Chamber Musicians of Kamloops opened the new year last weekend with a huge program devoted entirely to love — L’Amour.
The musicians form a curious mix that could be described as a collective.
As members of the Chamber Musicians of Kamloops Society (CMK), they present to the board ideas for a performance. Several steps later, including working out fees, booking the venue, advertising, printing programs, decorating and putting out refreshments, their event takes place.
The mixing and matching of artists is the great strength of CMK and some unusual combinations appear. Already this season there have been both a mother and son and a father and son performances, which create interesting dynamics for the audience.
Singer Rachel Caspioni, pianist Naomi Cloutier and violinist Cetovar Vutev, were the mix that thrilled a large audience at Kamloops United Church in downtown Kamloops on Jan. 4.
Patrons were treated to many samples of the extraordinary skills of the trio. A special nod to pianist Cloutier, who was able to find just the right feel for each piece. And kudos for her grace when her electronic screen failed.
Back to L’Amour. There were many beautiful touches, such as Caspioni’s props. For the Habanera from Bizet’s Carmen, she came up with a brand new interpretation of the treacherous, man-eating cigarette factory worker. Instead, Caspioni portrayed her as a rural school teacher, like herself, putting passions to paper at the end of a child-filled day. Caspioni opened a journal and began scribbling and singing, with the reinterpretation coming off beautifully.
That song ended the first half of the concert, with began with a Mozart song and included several more serious tunes, as well as three song-like violin/piano duets written by Tchaikovsky, which Vutev and Cloutier turned into magic.
After a lovely chat-with-your-neighbours intermission, Caspioni was back with her props, this time portraying Hannah from Lehar’s The Merry Widow.
“First of all, she is a widow [dons a black fascinator] and she is at a ball [dons a black feather boa] and she is rich [drapes herself with a very glittery necklace].”
She sings of a female tutelary spirit, Vilia, found in Slavic fairy tales. Holding a large picture book, Caspioni read/sang the story.
The program continued with a sprightly Ukrainian dance, the haunting Vocalize of Rachmaninoff, stunning arrangements for violin and piano of songs from Porgy and Bess, a lovely song from Caspioni’s favourite composer, Samuel Barber, and a return of props to re-create the Paris of Edith Piaf.
Non, je ne regrette rien had all of Piaf’s grip on life and provided a terrific ending to the evening.
There are four more events in the Chamber Musicians of Kamloops Society season, each about a month apart. The next concert is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 16. More information can be found on the society’s website at chambermusiciansofkamloops.org.