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First Breath: holiday debut of opera featuring resident artists

December 10, 2013 - 12:08 PM

KELOWNA - This Christmas is Opera Kelowna’s first concert of their first season, Primo Respiro – ‘first breath’ so aptly named. Now an annual event, every December 19th, Alexandra Babbel has presented our community with - “A Classical Christmas” in partnership with the Kelowna Community Theatre. This year is very special since it will be the debut of a dream come true, the introduction of Opera Kelowna and their first Resident Artists. The evening will feature Traditional, Sacred and Operatic Selections with Professional Ballet, Musicians, fully staged Opera Scenes and a chorus of over 40.

“It has been a dream to redefine opportunities and possibilities for operatic arts in the Okanagan.” says artistic director and founder, Alexandra Babbel, “Our singers are all professionally trained and were selected by audition from all over the Okanagan and Vancouver. They are: Mark Wells (Kelowna), Kevin Armstrong (Nelson), Jamie Onwood (Vancouver) Mia Harris (Penticton), and Matt Chittick (Vernon/Vancouver). They are all so talented and very special people who want to give back as I do to not only entertain the public but help the next generation of classical singers grow into professional careers.  It is that heart for the arts that allows us to have a Young Artists Program. Uniquely, professionals and pupils perform together for the edification of all.”

Mark Wells, for example, is also part of this year’s faculty in our summer opera program teaching Viewpoints ~a movement course. Kevin Armstrong, a heldentenor, was a professional opera singer in Germany for a number of years. “It’s exciting to perform right here where my family can see me, because I am always traveling” says, Matt Chittick who recently returned from his international debut in Lucca, Italy as Rodolfo in La Bohème (Accademia Europea Dell’Opera). You may remember Jamie Onwood a coloratura soprano from Vancouver and Mia Harris of Penticton from this past summer. Guest Soprano’s Eeva -Maria Kopp and Melena Ivanova who now reside in Kelowna will also join our resident artists for this holiday event.

The evening will also feature some of Opera Kelowna Young Artists; Carmen Harris, Alexa Hildebrandt, Haley Porter, Lauren Hughes and Quinn Bates. “These young artists can go on to auditions boldly with the experience of performing at a top level show with a full orchestra. They are paddling upstream to be classical singers, so that’s huge for them.”

Professional dancers Angel Jutzi, Manuel Sorge, and Jedidiah Duifuis of Zebra Eyes Contemporary Dance along with musicians Arnold Draper, piano; Max de Beeson, cello and Andrew Smith on tap guitar will join the singers on stage. “Opera is the perfect vehicle for bringing the arts together, and it’s for everyone. Even if you can’t relate to the sounds, maybe you can relate to the costumes, or the hair or the makeup. You will walk out of the show feeling filled.”

The performance is on Thursday, December 19th at the Kelowna Community Theatre. Tickets can be purchased at (250) 762.5050 by phone or online by going to for more information go to .

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
InfoTel News Ltd

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