Abbotsford performers team up for ironic twist on old opera

Carmen ... And Other Works showcased on June 1 at Matsqui Centennial Auditorium

Calvin Dyck (left) and the Abbotsford Youth Orchestra have teamed up with the Fraser Valley Academy of Dance to present Carmen ... And Other Works

Calvin Dyck (left) and the Abbotsford Youth Orchestra have teamed up with the Fraser Valley Academy of Dance to present Carmen ... And Other Works

Take a passionate dash of Carmen by Bizet, blend in the fun-loving resonance of the Abbotsford Youth Orchestra (AYO) strings, season with lots of rhythmic and timely percussion, and sprinkle with graceful yet powerful movements of the Fraser Valley Academy of Dance and you have the delicious makings of Carmen … And Other Works.

Presented by Calvin Dyck and the AYO, the performance will take place at the Matsqui Centennial Auditorium on June 1 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

This is Carmen with all the favourite, well-loved tunes garnished in a way Bizet would never have imagined.

“The Carmen Suite, by living Russian composer Rodion Shchedrin, is such an inspiring and tongue-in-cheek rendition of Bizet’s opera Carmen,” said Dyck, artistic director and conductor of the AYO.

“It’s a refreshing look at the opera, an ironic twist, completely humorous, full of subtlety and unexpected turns on very familiar music. I performed it with the Vancouver Island Symphony a couple of years ago and enjoyed it so much that I was inspired to program it for the AYO here in Abbotsford.”

Audiences have come to know, from 12 years of Songs Strings & Steps shows, that Dyck loves a challenge, originality, creativity, adventure and surprises.

“This year, instead of doing a Songs Strings & Steps production, the AYO went on tour to Vancouver Island. The highlight was a performance with the Vancouver Island Symphony. And now, before getting ready to play in the Canada Day Parade, we want to give the kids with the AYO the challenge of this wonderful piece of music while offering the audience a concert filled with passion, humour, intimacy and beauty.”

The show features the AYO, Fraser Valley Academy of Dance and five percussionists playing everything from marimba, snare and bass drums to cowbells, triangles and castanets.

The second half of the concert features music made popular by Barrage; Texas Swing (with choreography by Sylvia Friesen), Singing in the Rain, Maple Sugar Rag, and a solo by AYO principal bass Elih B.

Tickets range in price from $10 to $20 and are available at King’s Music and House of James. If you require wheelchair seating, please call 604-855-9696.