Opera singer Eve Daniell has performed with the Victoria Symphony, at London’s Royal Albert Hall and in private concert for the Queen of England, but she admits she didn’t really get opera the first time she attended Pacific Opera Victoria as a child.
“I was always a bit on the edges. I enjoyed singing it but whenever I went to watch it I felt like I just didn’t quite understand it,” said the Duncan-born, Cowichan Valley-raised soprano.
“But I just kept persevering and exposing myself and I found the more I could understand what was going on, the more and more I could get drawn into it and appreciate it.”
Daniell was drawn to the challenges of opera: reaching the high and low notes, nailing the foreign-language tongue-twisters and portraying characters, all while pushing to be heard over an orchestra. “The more technical, the more demanding, the more difficult, the better,” she said.
Her interest in opera led her to London’s Royal Academy Opera program, which she completed in 2016. Daniell now splits her time between the U.K. and Vancouver Island and in July she’s back home for the first time in months to tour the Island. On July 15 Daniell and pianist Rykie Avenant perform at St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Nanaimo.
“It’s just so nice to bring home what I garnered so far and what I’ve worked on and learned and come and share it with the home crowd and … just kind of start to bring those two worlds, my two worlds, closer together,” she said.
Daniell and Avenant will perform pieces by German composer Richard Strauss, Irish composer Herbert Hughes and French composers Reynaldo Hahn and Claude Debussy.
“I love the emotional depth of the Strauss and I love the lush chords and sound of his work,” Daniell said.
“The Venezia cycle [by Hahn], it’s utterly charming. It’s got all of the fun of the cheeky Italian waltz mixed with the challenge of classical music and I think it marries those two worlds in a really fun way.”
While her first exposure to opera was confusing, Daniell said she’s now an “avid” viewer of the art form. She often invites uninitiated friends to concerts despite opera’s esoteric reputation.
“There’s so much more to connect with than one might fear there is if they haven’t been yet,” she said.
“On the other hand, I think classical music as we know it is centuries old and perhaps if people haven’t found what era of that they like yet, they just need to trust that it doesn’t mean that there’s [nothing] there for them. It just means they haven’t found it yet.”
WHAT’S ON … Eve Daniell performs at St. Paul’s Anglican Church on Sunday, July 15 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $25, $15 for students and available by calling 250-753-2523 or online here.