There's a local mezzo-saprano who will perform with the Prince George Symphony Orchestra Saturday, March 16, before jetting off to Italy to perform Ruggero in Handel's Alcina in August.
"We're so lucky to have Melanie Nicol here," said Marnie Hamagami, general manager for the PGSO. "She's a very talented performer and it's going to be a real treat to have her perform with the symphony."
During 1791: Mozart's Finale, the Prince George Cantata Singers and Richmond Orchestra & Chorus will perform at Sacred Heart Cathedral at 7:30 p.m. Other guest soloists include Erica Northcott, soprano, Bruce Hoffman, tenor, and Nick Meyer, baritone.
"I will be the soloist performing in the Requeim," said Nicol, who went to an audition for Canadian performers in Vancouver to get the Italian role. "As well, I will be performing a couple of arias from an opera that Mozart wrote in the last year of his life called La Clemenza di Tito and I'll also be performing a duet from Mozart's Magic Flute with Nick Meyer, called Pa Pa Pa."
Performing just a piece of an entire work, like the arias, often presents some challenges.
"Because a lot of time, as an actor, there's a lot of lead up to these dramatic arias like those from
La clemenza di Tito," said Nicol, who has performed with the PGSO on many occasions. "They are both very dramatic arias and because we're cutting them from the show and then presenting just the arias, it takes a lot of preparation back stage to achieve the same heightened level of dramaticism."
A major goal for Nicol, who teaches at the Prince George Conservatory of Music and is the artistic director for the Bel Canto Choirs, is to bring opera to Prince George.
"I am the founder of a new opera company in Prince George called Andromeda Opera," Nicol said. "Brenna Corner, who wrote the script for the Mozart show, is coming from Toronto, to help me produce the show. She and I made a plan last winter, when I was still doing my masters (at the University of Manitoba), because we believe arts communities across the country are at a cross roads and that we really need to start reinventing ourselves because audiences aren't what they used to be. We have to cultivate audiences in a new way. One thing I thought of is that here in Prince George we have a very captive audience for classical music, opera and theatre."
It made sense to start the opera company and partner with the PGSO for this production, Nicol added.
"It snowballed from there and we're two weeks away and we've got this fabulous show coming up," said Nicol.
Tickets are at Studio 2880, 2880-15th Ave., or at the door. For adults it's $32, seniors $28 and under 25 $22.