Soprano Kari Postma and her husband, Victoria Symphony music director Christian Kluxen, are both a part of this weekend’s season finale for the symphony, featuring Wagner’s Lohengrin (Act III), at the Royal Theatre. Don Descoteau/Monday Magazine editor

Musical power couple making the most of operatic reunion

Victoria Symphony maestro Chistian Kluxen and wife, soprano Kari Postma, reunite for season finale

It’s not often that musicians get to perform with their spouse. It’s even more rare when the partners spend much of the year thousands of kilometres apart.

Maestro Christian Kluxen, music director for the Victoria Symphony, and his wife, opera soprano Kari Postma, are relishing the opportunity.

Kluxen leads the orchestra in their season finale this Saturday and Sunday, performances that feature the epic and triumphant third act of Richard Wagner’s renowned opera Lohengrin in the second half. Postma will sing the witch’s part in the late stages of Act III.

“It’s not just nice to be able to work together, it’s that normally when we work we are apart,” Kluxen said over coffee. “I travel on average three weeks per month, so we see each other maybe one week a month, so it’s very nice to be able to just work together sometimes.”

Postma, whose professional work is done largely in Europe – the couple’s permanent home is in Copenhagen – was relishing the fact her part was small, as it has allowed her more time to relax here. She feels very welcomed when she comes to Victoria, this being her fourth visit.

“It kind of feels like home, people are so nice,” she said. “I came here two years ago and immediately felt welcome, almost like it was a family.”

RELATED: REVIEW: Symphony, Jeans ‘n Classics perform jolly good Queen show

As for the concert menu, the shows will open with the Prelude from Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde followed by the glorious and uplifting Symphony No. 7 by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius.

The stage at the Royal will get busy after intermission, when members of the Victoria Choral Society join the orchestra, along with acclaimed soloists Aviva Fortunato (soprano), Cooper Nolan (tenor), Robert Pomakov (bass) and Postma.

Among other passages, Lohengrin (Act III) features the chorus played countless times as brides walk up the aisle. “If they knew, people would think twice about choosing this for their wedding march, because it’s not a love story that ends very well,” joked Kluxen.

The power of the movements, helped by the voices of the chorus, will leave listeners in awe, he added.

“(Lohengrin) … is basically an operatic version of Game of Thrones,” Kluxen said, noting that Wagner was partial to writing on themes of Nordic mythology. “It’s about princesses and princes, knights and witches and power games – and people kill each other … cancel your subscription to HBO and come to this instead.”

The maestro also pointed out that listeners will hear subtle musical references to Lohengrin’s character, a la Star Wars, using a technique Wagner invented called leitmotif, meaning a “short, constantly recurring musical phrase.”

“Every time you hear something about Lohengrin you hear a special theme … the audience is kind of pulled into this world where they start to recognize, without knowing it, Leia’s theme or Luke’s theme,” he said.

Tickets to the Saturday night (8 p.m.) and Sunday afternoon (2:30 p.m.) shows run $33 to $86 and are available at rmts.bc.ca, by phone at 250-386-6121 or at the Royal Theatre box office. Symphony bass trombonist Bob Fraser will host a pre-concert talk in the west lobby of the Royal one hour before the concerts.



editor@mondaymag.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Rifflandia Festival cancelled for 2019

Early Bird tickets can be refunded at point of purchase, or held and redeemed for 2020

Sooke stop for African Children’s Choir

Concert date is June 2 at Sooke Baptist Church

WINE NOTES: 2018 a stellar vintage for many B.C. wines, consultant says

Monday wine columnist Robert Moyes offers up the VQA highlights from the Bloom show

Folk Festival Society promotes value of sharing international cultures with others

Second annual Folktoria brings ethnic dance, foods to Centennial Square, June 8 and 9

Blue Bridge stages modern version of a theatre classic

Ibsen’s The Master Builder touches on aging, feelings of inadequacy, in a contemporary context

WATCH: Maya mixes the ancient with the contemporary at the RBCM

New ‘world-leading’ exhibit offers many pieces not seen before by the public

Expanded bluegrass festival pitches its tent at Laketown Ranch

Former Sooke Bluegrass Festival outgrew previous venue after 16 successful years, organizer says

Special Report: Opioid overdose display gets blessing from the Pope, awaits a city-approved spot

Judith Conway’s large display represents people who have died from opioid overdoses

Mamma Mia! poised to be biggest Chemainus Theatre show ever

Plenty of buzz as Island dinner theatre schedules ABBA-fueled romp

Special Report: Front line work by caring emergency doctors

Dr. Jason Wale uses unique program to help people with addictions in Greater Victoria

Action on climate change a moral commitment: author

Dahr Jamail to speak in Sooke on June 4

Put your love of reading to good use June 1

Bolen Books hosting Summer Readathon to help the Victoria Literacy Connection

Most Read