethoven’s Fidelio (Leonora). Opera companies with which she has worked include the English National Opera (as Miss Jessel in Turn of the Screw), Opera Northern Ireland (as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni), and Pacific Opera (as Abigaille in Nabucco and Fiordiligi in Cosi Fan Tutte).

Ingrid has recorded extensively for the Chandos label, including Respighi’s Deità Silvane and Stanford’s Stabat Mater, both with the BBC Philharmonic, Vaughan Williams’ Riders to the Sea, Holst’s The Wandering Scholar with the Northern Sinfonia (Hickox), Vivaldi’s Gloria with The English Consort (Pinnock) and Handel’s Floridante with Tafelmusik (Curtis).

Her particular affinity for contemporary repertoire was first recognized by her winning of the Eckhardt-Gramatte Competition. This led to many collaborations with composers such as Peter Maxwell Davies, Geoffrey Burgon, Hugh Wood, Nicola LeFanu, Julian Philips and John Greer. She has sung in major festivals including the Salzburg Festival, the Warsaw Autumn Festival, the Holland Festival in Amsterdam and the BBC Proms. In recital, she has appeared at the Concertgebauw (Amsterdam), Le Monnaie (Brussels), Royal Opera House (London), and at the Wigmore Hall (London).

From 2003-2007, she was the Artistic Director of the “Summer Music on the Shannon” Youth Opera Theatre at the University of Limerick, Ireland. She was Music Director for Out of the Box Productions, 2004-2006, and is Co-Artistic Director of Nelson Courses for Singers.

Ingrid is a former student of Selena James at the VCM. Her background includes a Post Graduate Opera Diploma from the University of Toronto, and training at the National Opera Studio, London, England.

Ingrid is head of the voice department, Opera Studio, and Director of the Voice Collegium program at the Victoria Conservatory of Music.




Sarah Fryer has appeared on concert platforms throughout Europe and in Canada, the United States, Mexico, and Singapore. She made her professional debut as mezzo soloist in Mozart’s Requiem Mass in Wells Cathedral, aged sixteen. Major career highlights include six years as a soloist at the Bayreuth Festival, and roles in opera productions in Nantes, Turin, Dublin, and at La Scala, Milan (Riccardo Muti).

Sarah has recorded for BBC and CBC radio, and for the Naxos and Nimbus record labels. She has been a soloist at many prestigious festivals including the Three Choirs Festival, Taormina Arte, and The Aldeburgh Festival. Concert highlights include Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Mahler’s Eighth Symphony with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, directed by Bramwell Tovey, Mozart’s Requiem with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, directed by David Hill, and R. Strauss’s opera Elektra (Dritte Magd) with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, directed by Kent Nagano.

In May 2017, Sarah was the mezzo soloist in the first performance of Francis Pott’s powerful oratorio Cantus Maris at the Royal Festival Hall, London, with the Philharmonia Orchestra. Recent engagements include performances of Bach’s Mass in B minor and Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis. Sarah performed works by Respighi, Corigliano, and Ravel at the Quadra Island Chamber Music Festival in July 2019.




Praised by The New York Times as, “clarion-voiced and vibrant”, Benjamin Butterfield is known for his performances throughout North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. He has performed with many of the world’s leading conductors including Sir Andrew Davis, James Conlon, Nicholas McGegan, Charles Dutoit, Leonard Slatkin, Bramwell Tovey, Seiji Ozawa, Bernard Labadie, Yannick Nezet-Seguin, Jeffrey Thomas, Trevor Pinnock, Bruno Weil and Marc Minkowski.

A prolific recording artist, he has recorded for Analekta, Dorian, CBC Records, Koch International and Timpani (France). He has also been featured in Messiah on ZDF at the Handel-Festspiele Halle with Trevor Pinnock and the English Concert and on CBC Radio as a guest host for This is my Music. Recently Mr. Butterfield recorded the St. John Passion with the Bach Choir of Bethlehem (Analekta), the Rhien transcription of Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde for Yellow Barn and a sixth CD of Ukrainian Art Song for the Ukrainian Art Song Project in Toronto.

In fall of 2018, Butterfield was named a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the country’s highest academic honor. Professor, head of voice, and co-head of performance for the School of Music at the University of Victoria, he was the 2015 recipient of the UVic. Craigdarroch Award for Excellence in Artistic Expression.




Renowned for the richness of his voice and his compelling musical insights, bass-baritone Gary Relyeais one of the most distinguished artists currently before the public. He has thrilled audiences in Britten’s WAR REQUIEM, Handel’s MESSIAH, Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 and Verdi’s REQUIEM with prestigious orchestras including those of Cleveland, Montreal, Toronto (having performed with TSO more than any other singer in the last 45 years) Baltimore, Detroit, San Francisco, Calgary, Vancouver and Ottawa’s National Arts Centre Orchestra. When he debuted with the Philadelphia Orchestra in Schönberg’s GURRELIEDER conducted by Sir Simon Rattle it was with performances in both Philadelphia and at Carnegie Hall.

He has traveled around the globe: to Netherlands for performances of Monteverdi’s ORFEO at the Concertgebouw; to New Zealand for Mendelssohn’s ELIJAH and Walton’s BELSHAZZAR’S FEAST with the Christchurch City Choir; to Poland to sing in Bach’s ST. MATTHEW PASSION with the Polish Radio Orchestra; to Spain for the Bach PASSIONS with the Oviedo Symphony Orchestra; to Costa Rica for Mendelssohn’s ELIJAH and Beethoven’s SYMPHONY NO. 9 with their National Orchestra; to Guatemala for Donizetti’s opera LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR in the role of Raimondo; on a tour of Japan with Opera Atelier for Mozart’s DON GIOVANNI singing the role of Commendatore.

Mr. Relyea has performed extensively in opera, singing lead roles in Wagner’s FLYING DUTCHMAN and DIE MEISTERSINGER, Verdi’s LA TRAVIATA, Puccini’s LA BOHEME, Beethoven’s FIDELIO, Mussorgsky’s BORIS GODUNOV, Tchaikovsky’s EUGENE ONEGIN and QUEEN OF SPADES, Donizetti’s LUCIA DI LAMERMOOR and Mozart’s DON GIOVANNI and THE MAGIC FLUTE, Strauss’ ARIADNE AUF NAXOS, Britten’s BEGGAR’S OPERA, CURLEW RIVER, MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, NOYE’S FLUDDE and PRODIGAL SON, Somers’ THE FOOL, Schafer’s HERMES TRISMEGISTOS, Humperdinck’s HANSEL AND GRETEL, Gounod’s ROMEO ET JULIETTTE (to name a few) with opera companies and festival productions across Canada. These include Calgary Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Edmonton Opera, Festival Ottawa, Guelph Spring Festival, Manitoba Opera, Opera Atelier, Opera de Montreal, Opera Lyra Ottawa, Opera de Quebec, Pacific Opera Victoria, Stratford Festival, Toronto Light Opera Association and Vancouver Opera.

His discography includes CBC’s releases, “Thine Angel’s Spirits” and “Rarities by Rossini and Verdi”. He starred in CBC-TV productions of THE BEAR by William Walton, ABERFAN by Raymond Pannell, and as the Commendatore in LEPORELLO’S REVENGE, Rhombus Production’s take on Don Giovanni.




Stephen Ralls began his musical career in England, following a Master’s degree at Merton College, Oxford. His work with English Opera Group led to involvement in the premiere of Britten’s Death in Venice, to recital appearances with Sir Peter Pears and to Mr Ralls’s appointment to the staff of the Britten-Pears School in Aldeburgh; he is grateful to have known the composer for the last three years of his life. Emigrating to Canada, Stephen taught at the University of Toronto and became Professor and Musical Director of the University’s Opera School. Many productions took place under his direction, including local stage premieres of Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Paul Bunyan and The Beggar’s Opera, Chabrier’s L’Etoile and Handel’s Alcina, Ariodante and Semele. He has accompanied Canada’s finest singers, including Catherine Robbin, Adrianne Pieczonka, Gerald Finley, Anita Krause, Benjamin Butterfield, Brett Polegato and Colin Ainsworth. His recordings include Songs of Oskar Morawetz (Canadian Music Centre), The Lyrical Art of Mark Pedrotti (CBC Records), L’Invitation au voyage: the songs of Henri Duparc (CBC Records) and the Juno Award -winning Songs of Travel (CBC Records) with baritone Gerald Finley.

Bruce Ubukata, born in Ontario, attended Carleton University and the University of Toronto, before undertaking periods of study at St Jean de Luz, France, with Pierre Bernac and at the Britten-Pears School in Aldeburgh, England. He soon became a faculty member at the school in Aldeburgh and returned there to work every year as pianist and coach until 1993. He has established a reputation as one of Canada’s leading accompanists, working with singers such as soprano Mary Lou Fallis (in her one-woman shows Primadonna, Mrs Bach and Fräulein Mozart) and mezzo Catherine Robbin, in recital engagements in Canada and France. He toured British Columbia in performances with soprano Donna Brown and Catherine Robbin. In addition to a long association with the Canadian Children’s Opera Chorus, his other musical activities have included performances with the Toronto Symphony, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, the Elmer Iseler Singers and the Canadian Opera Company. Mr Ubukata is also an accomplished organist and harpsichordist; for many years, he worked with Derek Holman in Toronto as assistant organist at Grace-Church-on-the-Hill, Forest Hill, and St Simon the Apostle, Bloor Street East.

In 1982, Stephen Ralls and Bruce Ubukata co-founded the Aldeburgh Connection, with Sir Peter Pears as Founding Patron. The organization has fostered performances by Canadian artists of recital repertoire and presented up to a dozen concerts annually in Toronto, as well as touring across Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. In 2007, they founded the Bayfield Festival of Song, on the shores of Lake Huron; in October 2010, they were joint recipients of an Opera Canada “Ruby” Award for their work in opera and with young Canadian singers. On February 19, 2012, the Aldeburgh Connection celebrated its 30th anniversary with a gala concert in Toronto’s Koerner Hall and in the 2013 New Year’s honours list, they were named Members of the Order of Canada. The organization climaxed its regular concert-giving in April and May 2013 with “A Britten Festival of Song”, honouring the composer’s centenary. Its focus is now the organization and internet availability of its substantial archive.

Their recordings together include The Aldeburgh Connection: Schumann, Brahms and Greer(CBC Records), and Benjamin Britten: The Canticles (Marquis Records). Schubert among friends (Marquis Records), including songs, part-songs and piano-duets with Gillian Keith, Michael Schade, Colin Ainsworth and Gerald Finley, was nominated for a Juno in 2008. Our Own Songs, music by Beckwith, Greer and Holman commissioned by the Aldeburgh Connection and featuring Adrianne Pieczonka, Monica Whicher, Elizabeth Turnbull, Colin Ainsworth and Mark Pedrotti, was released by Marquis Records in 2008. A Quatre Mains, piano-duet and two piano music by Chabrier, Fauré, Schubert and others, was released in 2012 and A Play of Passion: songs of Derek Holman (Centerdiscs) in 2016.

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Wentworth Villa

1156 Fort Street

Victoria, BC V8V 3K8

Canada

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