A Vancouver-based soprano is making her Nanaimo debut with an afternoon of music in four languages.
On Nov. 28 Chloé Hurst performs classical “art song” at Malaspina Theatre. She’ll be accompanied by pianist Carol Fetherston and the Harbour City String Quartet – Nick Ross and James Mark on violin, Karl Rainer on viola and Alexandra Lee on cello. The program, entitled Enchanted, is not only her first in Nanaimo, it’s also her first on the Island in about 10 years.
“The main themes that we were going for were autumn or autumn moods, love, loss, those types of things,” Hurst said.
The concert proceeds from one language to another, beginning with Italian arias from forgotten operas. The second set features songs by Franz Schubert, an Austrian composer who wrote more than 600 vocal pieces and only lived to the age of 31.
“What’s really special about one of them … you’d think a very seasoned composer wrote it, but he wrote it when he just started composing in his late teens and it’s one of his most well known pieces,” Hurst said.
The third set highlights works by French impressionist composer Claude Debussy, including two pieces paired together as part of a song cycle. Hurst said “you can hear the nature in the music.”
“They’re all about painting pictures of questions around love and loss and even incorporating sounds of water, whether it’s the rain or muffled sounds of pebbles over a stream,” she said. “It’s beautiful how the accompaniment as well as the text paint these pictures.”
The performance concludes with works by English composers Roger Quilter and Ralph Vaughan Williams. There will also be Christmas carols.
Hurst only recently returned to indoor, in-person performances, but the pandemic didn’t keep her completely silent. During the summers she sang outdoors and she made recordings with some “opera friends,” with everyone recording their parts separately in their homes and the material edited together afterwards into a single performance. Last month Hurst finally returned to theatres with a show in Burnaby.
“It was really nice to know that all the people that came and supported [me] were there because they too were missing the experience of performing live,” she said. “And there’s nothing quite like having an audience.”
WHAT’S ON … Chloé Hurst performs at Malaspina Theatre, VIU Bldg. 310, on Nov. 28 at 2 p.m. Tickets $45, available from the Port Theatre.