It has been a long 16 months since Vancouver Islanders have gathered to enjoy a concert.
But now, until Aug. 2, Pacific Opera Victoria and the Victoria Symphony are thrilled to welcome audiences to an outdoor music festival on the grounds of St. Ann’s Academy on Humboldt Street.
Matthew White, CEO of the Victoria Symphony, says he is pleased that the two organizations came together to make this event happen, and took a risk on a decision of when to hold the festival.
“We’ve been chomping at the bit to get back in front of a live audience, so we’d been checking Dr. Henry’s announcements really religiously, trying to figure out when is the earliest date we could get back in front of people, and we rolled the dice, and felt like the end of July was going to be a pretty good bet.”
“It does give the public a chance to be socially distanced, and still hear beautiful music live,” says Rebecca Hass with Pacific Opera Victoria.
Audiences, says Haas, will see beyond traditional European classical music, explainimg that the event is a celebration of excellence from many traditions and cultures.
“We have the Lekwungen Traditional Dancers opening, I have an answered drum group on the closing, we have the Victoria Conservatory of Music kids who never had a recital this year…the Vancouver Intercultural Orchestra is coming,” says Haas. “There’s a chance to experience music we love from Mozart, Brahms and Beethoven, but also to experience music from other places, and celebrate that as well.”
One of the major sponsors for the Open Air Festival is The Victoria Foundation.
“As you can imagine,” says Hass, “It is quite a financial obligation, after COVID, and no ticket sales, to create an event like this, and we are so grateful to the Victoria Foundation to make it possible to host this beautiful event, and to make it available to so many people. We’ll have free events as well as paid ticket events.”
Open Air: A Summer Festival of Music continues on the grounds of St. Ann’s Academy until Aug. 2.
For more information, please visit www.victoriasymphony.ca.