Forget Les Miserables at the movie theatre. Nothing compares to hearing Mr Les Miz in person! Canada’s premier musical tenor, Michael Burgess, is slated to perform on Saturday August 3, at 7 pm at the Oliver Bandshell, brought to you by the Oliver Community Arts Council. Really? Truly? Yes.
A small number of early-bird tickets will be sold to generate funds necessary to cover upfront expenses. They are already selling like hotcakes, so contact the arts council to reserve yours fast. They will be sold for the unbelievably (non-refundable) low price of $20 each, a steal when Burgess commands tickets for three to five times that price.
Regular advance tickets, at $25 apiece, will be sold at local vendors once the first 100 early birds are gone. Ticket price at the door will be $35. Stay tuned for the announcement of vendors in Oliver, Osoyoos, and Penticton,
Early bird tickets can be purchased from committee members Bernice Myllyniemi, Penelope Johnson, Mary Fry and Stephanie Salsnek. Contact olivercac @ gmail.com and include in your request the number of tickets and preferred payment. Credit card payment can also be received directly by calling Paw Prints Studio and Gallery at 250.498-4732
A popular singer, tenor, and actor, Michael Burgess was born in Saskatchewan but raised in Toronto. He made his professional debut in The Fantasticks (Edmonton 1968), but came to national prominence as Jean Valjean in the long-running original Canadian staging of Les Misérables (1989-92). Later, he was Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha (Edmonton 1992, Toronto 1993), and appeared in the musicals Ten Lost Years, Blood Brothers, The Fantasticks, and Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris. He created the role of Victor Frankenstein in the world premiere of Frankenstein . . . Do You Dream (Hamilton, 1 Nov 2003), and of Sound Man in Brian Finley’s Rapunzel (Westben Arts Festival, 10 Jun 2005).
Although without extensive opera training, Burgess sang his first opera role in 1974 (La Bohème, at Toronto’s Dell Cabaret Theatre), and has sung for Dallas Civic Opera, Western Opera Theatre, San Francisco Opera, and Virginia Opera. As Captain Corcoran, he performed in HMS Pinafore for the Stratford Festival in 1981. He was tenor soloist in Messiah with the Bach Elgar Choir (1996), and MacHeath in The Beggar’s Opera for Edmonton’s Citadel Theatre (1995).
Perenially popular among show-tune aficionados for his solo pop concerts and soulful yet virile demeanour, Burgess has toured extensively in Canada (often accompanied by Doug Riley), and has performed with the Vancouver, Edmonton and Winnipeg symphony orchestras and the Calgary Philharmonic. His signature song is “Bring Him Home” from Les Misérables made doubly famous beyond the theatre world when Kurt Browning used his version to perform in the 1990 World Figure Skating Championships.
He is also known in Canada for his frequent vocal performances of national anthems. Hockey fans are sure to have heard his heartfelt renditions that blow the roof off the stadium. Burgess was also the first individual to sing “O Canada” at the baseball World Series, in Atlanta in 1992
The Vancouver Sun praised Burgess’s “intense performance” as Jean Valjean: “Burgess is exquisitely moving when he sings the show’s one beautiful song, ‘Bring Him Home’ . . . .” (26 Jul 1990). Maclean’s said, “Burgess is an affecting Valjean: a solid masculine presence whose soaring spirit is captured by a pulsing tenor” (27 Mar 1989). Burgess holds the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal. and recently was presented with the Order of Ontario.
Burgess performed last summer in Penticton, with 3000 in attendance. Tickets to another concert scheduled for this summer have already sold out — within days,, and at much higher prices. Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hear the glorious tenor which is … Michael Burgess.