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Here’s to Victoria’s Cultural Season

Stage Struck

Intrepid Theatre, hosts of two of the capital city’s favourite arts events, the Uno Festival and the Victoria Fringe Festival, presents a fundraiser featuring local creator of the international hits One Man Star Wars and One Man Lord of The Rings. The Charles-Ross-A-Thon is at the Metro Studio November 3 to 7. In February, the theatre presents Floating, “the comic and beautiful tale of the island that floated away. Welsh theatre company Hoipolloi have collected four-star reviews across Britain with this award-winning production.

Pacific Opera Victoria heats up February with Puccini’s cherished La Bohème. “While his friend Marcello carries on a tempestuous affair with the flirtatious Musetta, the poet Rodolfo falls in love with a seamstress named Mimi. Their euphoria is soon tinged with dread as Mimi falls ill. But in their brief moments of joy together, they find the love of a lifetime.” Justly called “the greatest love story ever sung.”

Victoria’s historic Belfry Theatre continues its winter season with The Life Inside, a unique piece of musical theatre based on Maurice Maeterlinck’s 1895 play, Intérieur, and created specifically for the Belfry. In the New Year, the Belfry offers David Mamet’s Cryptogram. “Set in 1959, The Cryptogram is a journey back to childhood and the moment of its vanishing – the moment when the sheltering world is suddenly revealed as a place full of menace where the grownups are speaking in code, and that code may never be breakable.”

Fresh Face for Langham Court Theatre

One of Victoria’s most beloved community theatres is greeting its 2010-2011 season with a fresh face.

Langham Court Theatre is housed in a nineteenth-century carriage house and barn that over the years have been part of a school for boys, a meeting hall and the home of the 1930 Victoria Operatic Society. In 1938-40 the buildings became The Victoria Little Theatre & Dramatic School.

The name was changed in 1950 and over the last half-century the theatre has seen many more improvements and expansions, including this summer’s renovation of the auditorium and replacement of the theatre seats. All the better for enjoying this winter’s theatrical treats.

The Memory of Water will fill the theatre November 17 to December 4, following three sisters reunited for their mother’s funeral, women whose paths are littered with laughter, tears, hidden secrets and love.

In the New Year, the theatre explores the 1998 beating death of a gay University of Wyoming student in the poignant Laramie Project, a response to the tragic events in Laramie that was formed from actual interviews at the time.

Music Makers

Something for everyone truly describes the music calendar this winter as Victoria welcomes everyone from Ozzy Osbourne to the Rankin sisters.

The Greater Victoria Youth Orchestra celebrates a remarkable 25 years with three winter concerts. University of Victoria’s Farquhar Auditorium welcomes the young musicians November 14 for a Silver Season Gala featuring Handel’s Royal Fireworks Music, Bartók’s Rumanian Folk Dances and Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D. On December 12, at the Church of St. John the Divine, the orchestra says Thank You to Our Home Community with Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man, Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll, Poulenc’s Organ Concerto in G minor.

February 13 brings the orchestra back to the Farquhar Auditorium for The Next Generation, Rimsky-Korsakov’s Overture on Russian Themes, Mozart’s Wind Sinfonia Concertante in E flat and Gershwin’s  Catfish Row.

The Victoria Symphony Orchestra entertains with a wide selection of performances this season, ranging from a series of Christmas performances to the classics. In December, Canada’s foremost musical comedienne, Mary Lou Fallis, serves up a performance of musical highjinks in My Funny Christmastime. Always illuminating but mostly just hilarious, Mary Lou will provide definitive performances of familiar Christmas classics and invent some classics of her own that will infuse your holidays with laugh-out-loud joy.

Additional highlights include a traditional Viennese New Year’s celebration January 1 and Brush Up Your Shakespeare February 2. “The Immortal Bard has inspired endless music from Medelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream to Broadway hits such as West Side Story and Kiss Me Kate. Hear the Victoria Symphony play your favourite Shakespearean tunes – and as a bonus, enjoy Duncan Regehr’s rendition of some Shakespearean verse!”

This fall, the Victoria Gilbert and Sullivan Society explores the great tradition of The British Music Hall December 3 to 5 in a fundraiser production at the Fairfield New Horizons. Featuring a master of ceremonies, or “Chairman,” introducing singers, dancers and special acts, mingled with jokes, the music hall is similar to American Vaudeville, with outrageous characters and some improvisation. Audiences take note: “the success of a Music Hall show depends on audience participation, so leave the prim and proper at the opera and bring your cheers and jeers!” For details see www.gilbertandsullivanvictoria.ca

East Coast Canadian folk-rockers Wintersleep come to the Alix Goolden Hall in November, in support of their New Inheritors tour – sure to be a popular fall event.

Ready to rock out with something completely different? Check out Ozzie Osbourne, coming November 12 to the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre, joined by special guest Halford.

Dance

Step inside the walls of William Head Minimum Security Prison to take in Chalk, from SNAFU Dance Theatre and William Head on Stage. With public performances scheduled for select nights November 4 to 20, the production is created and performed by six men from William Head Prison, with Anne Cirillo and Ingrid Hansen. (Audience members must be 19 years or older.) Advance tickets only – visit www.snafudance.com

December stages are busy with ballet. From December 27 to 30, Ballet Victoria presents a new take on the familiar Beauty and the Beast, visually entrancing, fresh and innovative. Canadian Pacific Ballet presents the holiday favourite Nutcracker Suite, following the adventures of Clara and the Christmas gift of the mysterious nutcracker doll. Complementing the performance is the Sugar Plum Fair, an interactive transformation of the McPherson lobby, where children young and old can enjoy the sweets of the land.

In February, Toronto Dance Theatre performs Pteros Tactics, by Christopher House, whose “playful approach to creating new works brings out the best in his international company of 10 dancers, earning House his reputation as one of the leading choreographers in Canada today.”

— Jennifer Blyth

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