The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra is set to get some fresh air during two upcoming outdoor summer concerts in the next few days.
In what has become a yearly tradition, the WSO performs at the Lyric Theatre in Assiniboine Park on Thursday evening before hitting the road Sunday for a performance at the Kenora Harbourfront.
“This is only my second time conducting at the Lyric and my first time conducting in Kenora,” says WSO Associate Conductor Julian Pellicano, who is quick to point out the unique conditions presented when performing outdoors.
There is always the potential for a summer breeze that jostles music on the stands or mosquitoes who may be keen to experience the musicians a little too closely, but it is the sun that Pellicano remembers most acutely from his last experience.
"The way that the (Lyric) stage is situated, the setting sun just beams on the stage,” he says. “I did not wear a white jacket – I had a black jacket on – and I was absolutely broiling on that stage.”
Suffice to say, the maestro will be sporting a white coat for the upcoming performances which feature plenty of classical hits for the audience to enjoy.
“We have some excellent music,” beams Pellicano, with a stack of scores accompanying him in the Classic 107 studio.
Operatic selections from the Verdi and von Suppé catalogues, ballet music from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, orchestral writing by Indigenous composer Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate, film music of John Williams is all on the program, designed to showcase the glorious sound of the symphony.
In Kenora on Sunday at the Jarnel Contracting Pavilion, local singer Laura Cotton makes her WSO debut with music of Edith Piaf and Joni Mitchell.
Free community events such as these give a broader audience the opportunity to experience the symphony, says Pellicano, hoping to capture the attention of passers-by in addition to those there for the show with lawn chairs and blankets.
“There’s something about hearing live music outdoors,” he says. Referencing the variety of concerts and performances the city is treated to in the summer months, these performances provide a unique opportunity for audiences.
“This is maybe the only event where you get to hear a full, live symphony orchestra in a beautiful location.”
The WSO performs at the Lyric Theatre in Assiniboine Park on Thursday, June 29 at 7:00 p.m. and in Kenora at the Jarnel Contracting Pavilion on Sunday, July 2 at 7:30 p.m.