Celebrated singers Ben Heppner, Rebecca Caine, Jean Stilwell, Gary Relyea and David Warrack take the stage February 2 as part of Some Enchanted Evening
GUELPH, ON January 17, 2017 – Ben Heppner has gained a reputation as one of the world’s finest operatic tenors during a nearly 30-year career. But his love of singing was instilled much earlier, when he was a boy growing up in Dawson Creek, British Columbia.
“In our house, if I couldn’t sing they would have given me to a different family,” Heppner says with a laugh. “My family all sings, particularly my mother’s side.”
A Companion of the Order of Canada, three-time Grammy and Juno Award winner and Governor General’s Performing Arts Award winner, Heppner has enjoyed an international career that has seen him perform on stages around the world.
He will put his powerful voice on display during a performance of Some Enchanted Evening at River Run Centre on Thursday, February 2, at 8 p.m. Heppner will be joined on stage by celebrated Canadian singers Rebecca Caine, Jean Stilwell and Gary Relyea, along with music director David Warrack, in a performance of hits from shows including South Pacific, My Fair Lady, Show Boat, The King and I and Phantom of the Opera.
Some Enchanted Evening is presented on River Run Centre’s Main Stage as part of the RBC Showcase Series.
Caine, an opera and musical theatre performer renowned for her roles as Cosette in Les Miserables and Christine in Phantom of the Opera, says familiarity between the singers featured in Some Enchanted Evening will make for a memorable performance.
“I expect it to be a blast,” Caine says. “I’ve worked with Jean a couple of times. We were both in the Canadian Opera Company at the same time – different casts of Carmen, Jean as Carmen, obviously, and me as Michaela – and we did an oratorio concert with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra together. David Warrack and I toured in concert with Michael Burgess for a few years. I also sang Gilda in Rigoletto with Gary as Monterone at Opera Lyra in the 1990s.”
Stilwell, a renowned mezzo-soprano, is well-known for her performances as the title character in the Georges Bizet opera Carmen, a role she first took on for a performance at Expo ’86 in Vancouver.
“I got to know Carmen over the years and as time went by I would bring more and more of my character into the role, nearly to the point where Carmen sings Jean Stilwell,” Stilwell says. “I haven’t counted the number of performances, but it must be in the hundreds. Now I do a lot of coaching of others who want to learn Carmen. I enjoy helping them discover their own Carmen character.”
Relyea, nationally known for his bass-baritone voice, is no stranger to the local stage. The veteran Canadian performer recalled a 1969 performance of Benjamin Brittan’s The Prodigal Son in Guelph.
“I sang it with Niki Goldschmidt in Guelph’s basilica,” Relyea said. “The audience was small, but the reviews were awesome and that performance really helped launch my career.”
Warrack, a composer and musical director of more than 250 shows, says his greatest joy is experienced onstage playing and singing his original songs. He says he is grateful for a long and varied career.
“It is my ongoing joy to be able to wear so many hats in so many different situations,” Warrack says. “The variety of life experiences that provides is virtually impossible to quantify. I consider myself immensely fortunate.
“We are all excited about bringing Some Enchanted Evening to River Run Centre. And how lucky am I to be working with four such exquisite talents, who just happen to also be magical people.”
Tickets to see Some Enchanted Evening cost $52 for adults, $50 for seniors and students and $29 for children 14 and under. $20 uGO tickets are available to university and college students with valid ID. $5 eyeGO tickets are available to high school students with valid ID. Tickets can be purchased at River Run Centre box office, 35 Woolwich St. in Guelph, by calling 519-763-3000, or online at riverrun.ca/some-enchanted-evening.
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