Opera couple return to perform for home crowd

Young professional opera singers Jeremy and Julie Ludwig return to Aldergrove to perform for their home town on Saturday, May 28 at the Aldergrove Canadian Reformed Church.

The married couple currently live in Toronto, Ontario where they are developing their performance careers. While Julie grew up in London, Ontario, Jeremy is a native of Abbotsford and is excited to be back in the Fraser Valley to perform for his home crowd.

“This community has always been very supportive of my singing, so it’s always a real treat to perform for them and show them what we’ve been up to,” says Jeremy.

Their last appearance in the area was a recital in Abbotsford in the spring of 2009.

Joining the singers is Vancouver-based pianist Kinza Tyrrell, who the couple know from a number of opera training progams, including the Centre for Opera Studies in Italy (COSI) where last summer they performed Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro under Tyrrell’s musical direction. Tyrrell is highly sought after as pianist and has collaborated with some of Canada’s most highly regarded singers, including a recent tour with renowned tenor Richard Margison.

The program for the evening is an interesting and eclectic mix of music of different styles and genres.

“There should be something for everyone,” says Jeremy. “We really wanted to create a program with a broad appeal.”

They are calling the evening “From Bach to Broadway” and it will feature one of J.S. Bach’s sacred Cantatas performed in its entirety. The cantata, composed for soprano and baritone, compares the romantic relationship between a husband and wife to that of the Soul to God, following the Church’s traditional interpretation of texts like the Song of Solomon in the Old Testament.

The program also includes a set of arrangements by Harry T. Burleigh of popular African-American spirituals, including favourites like “Wade in the Water” and “Deep River”.

“It’s fascinating to see the different responses to faith in such different cultural contexts,” says Jeremy. “Here we have two completely different musical traditions, yet they are so closely linked by an equally profound spirituality. On the one hand, we have Bach’s music, which is so complex and intricate, and on the other hand, there’s the beautiful simplicity and directness of the gospel songs.”

The second half of the program takes a secular turn, leaving the church halls of the American South, taking a detour through folk songs of the British Isles in arrangements by Benjamin Britten before finally arriving on the Broadway stage. The performers will present a series of show-stoppers from hit musicals including Camelot, South Pacific, Les Misèrables, and Showboat.

“I started singing because I loved musical theatre, so I it’s great to have the chance to revisit this music again,” says Julie, whose early stage appearances included the title role in Annie at Regina Mundi Catholic College in London, Ontario.

The performance will take place at 7:30 p.m. on May 28 at the new Aldergrove Canadian Reformed Church. Tickets are $22/$17 in advance and $25/$20 at the door, available at www.jeremyludwig.com/tickets