The character he played on stage was masked and hidden from the world, but in real life Welsh tenor Peter Karrie is all about meeting and engaging people.
The singer, best known for his role in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera, is returning to the Okanagan, where he has made many friends and fans from past visits the last few years.
One person who can now call Karrie a friend and colleague is Vernon soprano Melina Moore.
The singers met two years ago, when Karrie heard Moore singing via her website and contacted the soprano about performing with him for a show he was giving in Kamloops.
“I agreed and we’ve been working together ever since,” said Moore, who is about to join Karrie again on a new tour through the Okanagan.
Entitled The Phantom of the Opera Returns, the tour will be the third collaboration between Moore and Karrie.
“We’ve been helping to connect one another with different opportunities. For example, he connected me with the upcoming Pacific Tattoo festival I’m participating in in Victoria in two weeks for 14,000 people… and I have invited him back to B.C. for this upcoming tour,” said Moore.
The tour will feature Moore playing the role of Christine to Karrie’s Phantom in an intimate concert series, which features all the hits from Phantom of the Opera and other selections from Karrie’s best-known roles.
“I’ve never sung the Christine role in its entirety, but have done most of the individual pieces in it,” said Moore. “It is a challenge, but also a role that was written for me, perfect for my voice type (coloratura), and so thrilling. However, it’s singing with Peter that makes it the most spectacular of all; performing with someone who has his role honed to an absolute science. He brings out the absolute best in me and raises everything to another level. It’s just magic onstage.”
Hailing originally from Wales, Karrie has probably sung Phantom’s famed aria, The Music of the Night, more than 3,000 times.
He calls his return to B.C. a “homecoming”, and was made an honorary Canadian citizen upon completing his Phantom role in Vancouver for close to a decade.
He first played the role at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London, and later took his Phantom to Toronto, Singapore, Hong Kong, Vancouver and on the millennium tour of Great Britain.
His performances earned him the title of “The World’s Most Popular Phantom” by The Worldwide Phantom of the Opera Appreciation Society, and he calls the man who created the role, Lloyd Webber, a personal friend.
Karrie’s other acclaimed and award-winning roles have included the original Che in Evita for the first national tour of Britain, Jean Valjean in Les Miserables for more than a decade at London’s Palace Theatre, Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar at the Palace Theatre, John Blackthorn in James Clavell’s Shogun on Broadway, Fagin in the acclaimed Cameron Macintosh production of Oliver!, Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha, Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof and Joby “Peg Leg” Churchill in the box office smash The Contender.
Karrie was also one of the original cast members of Chess, playing the role of Freddy Trumper, and the host of his own BBC television chat show, Peter Karrie…. Unmasked.
Moore has taken on as many operatic roles with her upbringing in New York City and education at Juilliard. Her professional career has grown since she moved to the Okanagan more than a decade ago, with solo tours in Canada and the U.S. and appearances with symphonies around B.C.
She also performs regularly at Vernon’s Sparkling Hill Wellness Resort and with the Dharma Dolls, a trio featuring fellow divas Judy Rose and Tanya Lipscomb.
After their Okanagan tour, Moore and Karrie will next reunite in Creete, Greece to appear at the Mediterranean International Arts Festival in September.
“I lived in Greece for several months when I was a teenager, on the island of Samos, with my family. My father was called there for his work. I loved it,” said Moore.
“This will be my first trip to Greece as an adult. The festival celebrates the best of many art forms across the country –– dance, vocal and instrumental music, orchestras, etc. It’s a two-week long festival in Heraklion, set amidst the ruins of Crete. Roughly 2,000 show up per evening to take in the festivities.”
But first the Okanagan awaits. Moore and Karrie will be accompanied by local pianist Jim Leonard on the tour. Dates include: July 23, 7:30 p.m., in the Summerhill Winery Pyramid, Kelowna; July 24, 7 p.m., at Haney Heritage Village Park, Salmon Arm; July 25, 7 p.m., at the Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre, Osoyoos; July 26, 7 p.m., Bench 1775 (formerly Soaring Eagle Winery), Naramata; July 27, 7 p.m., Sparkling Hill Wellness Resort, Vernon.
Tickets to all shows are available online at www.virtualvernon.com.