Calgary Opera Lends its Voices to Garrison Green
“Opera is complex for those who perform it, but also for those who listen to it. It takes more time, more patience and more spirit of sacrifice. All this is well worth it because opera offers such deep sensations that they will remain in a heart for a lifetime.” – Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli
Residents at Garrison Green were treated to an afternoon of opera thanks to seven singers from Calgary Opera’s Emerging Artists program. The seven, accompanied on the piano by their director Mel Kirby, thrilled the more than 50 residents in attendance with several arias and a group finale that brought tears to many.
“We do what we can because we love it,” explained Emerging Artist Johnathon Kirby. “If the residents can’t come to us, we come to them. We often get our best reactions from older adults because many of them have supported Calgary Opera for years. It’s important for us to be here.”
Calgary Opera is one of several arts, culture and higher learning organizations that United Active Living is partnering with. Each partnership provides opportunities for residents to experience small, intimate concerts within their communities, and to attend outside performances.
“Having a group like Calgary Opera come into one of our communities provides a unique opportunity for residents to hear the music they love, particularly if they aren’t able to get out as often as they would like,” said United’s music director Jill LaForty. “You can feel the power in their voices that you may not experience fully in a theatre setting. It’s really a special experience.”
Singer Anne-Marie MacIntosh said it’s important to give concerts within the community. “It’s a special moment for us and for them. It’s a good opportunity to connect with the audience in an intimate setting to see what works and to test out new repertoire.”
To resident Mary Fenwick, the experience was emotional. “They transported me to another place. They reached right into the audience and played to us. It was just wonderful. They are so talented.”
Resident Jim Dolph said “It was an opportunity to experience something we wouldn’t normally do. They are so talented. It was a real privilege to have them here.”
Read more about United’s partnerships here.
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