News Column

Veridian Symphony Orchestra to perform 'Opera's Greatest Hits'

May 1, 2014

By Josh Kendrix, Appeal-Democrat, Marysville, Calif.

May 01--Many years ago, opera was the premiere form of popular music. Today, opera has fallen by the wayside.

This weekend, the Veridian Symphony Orchestra will perform what it calls "A Gala of Opera's Greatest Hits," featuring some of opera's most well-known pieces.

"A Journey Through Song" is Saturday and Sunday at Grace Baptist Church in Yuba City.

"I think it's something that is not as common to see these days," said soprano Kathryn Donovan Campbell, one of the soloists set to perform at the concerts. "Opera I wouldn't say is a dying artform, but it's oversahdowed by pop culture this day. ... Opera is what people from other eras considered popular culture."

To remedy this and to introduce modern audiences to opera, the concerts will feature some of the more well-known pieces from the genre.

"It's going to be opera scenes. There's going to be pieces from 'Carmen,' 'La Boheme' and some musical theater in there, too," said mezzo-soprano Lisa Van der Ploeg, another one of the soloists. "It's all the fun stuff."

Other featured soloists include baritone Thor Campbell and tenor Mark Sahady. The Veridian Symphony -- which will consist of Marina Swales on piano, Helen Graham and Corey Kersting on violins, Kristen Autry on viola and Rebekah Hood on cello -- will accompany the soloists.

"I'm going to be singing two Puccini arias," Donovan Campbell said. "I'll be singing 'O Mio Babbino Caro,' which is a very famous song used in a lot of commercials."

The concerts will also feature pieces from "Don Giovanni" and "Il Trovatore."

Both soloists studied under the late Joaquina Calvo Johnson, who was a music teacher at Yuba College for decades.

"I was 21 when I first started," Van der Ploeg said. "I didn't like classical music, but Joaquina got me started on it. Once I started singing, I loved it. We're not miced, so we learn to project from the body. It's kind of amazing. It's like we're athletes."

The concerts will not only provide an introduction to opera for the unitiated, but explore the magic of live performance.

"There's nothing like going to a live performance," Van der Ploeg said. "We're so used to hearing music through recordings. But when you watch it live, you're enveloped in the voice. You can't really record or capture the feeling of being there."


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Source: Appeal-Democrat (Marysville, CA)

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