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Okotoks venue hosting classic opera performance

Calgary Concert Opera Company partnering with Foothills Philharmonic Opera Chorus to stage Roberto Devereux.
SA-Picnic at the Piano BWC 9122 web
Mezzo soprano Barbara King, pictured giving a performance during Picnic at the Piano on July 27, is bringing the Calgary Concert Opera Company to Okotoks for a performance of "Roberto Devereux" on Sept. 17.

An Okotoks venue is once again playing host to Calgary opera singers.

The Calgary Concert Opera Company (CCOC) will be performing Roberto Devereux, the final chapter in Donizetti’s Tudor Queens Trilogy, on Saturday, Sept. 17 at the Okotoks Alliance Church.

CCOC founding member and mezzo soprano Barbara King has always found Okotoks to be a welcoming stage.

“They’re just so appreciative of what we do and what we bring to them,” King said.

“Every time we show up and perform, the reaction we get is, ‘We want more, we love it.’”

Founded in 2011, the CCOC has been performing in Okotoks since 2012.  

“We wanted to go into the smaller cities and towns so people there can have an opportunity to see opera, hear opera in a smaller venue,” King said. “So it’s more intimate – not everybody can go to Calgary opera at the Jubilee.

“They always want us to come back so we’ve been going there ever since.”

The classic tragic opera is loosely based on titular figure Robert Devereux, who was a member of the court of Queen Elizabeth I and the 2nd Earl of Essex, and depicts his trial for treason against the Queen.

The performance boasts a lineup of seasoned opera singers, including Ernesto Ramirez as Roberto, Cara Lianne McLeod as Elizabetta, Queen of England, King as the Duchess of Nottingham, Bertrand Malo as the Duke of Nottingham, Valentin Borsu as Lord Cecil, Aaron Bartholomew as Sir Gualtiero Raleigh, Oliver Peplowski as a servant of Nottingham and music director William Shookhoff will be on piano.

It will also feature supertitles in English, allowing anglophones to follow along with the Italian lyrics.

Following the passing of Queen Elizabeth II on Sept. 8, King added the performance will be dedicated to her living memory.

The CCOC is joined by the Foothills Philharmonic Society’s Opera Chorus, which is based out of the Alliance Church.

“It’s exciting – the opera chorus is a little bit smaller for this one, but it’s a powerful production,” said society director Tim Korthuis.

“It’s another beautiful musical production for people to get out of the house and have lots of fun.”

The performance runs from 7:30-9:30 p.m. and an additional performance will take place Sept. 19 at Cardel Theatre in Calgary.

Tickets may be purchased at the door or online at

Brent Calver

About the Author: Brent Calver

Award-winning photojournalist for the Okotoks Western Wheel and
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