Aaron Durand and Leah Alfred

Alert Bay soprano charms in homecoming

Soprano Leah Alfred, accompanied by baritone Aaron Durand and pianist David Bergeron, returned to the North Island last weekend.

PORT HARDY—Despite soprano Leah Alfred’s claim that she sings only sad songs, she brought plenty of warmth and laughter to the North Island last weekend.

Alfred, accompanied by baritone Aaron Durand and pianist David Bergeron, returned to the Port Hardy Civic Centre Saturday night and Alert Bay Sunday afternoon for her Our Favourite Things tour.

Alfred, who originally hails from Alert Bay, made her professional opera debut with the Vancouver Opera in a production of The Magic Flute last year, and this year graduated with her Master’s degree in vocal performance at UVic.

Our Favourite Things has her teaming up with Durand, a close friend from the Victoria Conservatory of Music, in an effort to combine all their favourite songs in one performance.

“These are all the pieces that we’ve held near and dear to our hearts,” Durand said Saturday. “They’re the little songs that we carry with us each and every day.”

The smiles and on-stage chemistry during Saturday’s concert made it clear that Alfred and Durand are old friends. The first half was made up of a number of Mozart pieces, and after intermission both singers took turns making their way through a series of musical numbers and operatic arias. Before a melancholic solo from The Bartered Bride, Alfred joked that, “everything I sing is sad.”

But Alfred’s more somber numbers were balanced easily by fun and energetic pieces, including a duet from Mozart’s The Magic Flute that had both singers leaping across the stage.

Durand then had a chance to show off his charismatic stage presence in a rendition of “I am Aldolpho,” a song from the musical The Drowsy Chaperone, which allowed Durand to unleash what he called his “inner flamboyant Spaniard.” Durand at one point leapt into the crowd to bestow a kiss upon the hand of one audience member, and finished his piece with the audience chanting the name, “Aldolpho!”

Alfred and Durand closed the show with the first duet they ever sang together, a heartwarming rendition of “Wheels of a Dream” from the musical Ragtime.

“Coming home is a fantastic experience,” Alfred said after the show. “Nobody is as supportive as your home town. It’s the best audience in the world.”

She described how the North Island music scene fostered her as an artist and took note of the younger audience members—something that she found optimistic.

“If there’s even the slightest chance I could influence somebody to look into classical music, that would be the most amazing thing.”

Alfred was impressed by the amount of support she had received since returning, although she stressed that the size of the crowd wasn’t important. “We’re just having so much fun!”

 

Just Posted

VIDEO: North Island Bantam Eagles tie Dawson Creek Canucks in front of massive hometown crowd in Port Hardy

The Tier 3 Bantam Championships continued in style last night at the Don Cruickshank Memorial Arena.

Port Alice’s Scotiabank branch closing for good next month

Port Alice is going through a transition to a more diversified economy that includes tourism.

VIDEO: North Island Bantam Eagles blast Kelowna Rockets in first game of the Championships in Port Hardy

The Eagles are back in action at 7:30 p.m. tonight against the Dawson Creek KFC Canucks.

Mowi Canada West releases statement on Nanaimo teenager’s workplace death

“Our thoughts are with the family at this time, all of us at Mowi are devastated by this tragedy.”

VIDEO: RCMP ask kids to help name soon-to-be police dogs

13 German shepherd puppies will be born this year

Horvat scores 16 seconds into OT as Canucks beat Blackhawks 3-2

Pettersson sets rookie scoring record for Vancouver

No injuries, pollution in Vancouver Harbour ship collision: Transport Canada

Transportation Safety Board says it has deployed a team of investigators look into the incident

Budget 2019: Five things to watch for in the Liberals’ final fiscal blueprint

Finance Minister Bill Morneau will release the Trudeau government’s final budget on Tuesday

New concussion guidelines launched for Canada’s Olympians, Paralympians

The guidelines will be in effect at this summer’s Pan American, Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru

Alphonso Davies doubtful for Canada game against French Guiana in Vancouver

Canada will be without injured captain Scott Arfield and veteran Will Johnson

Watchdog called after man who yelled racial slurs at B.C. vigil hurt during arrest

BC RCMP say man was ‘acting suspiciously’ at prayer vigil for victims of New Zealand mosque shootings

NDP’s Jagmeet Singh steps into the House of Commons, making history

Burnaby South MP becomes first visible minority to lead a federal party in the House of Commons

Most Read