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Opera stars sing in Sechelt

Vancouver Concert Opera Society
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(top left to right) Touring opera performers Arianna Sovernigo, artistic director Natalie Burdeny. (bottom left to right) Sunny Shams, Andrew Greenwood and pianist Michael Onwood.

Live opera is rarely heard on the Sunshine Coast, although for the past few years, fans have enjoyed satellite video presentations from the New York Metropolitan Opera.

This Sunday, Jan. 12, five Canadian performers from the Vancouver Concert Opera Society will journey to the Coast to sing 70 minutes of beloved arias, duets and ensembles from Bizet, Donizetti and Verdi at the Ravenís Cry Theatre in Sechelt.

Most of the pieces will be recognizable as favourites from such operas as Carmen or La Traviata, said artistic director Natalie Burdeny, and there will be a few selections from lesser-known composers.

The troupe, also known as VanCOCO, is accessible to those who are unfamiliar with opera. Burdeny says they would like to create new audience for the art, plus offer opportunities for the many talented Canadian singers to perform.

Primarily based in Vancouver and now in their fourth season, VanCOCO will take their first visit to the Sunshine Coast. Itís challenging to produce a full opera, but in the recent past the troupe has offered sold-out performances of Carmen, a dramatic presentation of Rigoletto, and a hilarious comedic presentation of Die Fledermaus. The group was awarded the Ovation Award in 2011 for their full length light opera and musical performance of the Fringe hit, Trouble in Tahiti.

The concert features alumni artists Arianna Sovernigo, soprano (Teatro Carlo Felice di Genova - Italy), Natalie Burdeny, mezzo (International Opera Theater - Italy) and Andrew Greenwood, baritone (Stadttheater Hildesheim - Germany) and introduces Sunny Shams, tenor (Festival Opera de St. Eustache - Canada). This quartet of acclaimed artists will be accompanied at the piano by Vancouver Operaís Michael Onwood.

The show starts 2 p.m. Go to to purchase tickets.

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