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Join us for the rare appearance in Victoria of Canadian choral legend Howard Dyck! Host of CBC's Saturday Afternoon at the Opera and Choral Concert for many years, and longtime conductor of the Kitchener-Waterloo Grand Philharmonic Choir, Howard Dyck is on the island to conduct a very special performance of Mozart's Requiem (the rarely heard 'Levin completion' featuring newly composed material based on Mozart's sketches). The concert will also feature music by Bruckner, Willan, Mendelssohn, Schoenberg, plus contemporary composers Andrew Balfour, Kathleen Allan, and our feature composer, Stephanie Martin.

Howard has assembled a 'reunion' team of soloists - all singers who worked with him extensively early in their careers: Susan Platts, mezzo-soprano, Benjamin Butterfield, tenor, and Daniel Okulitch, bass. Joining them is the exceptional young Toronto-based soprano Karoline Podolak - a rising star in Canadian singing making her first ever appearance in British Columbia.

Howard Dyck conducts the 90-voice Sing the North Summer Festival Chorus and Orchestra plus two chamber choirs, with a third chamber choir led by festival director, Kathryn Whitney. Concertmaster Christi Meyers leads the Festival Orchestra, with the cathedral's Assistant Director of Music, Mark McDonald, on organ.

Tickets: $30 (general Admission), $15 (students)


Mezzo-soprano Susan Platts, raised in Victoria and now one of the most sought-after mezzos in the world, wrote to Howard immediately when she learned that our concert would be taking place to ask if she could be involved. Mentored by Jessye Norman, she now performs regularly in world-class venues such as Covent Garden, Teatro all Scala, Lincoln Centre, the Royal Albert Hall. She has sung with many of the world’s major orchestras and conductors, including Marin Alsop, Kent Nagano, Pinchas Zuckerman, Sir Roger Norrington, Jane Glover, and Yannick Nezet-Seguin. An award-winning recording artist and exceptionally skilled interpreter of Mahler, she writes: ‘Without Howard, I’m not sure I would be singing today.’ 

A singer of exceptional energy with a heart-stopping tenor voice, Benjamin Butterfield performed a number of his key early concerts under Howard’s direction. Now Professor and Head of Music at the University of Victoria, and represented by Schwalbe & Partners in New York, his international credits include collaborations as diverse as those with Jonathan Miller, Dave Brubeck, and Isabella Rossellini. Benjamin has performed with major opera houses and orchestras around the world, including under conductors Sir Andrew Davis, Nicholas McGegan, Seiji Ozawa, and Yannick Nezet-Sequin. Nominated for several Juno awards, he is often heard on CBC music, including recent episodes of This is My Music. Benjamin is a leading voice in the training of young singers internationally, regularly teaching in Europe, North America, and Asia. 

Bass-baritone Gary Relyea has performed numerous concerts with Howard Dyck over his huge international career, in particular, the title role in Mendelssohn’s Elijah, which he has also sung with Sir Andrew David and Brian Law. Renowned for the deep richness of his voice, Gary has thrilled audiences in Britten’s War Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, and Verdi’s Requiem with many distinguished orchestras, including Cleveland, Baltimore, Detroit, Montreal, Toronto, and at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. He has performed around the globe, with credits at the Concertgebouw, in New Zealand, in Poland, Costa Rica, and Guatemala. A regular performer with the Canadian Opera Company and houses across North America including Pacific Opera Victoria and Vancouver Opera, he has recorded for CBC Music and for CBC-TV, including recordings of works by Walton, Pannell, and Britten.

Update, July 15: We regret to announce that bass Gary Relyea is unable to join us owing to illness. We all wish Gary a speedy recovery. 

We extend our thanks to Gary for putting us in touch with world-renowned bass-baritone, Daniel Okulitch, who, by a stroke of luck happens to be in his native British Columbia the week of our concert owing to a family celebration. 

We send our heartfelt thanks to Daniel for kindly stepping in at short notice to perform in our Mozart Requiem with Howard Dyck. 

Learn more Daniel Okulitch on his website here:

Lovers of the voice and of singing will be thrilled to hear our exceptional young soprano soloist, Karoline Podolak, who is travelling to BC for the first time in her life to perform in our concert on July 27. A Polish-Canadian singer, raised in Toronto, she completed her Masters’ in Opera Performance at the K Szymanowski Academy of Music in Poland. Karoline has taken multiple top prizes in singing competitions in France, Canada, Italy, the USA, Poland, and Mexico in the past three years. She has taken part in Young Artist Programs, including the Sequenda Opera Studio in Luxembourg, Atelier Lyrique of the Opéra de Montréal, and at the Canadian Opera Company. Performances include appearances with the Silesian Opera House, with the Toronto Concert Orchestra, the Toronto Sinfonietta, and Opera San de San Miguel in Mexico with upcoming bookings at upcoming at Carnegie Hall, the National Opera of Bordeau, and the Daegu Opera House. Your readers are strongly encouraged to visit her website to hear just what a rare singer she is. It is thrilling to be able to present this exceptional singer to Victoria audiences just as she is beginning to take flight with her international career. 

Finally, we are so excited to announce that Grammy Award-winning Canadian countertenor, conductor and educator Daniel Taylor, who is with us for the week as a vocal coach, will be singing a duet with Karoline Podolak in our concert on July 27. A member of the Order of Canada, and a Sony Classical Artist, Daniel is Canada’s most prolific recording artist across all genres, appearing on more than 120 recordings, including with Sir John Eliot Gardiner (Deutsche Grammophone, Archiv, and SDG labels), Cecilia Bartoli, Gerald Finley, Dame Emma Kirkby, Christopher Hogwood (Decca), Phillipe Herreweghe (Harmonia Mundi), Masaaki Suzuki (BIS), and so many others. Artistic Director and Conductor of the award-winning Trinity Choir and the Theatre of Early Music, he is Associate Professor of Voice, Early Music, and Opera, and Director of the Historical Performance Area at the University of Toronto Faculty of Music.

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