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Salute to Victoria’s Artistic Season

Winter in Victoria brings shorter days for sure, but it also brings a thriving arts calendar with plenty to entertain.

Stage Struck

The University of Victoria’s Phoenix Theatre continues its 2011-12 season with Ben Travers’ witty, fast-paced Rookery Nook, November 3 to 19. Comparable to the comedies of Noel Coward, the tale follows two fun-loving friends who get caught in a tangled web of silly white lies and flirtatious innuendos.

Following in February is Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice, a reimagining of the classic myth of Orpheus and the Underworld through the eyes of its quirky heroine, Eurydice – “a magical and little menacing twist on an age-old tale.”

From the city’s historic Belfry Theatre comes David French’s Jitters, November 15 to December 18. As a new play is poised to open, plunge into a hilarious world of larger-than-life personalities, easily bruised egos, faulty props, lost lines and a visit from a big-time producer – all adding to the opening night “jitters” of cast, crew, writer and director.

Come January, it’s time for on the edge at the Belfry January 24 to February 26, featuring Susinn McFarlen in a tour de force performance exploring three women from three very different walks of life.

Langham Court Theatre is one of Victoria’s longest -standing companies for good reason. This winter, enjoy The Beauty Queen of Leenane, November 17 to December 3, featuring drama, suspense and black comedy in a small Irish village. The stage takes on a musical tone in January when Langham Court presents The Drowsy Chaperone, a Tony Award-winner recalling the golden age of musical theatre.

Dance, Victoria!

Take a time out during the hectic holiday season to enjoy Ballet Victoria’s Cinderella & the Fairy Tale Ball, when dazzling fairy tale guests offer music, magic, humour and holiday cheer at the Royal Theatre December 27 to 30.

Dance Victoria’s season continues with England’s Random Dance, from choreographer Wayne McGregor, before welcoming Alberta Ballet and the Victoria Symphony for the holiday production of The Nutcracker, December 2 to 4. Come February, the Ballet Nacional de Cuba visits to present an evening of mixed repertoire of classical ballet.

Making Music

Musical diversity rules this winter as Victoria welcomes shows ranging from Canadian rocker Matthew Good to classic opera.

November 10 to 20 presents the world premiere of Pacific Opera Victoria’s Mary’s Wedding: “The story is eternal. Boy meets girl. They fall in love. But the year is 1914, and Mary and Charlie must surrender their love and their fate to the uncertainties of their tumultuous times.”

Turning the calendar to February, POV presents Bizet’s Carmen, in French with English surtitles. “Bad, beguiling, and dangerous to know, Carmen will never let herself be chained down by any one man. When she fixes on Don José as her next (but certainly not her last) lover, the naïve but volatile young soldier hasn’t a chance… Tragedy is inevitable, but what a ride along the way!”

On a lighter note, the 80-voice Starlight Pops Choir will get toes tapping in February with Pop Rocks!, featuring classic tunes from Elton John, Rolling Stones, Linda Ronstadt, U2, Coldplay and more, February 3 and 5 at St. Aidan’s United Church, 3703 St. Aidan’s St, about 20 minutes from downtown. For details, visit  www.starlightpopschoir.com

Greater Victoria Youth Orchestra celebrates a remarkable 26th season with performances November 27 and February 12 at the University of Victoria’s Farquhar Auditorium, under the baton of Yariv Aloni.

February’s Salute to the Rat Pack from the Victoria Symphony is sure to be a highlight of the New Year. Join the symphony and vocalist Matt Catingub for a celebration of the music, artistry and songs of Las Vegas and the “Rat Pack,” including I’ve Got You Under My Skin, Night and Day, Ain’t that a Kick in the Head
and A Lot of Livin’ To Do. For more performances see pages 17 to 21.