This weekend, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra presents Peer Gynt. A drama, written in verse, by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen with incidental music scored by Edvard Grieg.
Premiered in 1867, the work presented by the WSO has been adapted by contemporary actor, producer, and writer John de Lancie – who serves as narrator – and features special guests: the University of Manitoba Singers and a pair of soprano Singer alums, Andrea Lett and Julie Lumsden.
A 2015 Desautels of Faculty Music graduate, Lumsden is coming off her second season at the preeminent Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario and returns to town for her Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra debut.
“It’s a little trippy,” says Lumsden on returning to the classical world.
Last heard utilizing her formally trained vocal chops in the 2020 daring, and award-winning reimagining of Handel’s holiday favourite, Messiah/Complex, the opportunity to join the WSO alongside her alma mater is a special one.
“Outside of Messiah/Complex, I haven’t really touched classical music since I graduated in 2015,” says Lumsden.
Reuniting with her former classmate and fellow soprano Andrea Lett has been a welcome bonus of the debut as Lumsden reconnects with the more fast-paced rehearsal schedule of a classical concert.
"It’s been wonderful being beside Andrea (Lett) – who I went to school with, who I did Messiah/Complex with – she’s been my guiding light through this process.”
The current crop of U of M Singers also perform in the production, prepared by Dr. Elroy Friesen, whom Lumsden calls “one of my most favourite professors.”
“It’s just so exciting to be bolstered and energized by (the Singers) sound,” she says. “It means a lot to have my alma mater there with me, too.”
See Peer Gynt at the Centennial Concert Hall on Saturday, January 21. The show begins at 7:30 p.m.
Visit: www.wso.ca for tickets and more details and don’t forget to check out Simeon’s conversation with none other than John de Lancie ahead of the performance!