Join the Postmodern Camerata on December 15th and 16th at the Annex on Seymour St., as they celebrate the holiday season with a relaxed, intimate evening of cabaret inspired Christmas classics. Featuring three of PMC’s long standing members, the Heliotrope Trio showcases SSA arrangements for some of these holiday favourites. Come and celebrate the holiday season with one of Vancouver’s most versatile chamber music ensembles and treat yourself to a live musical performance in a state of the art venue!
A synergy of vocal timbres and textures, Heliotrope is a unique ensemble featuring the talents of Szu-Wen Wang, Alexandra Hill, and Melissa Howell. The three chanteuses have performed together regularly in Vancouver’s Postmodern Camerata, a chamber ensemble dedicated to the art of traditional and modern chamber music. Heliotrope’s repertoire is an eclectic mix of opera, operetta, folk song, jazz, and holiday favourites in luscious three-part harmony. https://heliotropetrio.com
Szu-Wen Wang, praised for her “…incandescent intonation and carefully crafted phrasing as the Fairy Godmother” in Massenet’s Cinderella (Opera Canada), has been the recipient of favorable reviews time and time again. For her performance in Handel’s Amadigi, Opera Canada declared that, “Oriana, the object of his [Amadigi’s] desire, was exquisitely sung by coloratura soprano Szu-Wen Wang”, and they further applauded the “…delicacy of approach, her innocence and her impressive soprano” as Cio-Cio-San in Vancouver Island Opera’s production of Madama Butterfly. The Parksville Qualicum Beach News raved “even in Italian, one can read Wang’s performance without the need for translation. Butterfly’ s roller-coaster ride of emotion was performed flawlessly.”
Her operatic roles include: Woglinde (Das Rheingold), Gilda (Rigoletto), The Fairy Godmother (Cinderella), Gretel (Hansel and Gretel), Amahl (Amahl and the Night Visitors), Patience (Patience), Oriana (Amadigi), Giannetta (Elixir of Love), Josephine (HMS Pinafore), Phyllis (Iolanthe), Cio-Cio-San (Madama Butterfly), Lola (Cavalleria Rusticana), First Witch and Second Woman (Dido and Aeneas), and Cissy (Albert Herring).
As a concert soloist, Ms. Wang has appeared in Bach’s Cantata 198, Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy, Haydn’s Missa Brevis St. Joannis de Deco, Mozart’s Coronation Mass, Nunes Garcia’s Mass, Orff’s Catulli Carmina, Rutter’s Requiem, Schütz’ Christmas Oratorio, and Vivaldi’s Gloria. In 2008 and 2009, she was a featured soloist in the annual “Voices of the Pacific Rim” with the Vancouver Opera.
Ms. Wang holds a Bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance from Taipei National University of the Arts, a Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in Vocal Performance from the University of Texas in Austin, and was an artist in residence with Amarillo Opera. She is a member of the Canadian Actors’ Equity Association.
Canadian soprano Alexandra Hill is at home performing both operatic and concert repertoire. Operatic roles include Musetta (La Bohème) with the Vancouver Opera Project, Countess (Le nozze di Figaro), Wellgunde (Das Rheingold) and Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni) with ViVace, the Sorceress (Dido and Aeneas) with the Theatre of Early Music, and Bianca (The Rape of Lucretia), Mrs. Herring (Albert Herring) and Metalla (La vie Parisienne) with Opera McGill. Alexandra is a 2012 member of the Advanced Artist program at OperaWorks in Los Angeles, California. She was the soprano soloist in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony and Haydn’s Seasons with the Cowichan Consort, and the soprano soloist in Bach’s St. John Passion, Mozart’s Requiem, and Handel’s Messiah with Dunbar Heights Orchestra and Chorus.
Alexandra holds a Masters and a Bachelors of Music with Honours and Distinction from McGill University’s Schulich School of Music, in addition to a minor in German language and literature. During her time at McGill, Alexandra was the recipient of numerous awards, including a Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) scholarship and the Austrian Society of Montréal scholarship, for studies in Germany and Austria respectively. Alexandra is a Franz Schubert Institute alumni member (2007, 2008) and a member of the Oxford Lieder Festival alumni (2008, 2009).
In the summer of 2009, Alexandra moved to Stavanger, Norway to pursue voice studies with Norwegian mezzo-soprano Bettina Smith and Dutch baritone Wout Oosterkamp, during which time she performed with the Hilliard Ensemble, Norwegian violist Lars Anders Tomter and violinist Jan Bjøranger at the 2009 Stavanger Arvo PärtFestival. In 2010, Alexandra moved to Belgium to study with American baritone Stephan Salters. Since the fall of 2012, Alexandra has been based in Vancouver, and has been studying with acclaimed Canadian soprano Heidi Klassen.
Melissa Howell began her life as a vocalist singing show tunes in the Creston Valley Community Choir. Mentored at an early age by a wonderful singer and voice teacher, (and conductor of said choir) she went on to complete her classical vocal training at UBC and McGill University, where she completed a Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance. Locally, Melissa has performed with Opera Breve, Applause! Musical Theatre, Opera Appassionata, the Opera Project, and the Postmodern Camerata. Roles she has performed include Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, the Mother in Hansel and Gretel, Pamina in the Magic Flute, Mary in Merrily We Roll Along, Guido’s Mother in Nine, Dido in Dido and Aeneas, and Dorabella in an abridged version of Cosi fan tutte.
Acting upon a lifelong love of torch songs, Melissa took the plunge and furthered her studies, working with Vancouver jazz vocalists Jennifer Scott and Sarah Zacharias. She fulfilled this dream performing for several private functions in the lower mainland, with Vancouver tenor saxophonist Graham Howell and his quartet, Standards in Silhouette.
Melissa discovered that she had a talent for producing and has produced and performed in several concerts of opera, including four SFU-sponsored concerts of opera for the downtown eastside, and an educational presentation of Mozart arias for General Brock school. She also manages a professional a cappella ensemble, the Angelus Singers, an SAB trio dedicated to the performance of Christmas repertoire.
These concerts are made possible with the generous support from the Vancouver Civic Theatres.