Tapestry Opera is set to present the world premiere of “Jacqueline: A Portrait of Virtuosity” starting on Feb. 19, 2020 at the Betty Oliphant Theatre in Toronto, Canada.
The opera, which is written by Royce Vavrek with music by Luna Pearl, tells the story of iconic cellist Jacqueline Du Pré and her battle with the multiple sclerosis that ultimately took her life. The piece is written for soprano and cello with Marnie Breckenridge performing alongside cellist Matt Haimovitz, who will play Du Pré’s own instrument.
The piece’s structure is deeply indebted to Elgar’s famous cello concerto, a piece for which Du Pré was most famous, her interpretation heavily imitated for decades since she first played the work. The opera also includes Haimovitz’s popular recollections of the cellist.
There will be a total of five performances of the work running through the 23rd.
When Matt Haimovitz performs at the world premiere of Tapestry Opera’sJacqueline: a portrait of virtuosity, the audience can anticipate music that resonates with the poignant timbre of the famed cellist’s intimate association with Jacqueline du Pré as her young protégé.
Rising from a young prodigy herself, to peak fame as one of the world’s greatest virtuosi and ultimately succumbing to a tragic finale, English cellist du Pré was recognized in her prime as an exquisitely talented female soloist.
At the heart of du Pré’s life, strings a loving relationship with celebrated pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim that blossomed in Israel. The story goes that in 1967 – while the couple were performing concerts before, during and after the Six-Day War – du Pré felt such an overwhelming connection to Judaism as a musician that she converted to Judaism to marry Barenboim. Tragedy struck in 1971 when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She died at 42 in October 1987 and was buried in the Jewish cemetery in Golders Green in London.
The pieces dives into the real-life struggle between celebrity virtuosic cellist Jacqueline du Pré and the multiple sclerosis that ravaged her body, mind, and talent, robbing her of her identity, her musical gift, and her life.
This intimate piece for soprano and cello brings two contemporary virtuosi to the stage: celebrated American soprano Marnie Breckenridge as Jacqueline, and renowned cellist (and former du Pré protégé) Matt Haimovitz playing du Pré’s only constant companion, her cello.
Jacqueline is inspired by the structure and emotional landscape of Edward Elgar’s Cello Concerto. The form of the work echoes du Pré’s iconic interpretation of the Elgar, using the concerto’s four-movement structure to navigate an all too short life in music.
Cellist Matt Haimovitz and Luna Pearl Woolf who is responsible for this productions’ music joined Mark Wigmore on The Oasis.
Tapestry Opera presents the world premiere of Jacqueline, a story of the battle between a world-famous virtuoso cellist and the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) that took her body and talent, robbing her of her breathtaking musical gift, her identity, and ultimately her life. Jacqueline runs at the Betty Oliphant Theatre from February 19 – 23, 2020.
Considered among the best musicians in the world for her passionate interpretations and flawless technique, du Pré was a trailblazer for female soloists and a rare prodigy. When she began experiencing numbness in her fingers at age 24, her doctor dismissed it as psychological fatigue until she was correctly diagnosed with MS nearly four years later. A harrowing, darkly humourous, and emotionally sensitive exploration of what it means to have a singular talent unravel, Jacqueline journeys through the life and trials of one of classical music’s greatest figures.