Visitors to Sackville between Sept. 24 and 29 may well suppose the town has declared “Suzie LeBlanc Week”. The internationally-acclaimed soprano will be featured in three different events in the course of six days: a solo concert; an appearance with the period instrumental ensemble ¡Sacabuche!; and the launch of a CD and DVD.
The New Brunswick-born singer, a native of Edmundston, has a worldwide reputation for excellence, as demonstrated by the comment of an Italian music critic who wrote after a concert in Turin: “The evening’s success is due above all to soprano Suzie LeBlanc with her fresh and melodious voice.”
Wendy Burnett, president of the Sackville Festival of Early Music, says, “For the many music-lovers who admire Suzie’s superb vocal artistry, the coming week offers a feast of opportunities to hear, see and meet her.”
The first item on the menu is the CD/DVD launch at the Owens Gallery, which starts at 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 24 and celebrates the Canadian roots of famed American poet Elizabeth Bishop. LeBlanc will sing a number of Bishop’s poems set to music by various Canadian composers, among them Alasdair MacLean, formerly of Sackville.
Other poems will be read by Herménégilde Chiasson and there will be a premiere screening of “Walking With EB”, a short film featuring LeBlanc and Sackville artist and film maker Linda Rae Dornan as they recreate a walking tour of coastal Newfoundland made by the poet in 1932. There will be no admission charge for this event.
Next in this trio of events will be the performance of a solo recital entitled “The Wedding Day/Le jour du marriage”, a featured concert of the Sackville Festival of Early Music, scheduled for the Mount Allison University Chapel on Friday, Sept. 27, at 8 p.m. The program, which has been greeted with enthusiastic ovations in previous performances, features works by Claudio Monteverdi, Michel Lambert and other 16th Century composers, as well as traditional Acadian songs rooted in the same period. On this occasion LeBlanc will be accompanied by acclaimed harpsichordist Alexander Weimann and percussionist Nick Halley.
LeBlanc will make her third Sackville appearance on Sunday, Sept. 29, at 8 p.m. in Mount Allison University’s Brunton Auditorium, where she will join ¡Sacabuche! In the world premiere performance of a multi-media presentation entitled “Venetia 1500.” The production, based on a celebrated Renaissance map of Venice, explores the music and mood of that great city at a turning point in its history and, in the process, invites comparisons with experiences of Maritime Canada.
Recently returned from performing in China, ¡Sacabuche! is an international ensemble of musicians led by Linda Pearse of the Mount Allison University department of music. Their appearance in Sackville is the result of a joint collaboration between the Sackville Festival of Early Music and Mount Allison Performing Arts.
Further information about the Sackville Festival of Early Music can be found on-line at http://sackvilleearlymusic.ca.