Local talent stars in opera

Instead of the usual big stars coming in from out of town to star in major arts events, two local young people star in the opera Carmen.

Amy Spencer and Graeme Linton are Carmen and Don Jose in the opera Carmen for two performances July 28 and 29 and a shortened version July 31 during Riverboat Days.

Instead of the usual big stars coming in from out of town to star in major arts events, two local young people will take centre stage for the opera Carmen this Thursday, Friday and Sunday.

Amy Spencer and Graeme Linton are Carmen and Don Jose accompanied by about a dozen members of the chorus for two presentations of the opera and one highlights show, along with the Terrace Symphony Orchestra.

The cast has been rehearsing nine hours a week for several weeks in preparation under the direction of a well-known director, who prefers to remain anonymous so as not to take the focus away from the local stars, and artistic director Christina Rogers.

Spencer says it’s been a lot of hard work. “It’s pretty intensive, a lot of intense work for me. I haven’t sung in the last four years so to jump back to it is a lot of work but it’s fun,” she says. “For me right now, I find I have to work harder because I haven’t sang for so long,” she says.

She and Linton both took lessons from well-known singer Katherine van Kampen via Skype as there aren’t a lot of teachers in the northwest.

Spencer sort of stumbled into the opera after Linton messaged her to ask if she wanted to come out and sing – she thought it was just a group of people getting together. When she found out what it was for, she thought she might get a small role in the chorus but came away with a starring role.

When Linton was approached, he asked to do administrative work on the show but was persuaded to sing, which didn’t take too much persuading.

It’s so much fun,” he says enthusiastically, adding that he looks forward to rehearsals with all the other great singers and even though its nine hours of rehearsal a week in the evenings, it doesn’t feel like a job. Linton is taking Vocal Performance in Classical Singing at McGill University and says he’d welcome a career in opera if life takes him in that direction.

Carmen is presented on July 28 and 29 at the Terrace Pentecostal Assembly. Tickets on sale at Misty River Books and Sight and Sound.

A shorter version will also be performed July 31 at Heritage Park Museum free of charge.