Written for the Community Press June 18, 2015
If you feel there is a renewed energy happening in the Trent Hills and neighbouring areas, if you hear someone singing next to you in the coffee shop, pub, grocery store or local shop, smile and welcome them to the community. Warkworth’s Nancy Hermiston is back June 30th from British Columbia with her 25 member UBC Opera Ensemble in tow. The troupe is made up of young men and women in their 20’s filled with the joy and music of Verdi’s opera La traviata which will be performed at Westben July 2, 3, 4 and 5th. These young singers from across the country are post graduate students (or graduates) of the University of British Columbia where Nancy is the head of the voice and opera department. Some will be returning to The Barn while for others this will be their first visit to the community. Warkworth is Nancy’s home town and the community continues to welcome them with open arms by billeting the singers in their homes, taking them around the area, showing them the local sites, holding parties for them and giving them memories they will never forget. Not only are they excellent performers but Nancy prepares them in many different aspects of the opera world. They pack and transport the costumes and props, learn how to set wigs, do stage make up and sets. They work as a team. The Westben orchestra which will accompany UBC Opera Ensemble are professional orchestral musicians from the Toronto Symphony, Kitchener-Waterloo Orchestra, Orchestra London and others. The Westben catering team are busy preparing meals for the 40 musicians as they rehearse and perform at The Barn. If you love to cook and would like to contribute to the volunteer catering team at Westben, please call the Box Office 705-653-5508. La traviata is one of the most beloved operas of all time. (Google top 10 operas and it always appears). If you haven’t experienced opera before, this is a good one to try. Verdi’s music is tuneful and moving with soaring melodies and an engaging story. The costumes are elaborate and next to Westben’s natural setting, it is a beautiful sight. I love the pairing of the natural farm setting and the elegant costumes of the opera world at Westben and it is especially lovely when worn by the youthful UBC Opera cast. Visit Westben.ca for tickets for call the Box Office. Up this weekend at The Barn is Ken Tizzard June 19, 7 pm (Frank Moore opening), Cobourg Concert Band and Westben Wind Ensemble June 20, 2 pm and The Garden Gala Fundraiser June 21 at a private home near Warkworth.