Partners in Crime, Cvetozar Vutev and Curtis Howell are breaking out of lockdown for performances Aug. 7 and 8 in Vernon and Kelowna. (Contributed)

24 concerts staged in Okanagan

Escape heat, smoke and worries with live music

An escape from the smoke and heat of summer is being offered with dozens of concerts taking place this month.

Vernon Proms presents its annual festival, underway until Aug. 29 in Kelowna and Vernon, featuring concerts of chamber, baroque, medieval, jazz, musical theatre, opera and folk.

The festival has three vocal events in a row this week – all in Vernon. Local trio Voix Du Coer, who were entertaining senior’s residences during the pandemic, will be at Trinity United Church Thursday, Aug. 12 at 7:30 p.m. by donation. You will hear opera arias and art songs with Jay LaFlamme (soprano), Peter Johner (tenor), Denis Letourneau (violin, tenor) and Angela Sommer (piano).

Opera Kelowna visits Vernon Proms with its Opera Under the Stars program of favourite arias and ensembles sung by four, accompanied by Jennifer Tung and lead by Okanagan Symphony Orchestra and Opera Kelowna’s Rosemary Thomson Friday, Aug. 13 at Trinity United, 7:30 pm (tickets are $25 and $30).

The next event is Oh Alfred! – an opera commissioned by the Proms to young Kelowna composer Antony Knight Sunday, Aug. 15 at the Vernon Performing Arts Centre, by donation. Based on George Elliot’s horror novella The Lifted Veil, the plot is spooky and terrifically entertaining.

“It’s funny, it’s thought provoking, it’s dumb, it’s passionate, it’s everything you need in an evening of theatre and it’s in English,” Knight said. “The singers are absolutely fantastic, all of which are fresh graduates of the UBC opera program. Whether you are an opera fanatic or have never seen one before, Oh Alfred! is a great opera for anyone.”

READ MORE: Kelowna composer’s debut opera set for Vernon stage

The festival was kicked off Aug. 6 and 7, with Salmon Arm pianist Jaeden Izik-Dzurko and Partners in Crime Leopold Mozart and Carl Phillip Emanuel Aug. 7 and 8. Vernon’s Duo Accord (Glen Goerzen and Andy Brodie) also performed Aug 8.

A full program of events is available at vernonproms.ca.

“I am sure we all are exhausted with this year’s heat waves, widespread fires, endless smoke, and pandemic. That’s when music and art are indispensable: they can help to heal our tired souls,” Vernon Proms founding and artistic director Natalia Polchenko said. “I am thankful for a plethora of streamed online music offerings. But I am missing live music so much! All the musicians are missing their live audiences as well. I hope that this year’s Proms can bring the much-needed escape from all the latest worries and mark return to normalcy.”

To ensure the most comfortable experience for both performers and the audiences, the organizers chose spacious air-conditioned and well-ventilated venues. All the concert but one will be performed indoors.

“No smoke nor heat are allowed!”

To keep everybody safe, the organizers request everybody to wear a mask until seated and when moving around.

There is an all-inclusive $50 pass for music students to all the ticketed concerts ($260 value).

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The lineup of live music includes opera events in Kelowna and Vernon in August. (Proms Calendar)