Suzie LeBlanc replaces Emma Kirkby for Nov. 19 concert and masterclass

Soprano Suzie LeBlanc, one of Canada's foremost specialists in the music of the baroque and classical periods, will replace Dame Emma Kirkby in a Nov. 19 concert and masterclass in Kelowna.

"We learned over the weekend that Dame Kirkby will not be able to travel to Canada due to illness," says Manuela Ungureanu, organizer of UBC Okanagan's Minds and Music concert series. "In Ms. Kirkby's place, Suzie LeBlanc will complete the scheduled tour of Western Canada, including the concert and masterclass here in Kelowna."

On Nov. 19, LeBlanc will perform a baroque program accompanied by Sylvain Bergeron (lute) and Luc Beausejour (harpsichord) starting at 4 p.m. at First Lutheran Church, 4091 Lakeshore Road, in Kelowna.

LeBlanc – who in addition to touring the world also teaches baroque singing and performance practice at the University of Montreal's Faculty of Music – will lead a 1.5-hour master class in the early evening. Selected for the masterclass are voice students Jenavieve Moore and Chelsea Sauer from the South Okanagan, and Dorothy Neufeld Marshall and Elaina Moreau from the Central Okanagan.

Ungureanu said she is disappointed that music lovers will not hear Dame Kirkby in the Okanagan this year. "But we are thrilled to welcome another of the world's great sopranos, and a Canadian treasure in Suzie LeBlanc," she said. "We're sure our Okanagan audience will find this performance a marvelous experience – and that the four voice students selected for the masterclass will learn a great deal from Ms. LeBlanc."

In addition to her performance in Kelowna later this month, LeBlanc's 2007-2008 season is highlighted by performances as soprano soloist in Messiah with the Detroit and Toronto symphonies. She will be heard with the Victoria Symphony in a Bach programme conducted by Yannick Nezet-Seguin, with the Grand Philharmonic Choir of Kitchener in Bach's Johannes Passion, also with Orchestre Metropolitan du Grand Montreal.

Audience tickets for the performance and master class are $23, and are available for purchase through Ticketmaster. Tickets already purchased for the Dame Kirkby concert may be returned to Ticketmaster for refund, or kept and used for the Leblanc performance and masterclass. Proceeds from the Nov. 19 event and any donations will go towards the purchase of a baby grand piano for the UBC Okanagan campus.

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