Tour de Force

Date and Venue Saturday, May 16, 2015 at 7:30pm | Marpole United Church, 1296 West 67th Ave.

Costumes Sandra Ko Lighting Design Sara Smith Sound Tech Colin Jones Performers Jacqueline Ko soprano, Robin Eder-Warren soprano, Kyle Preston Oliver baritenor, Chris Feige piano

Reviewer John Jane

Opera Mariposa routinely present benefit concerts. Tour de Force honours International Awareness Week for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia and other chronic neuro-immune diseases. Part of the money that patrons pay through ticket sales is generously donated to the National ME/FM Action Network, thus supporting people who suffer from these invisible illnesses.

Tour de Force offered a potpourri of some spell-binding moments directly from the ‘Great White Way.’ Sopranos Jacqueline Ko and Robin Eder-Warren plus baritone-tenor Kyle Preston Oliver brought us an awe-inspiring repertoire from composers like Stephen Sondheim, Stephen Schwartz and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

The show began with “Getting Married Today” from Sondheim’s Company, a selection that introduced all three performers to the audience. Excerpts from such musical fare as a delightfully over-the-top performance of ”Glitter and be Gay” by Robin Eder-Warren and a scornful rendition of “The Ladies who Lunch” by Jacqueline Ko followed.

A surprising exception to musical theatre showstoppers was “The Girl in 14G” written by Jeanine Tesori for Kristin Chenoweth about a girl who can’t beat ‘em, so she joins ‘em – in singing.

The singers didn’t just sing these phenomenal songs – they performed them. With help from some imaginative costumes, the trio of artists brought memorable moments right off the Broadway stage.

Jacqueline Ko handled the more melodramatic tunes with attitude. Taking on the character of Elphaba (without the green skin), her interpretation of “No good deed goes unpunished” surely defined the distinction between good and evil. Ms Ko showed her lighter side joining Kyle Preston Oliver in a tongue-in-cheek performance of the darkly comical “A Little Priest” from Sweeny Todd.

Many of these tunes have complex structures, so Chris Feige deserves kudos for providing single-handed accompaniment on piano.

The show ended with Ko, Eder-Warren and Oliver delivering a cheerful rendition of “The song that goes like this” from Spamalot and an inspirational encore performance from Jacqueline Ko of Stephen Sondheim’s survivalist song “I'm Still Here” from the musical Follies.

© 2015 John Jane