Sunday, May 19, 2024
May 19, 2024

From bop to beauty, Buddy Holly and Baroque make an eclectic weekend



Get ready to jump to your feet and sing along next weekend as The Buddy Holly Concert takes over ArtSpring with high spirits on the evenings of Feb. 16 and 17.

This joyous concert is a dynamic two-act show featuring Zachary Stevenson in a dead-ringer performance of the famed rock-and-roller, bringing such hits to life as That’ll Be the Day, Peggy Sue and True Love Ways. Stevenson presents Buddy Holly so perfectly we seem to be watching a genuine replica of the nerdy, hip young Texan, right down to the guitar licks, trademark hiccup and energetic dance moves.

Above and beyond the ballads and rock-a-billy songs, Stevenson weaves in engaging stories about Buddy and pays tribute to Buddy’s friends — The Big Bopper, Ritchie Valens, Dion and Eddie Cochrane — to recreate this nostalgic era and connect it to today, proving the music lives on.

Raised on Vancouver Island, Stevenson is an internationally recognized award-winning actor, musician and writer, a true showman with well over a thousand performances under his belt. Vancouver Presents calls him “the epitome of effortless cool with a gorgeous voice and a star-quality stage presence,” while The Chicago Sun Tribute simply says, “If you don’t like him, you don’t like much of anybody!”

From toe-tapping bop to the beauty of baroque, Sunday, Feb. 18 changes gears with an intimate Sunday matinee to present Ensemble Mirabilia, featuring rising Canadian soprano Myriam Leblanc, winner of, among other titles, the Audience Choice Award at the Canadian Opera Company Centre Stage Competition.

Ensemble Mirabilia members, from left, are Malette-Chénier — baroque harp; Myriam Leblanc — soprano; Grégoire Jeay – flute; Antoine Mélisande Corriveau — baroque cello. (Photo by Mandie Guerard)

From her acclaimed debut album, Luce e Ombra (“Light and Shadow”) Leblanc assembles a collection of her favourite works by Venetian composer Antonio Vivaldi: opera excerpts, a chamber cantata, along with instrumental pieces transcribed or adapted for Ensemble Mirabilia’s inspired accompaniment consisting of Antoine Malette-Chénier on the baroque triple harp, Marie-Michel Beauparlant on cello and artistic director Grégoire Jeay on baroque flute.

Audiences can expect a warmth and pure scale in Leblanc’s voice that conjures up a cozy room with a few close friends rather than an opulent chamber soiree. As The Montrealer reviewed, “It’s like a brandy distillate, absolutely transparent . . . one of the most beautiful voices, perhaps the most beautiful, to come out of the Québec breeding ground in the past 10 years.”

Founded by Leblanc and Jeay, Ensemble Mirabilia seeks to promote mainly baroque music played on period instruments, but also explores earlier and more contemporary genres to create a wide repertoire reaching audiences of all backgrounds, while remaining in the great sphere of the classic.

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