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“She is Clothed in Strength and Beauty” featuring Alicia Woynarski, Mezzo-Soprano & Anna Casurella, Soprano

09 Aug Posted by in Schedule | Comments
“She is Clothed in Strength and Beauty” featuring Alicia Woynarski, Mezzo-Soprano & Anna Casurella, Soprano

She is Clothed in Strength and Beauty is the imagery that came to mind as we reflected one day on the qualities that define exemplary women we have known, both past and present.  It is the strength and beauty that resides in the deep inner chambers of a woman’s soul that allows her to rise above both the mundane and extraordinary challenges of life.  These sung stories of the heart, told by both simple women of no renown, and famous women, share and express the common qualities of strength and beauty. 

This contemporary English recital features works by Canadian composers, Imant Raminsh and Robert Fleming, as well as American composers Jake Heggie and Jay Althouse. 

In the selected songs from The Confession Stone (Fleming), Mary, the mother of Christ, is shown to be both strong and beautiful as she reflects on three important events: The birth of Jesus; Lazarus’ Resurrection; and the Last Supper.  In Of Mother’s and Children (Raminsh) maternal strength and beauty is lived out through a variety of life experiences, ranging from the birth of a child to the death of a child.  Iconic Legacies: First Ladies of the Smithsonian (Heggie), showcases the strength and beauty of Eleanor Roosevelt, Mary Todd Lincoln, Jacqueline Kennedy, and Barbara Bush as they labour under the often unrealistic expectations of their prominence.   Jay Althouse’s two settings of Irish Folk songs rounds out this recital with poetry that expresses deep questions pertaining to identity and loss that must be answered with both strength and beauty.

We hope you enjoy this recital and that you are able to reflect on and appreciate the many women in your own lives who are clothed with these admirable qualities.

Alicia Woynarski, Mezzo-Soprano

Alicia Woynarski is a singer with a beautiful warm mezzo-soprano voice and compelling stage presence. “Pretty as a flower, this budding star sings with the power and confidence of a veteran” (Oceanside Star). Her innate musicality has captivated audiences nationally and abroad. “[Director Tatiana] Vasilieva is glowing in her praise of this young mezzo-soprano and one can see why” (Parksville Qualicum Beach News).

Originally from Regina, Alicia completed a Bachelor of Music at University of Western Ontario and graduated from University of British Columbia with a Master’s degree in Vocal Performance. Operatic roles include Drite Dame in Die Zauberflöte (Saskatoon Opera), Mercedes in Carmen (Saskatoon Opera), Hansel in Hansel and Gretel (A Little Opera on the Prairie), Dorabella in Così Fan Tutte (AEDO, Accademia Europea Dell’Opera), Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro (Manitoba Opera and Saskatoon Opera), the title role in Carmen (Vancouver Island Opera), Berta in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, the Third Lady in Die Zauberflöte (European Academy of Music, Czech Republic), Tessa in The Gondoliers (Westben Theatre), Florence in Albert Herring (UWO), and Principessa in Suor Angelica (Opera NUOVA).

Other concert performances include guest artist with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Regina Symphony Orchestra, Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra and Mercury Opera, Edmonton.

Here’s a sample of Alicia singing:

Anna Casurella, soprano

Anna Casurella, Soprano, is equally at home in opera, oratorio, and musical theatre.  Anna holds a Masters of Music in Performance and Literature from the University of Western Ontario, and a Bachelor of Music in Performance from the University of Lethbridge.

She received much acclaim for her fiery portrayal of Mae Jones, in Street Scene (Weill), and has also sung the roles of Aranka (The Gypsy Princess), Gianetta (The Gondoliers), Pamina (Die Zauberflöte), Susanna (Le Nozze di Figaro), and Molly Brazen (The Beggar’s Opera).

She has been a regular with the Calgary Opera Chorus, appearing in the world premiere of Frobisher.  Other selected credits include Carmen, Der Fliegende HolländerMadama Butterfly, Nozze di Figaro, Lakme, and Turandot.

On the concert stage, Anna has performed selected concerts with Calgary Concert Opera Company, and has been featured as a principal soloist in Handel’s Messiah, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Schubert’s Mass in E flat Major, and Haydn’s The Creation.

When she is not singing, Anna enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter, preferably in the great outdoors!