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Chamber Players of Canada bring Kathleen Battle to Ottawa

By Peter Robb, Click here for original article on

OTTAWA — The annual Christmas concert by the Chamber Players of Canada is usually one of those events pencilled into one’s musical calendar. But this year, it promises to be something special.  The players will appear with one of the great sopranos of the age, Kathleen Battle, on Dec. 21.  The concert will raise funds for CHEO and initiatives for youth by the Music and Beyond festival.

Battle is a five-time Grammy winner, and her repertoire ranges from the Baroque era to today. Her voice has been called “ … without qualification, one of the very few most beautiful in the world” by the Washington Post.Her mark has been particularly made in opera, where she has handled Handel and Strauss; Rossini and Donizetti. She is also highly regarded as a recital soloist.  Battle is also not afraid to venture into jazz and gospel.

The soprano has worked with Chamber Players Artistic Director Julian Armour before. She performed at the very first Music and Beyond festival in 2010 and “she had a great time,” Armour said.When it came to putting the Christmas concert together, Armour thought, “who would be the best singer I could possibly get?” and he struck upon Battle. “I just tried it.” The date was free and she signed up.

Once Battle was on board, Armour consulted with some folks in the business community to line up sponsors to cover the fees and raise money for some good causes. The idea in the end was “go big or go home.”

Battle supports youth music education, and that no doubt helped convince her to join a project in which the funds raised go to help children.  The links to music and medicine will be further enhanced with a performance by Dr. Fraser Rubens, a cardiac surgeon at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute who is also a well-regarded trained tenor.

There is a connection between this concert and Music & Beyond next summer, when that festival will bring out the links between music and health, Armour says. “We are trying to get health more integrated with music.”

The concert is at Dominion-Chalmers United Church, 355 Cooper St., on Dec. 21 at 7:30 p.m. On the same bill are the Ottawa Regional Youth Choir, the Capital Chamber Choir and the Nepean High School Choir.

The Chamber Players of Canada will include Canadian Opera Company concertmaster Marie Bérard; violinist Jeremy Mastrangelo; violist Guylaine Lemaire; cellist Armour; double bassist Hilda Cowie, and harpsichordist Marie Bouchard. The concert will feature music by Torelli, Vivaldi, J.S. Bach, Liszt, Tchaikovsky, David Rose, John Ireland and seasonal favourites.

Tickets are $40, $60 and $100 for adults, and $30 for students. Special fundraising tickets that include a reception and a tax receipt are $400. Tickets are available in advance at venues including CD Warehouse, Compact Music, The Leading Note, Books on Beechwood and the Music and Beyond/Chamber Players of Canada’s office at 51 William St. Fundraising tickets are only available through Music and Beyond and the Chamber Players of Canada. Tickets are also available online at and

More information can be found at

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