On the evening of Saturday, May 9, 2009, the Centre in the Square will sparkle with laughter and music when DALSA presents Peter Mansbridge and the Grand Philharmonic Choir, accompanied by the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, who will bring to life Franz Lehár’s operatic masterpiece, The Merry Widow, in a unique concert version, staged by Canada’s grand master of elegance, choreographer Brian Macdonald.
This version of the most popular operetta of all time, written in 1905, is sung in its original joyous German. A delightful confection of humour, high spirits and rollicking tunes, it is complemented by the hilarious contemporary English narrative, written by the brilliant British playwright Tom Stoppard. Among Stoppard’s many credits are Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead and the screenplays for Shakespeare in Love and The Bourne Ultimatum.
The lead character in The Merry Widow is the seductive Hanna Glawari of the fictional Embassy of the fictional state of Ponteverdi in Paris. Narrator, award-winning journalist Peter Mansbridge, dapper news anchor of CBC’s The National, will tell her story in the voice of Njegus, the clerk at the Embassy. “It will be a delight to report on one hundred-year-old gossip, social and political, to the tune of the operetta’s beloved arias and choruses.”
The Merry Widow performance will be the centrepiece in The Grandest Gala of the Year, in what is slated to be the most prestigious annual gala event in Kitchener-Waterloo, raising funds for the four Grand Philharmonic Choirs – Grand, Chamber, Youth and Children. The lobbies of the Centre in the Square will be full of music and surprises, can-can and cuisine, welcoming the audience into the flamboyant atmosphere of turn-of-the-last-century, and the romance and delightful decadence of that European era. John English, Executive Director of CIGI (The Centre for International Governance Innovation) is the Honorary Chair of the Gala. He invites audiences of all ages to attend: “I can’t imagine a more exhilarating celebration of this region’s grandest Choir! For more than 100 years it has brought us the greatest works of the classical repertoire and new penetrating works of our time. With The Merry Widow the Choir will let its hair down. It will be a great Spring party in celebration of the joy of music.”
Audience members will be encouraged to dress the part. Among them, three hundred black-tie guests will have purchased the best seats in the house, gathering after the performance for champagne before returning to a full dinner with the artists, set theatrically on the stage of the Centre in the Square, where more surprises await them.
The Choir is proud to welcome internationally recognized stage director Brian Macdonald, especially beloved for his inventive and award-winning direction of Gilbert and Sullivan musicals at the Stratford Festival, and respected for the profound knowledge of music he brings to his choreography. In 2008 Brian received the Governor General’s Award for the Performing Arts.
The performance will showcase four of Canada’s finest operatic voices and individual members of the Grand Philharmonic Choir, as well as the full chorus. The sexiest team of soloists in Canada features the lyrical Laura Whalen (soprano), the witty and feisty Shannon Mercer (soprano), the magnetic Colin Ainsworth (tenor) and the dashing Aaron St. Clair-Nicholson (baritone). Order of Canada recipient and Artistic Director of the Grand Philharmonic Choir, Howard Dyck, will conduct the Grand Philharmonic Choir and the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony.
This spectacular evening is presented by DALSA Corporation, one of Waterloo’s leading technology companies with over 1000 employees world-wide. DALSA was founded in 1980 by digital imaging pioneer Dr. Savvas Chamberlain, a former Professor in Electrical Engineering at the University of Waterloo. As Dr. Chamberlain says, “We believe that the arts enrich our community and inspire innovation in all fields. DALSA is proud to present this Grandest Gala of the Year. We look forward to seeing our corporate colleagues there.”
To order your tickets today, visit the Centre in the Square Online Box Office or call 519-578-1570.
For further information, please contact: Robin Vaillancourt at 519-578-6885. Please see www.grandphilchoir.com
for full details.