Acclaimed tenor Benjamin Butterfield, accompanied by pianist Sarah Hagen, performs at the first of four intimate chamber music concerts at the Vernon Performing Arts Centre, Tuesday, Oct. 6.
“Morning Melodies is returning and people who come and attend really enjoy the show,” said Erin Kennedy, artistic director with the Performing Arts Centre. “It’s a fun morning outing and a good way for people to enjoy classical music.”
Born in Halifax and raised in Victoria, Butterfield’s love of singing began at home and in the choir at Christ Church Cathedral in Victoria. Since then, he has toured across the globe with performances at Carnegie Hall with the Oratorio Society of New York, the Hollywood Bowl with the L.A. Philharmonic under Bramwell Tovey, and in the Palace of Versailles with the Royal Court Opera, to name just a few.
In opera, performances have included debuting the Handel roles of Grimoaldo in Rodelinda and Jupiter in Semele for Timothy Vernon and Pacific Opera Victoria, the role of Frère Massée in Messiaen’s St. François d’Assise with Kent Nagano and the Montreal Symphony as well as Tamino in The Magic Flute with the Toronto Symphony under Bernard Labadie.
Butterfield also played Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni with Calgary Opera and participated in the Vancouver Opera Companies 50th Anniversary Gala under Jonathan Darlington, singing works by Mozart, Strauss and Bizet.
On the concert stage, Butterfield has performed with the L.A. Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl in Carmina Burana with Bramwell Tovey and in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Vancouver Symphony under Andrew Grams, where he was “the star amongst the soloists,” according to The Globe and Mail.
In Europe, he sang the arias in Bach’s St. John Passion for Jan Willem de Vriend with the Residentie Orkest of the Netherlands and the St. John Passion Evangelist for Choeur Ardito in Switzerland under Nicolas Reymond.
Other engagements include Chicago’s Music of the Baroque with Jane Glover and the Ravinia Festival with the Chicago Symphony under James Conlon.
Butterfield returned to perform Handel’s Messiah with the San Francisco Symphony, the Calgary Philharmonic with Jean-Marie Zeitouni as well as Beethoven’s Ninth with the Colorado Symphony under Jeffrey Kahane. He also presented the American art songs of Randy Newman for Toronto Masque Theater.
In addition to his international performances, Butterfield has more than 30 recordings to his credit, and can regularly be heard on CBC radio, where he has been featured on This is My Music.
He is also head of the voice program at the University of Victoria.
Morning Melodies begins at 10 a.m. with coffee, tea and treats and a chance to chat with the musicians. The 70-minute concert starts at 10:30 a.m. in the centre’s Marie Fleming Hall. Tickets are $35 for adults, $33 for seniors and $18 for students and are available through the Ticket Seller box office at 250-549-7469 or at www.ticketseller.ca.
Morning Melodies series subscriptions are also available for a limited time. Cost is $112 for adults and $104 for seniors for all four concerts.