Thursday, July 18, 2024
July 18, 2024

Satirical opera shines light on Purcell


Finding true love has always been difficult, whether in 2024, or 1694! 

The Salt Spring Baroque concert titled Henry Purcell (mostly) in Love features Montreal harpsichordist Christophe Gauthier, Vancouver tenor Shane Hanson and Vancouver countertenor Nicholas Burns in a new comedic drama based on the music of Henry Purcell (1659-1695).

It takes place on Saturday, June 22 at All Saints by-the-Sea at 7 p.m.

Purcell is one of the most important British composers, and was the creator of beautifully moving operas, semi-operas and musical dramas. He is well-known for his output of songs composed as incidental music for the theatre with solemn overtures, cheerful or pathetic airs, and delightful dances of every imaginable kind. Most of Purcell’s theatre music was written between 1690 and 1695 (the year of his death), and within that relatively brief period he supplied music for more than 40 plays.

Henry Purcell (mostly) in Love takes advantage of the dramatic, and often-irreverent nature of Purcell’s vocal music. Arranged into a new 21st-century love story, this show follows two young men through the trials and tribulations of attempting to court a woman.

The program capitalizes on the dramatic nature of song in Purcell’s era, but in an updated, contemporary context, providing a modern way for Purcell’s songs to be “re-admired.” Both well-known and lesser-known works (like one of Purcell’s humorous rounds) will be featured, as well as repertoire that was never intended for a countertenor to sing, such as Dido’s Lament.

Tickets are available at or through the ArtSpring box office.

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