Shining a light: Toward Tomorrow Jacqueline Ko in Toward Tomorrow. Photo: Diamonds Edge Photography.

Shining a light: Toward Tomorrow

Melissa Ratcliff

Toward Tomorrow marks the 6th year that Opera Mariposa has been putting on this series of fundraising recitals. The events are designed to raise funds and awareness for ME:FM, that is Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) and Fibromyalgia (FM), one of which (ME) Mariposa founder Jacqueline Ko lives with.

The recital is a selection of Ko’s favourite musical pieces, interspersed with the story of Ko’s illness, diagnosis, and the setbacks she’s suffered over the years as a result of having an invisible illness. The result is a program that is intensely personal, and full of emotion.

Jacqueline Ko and Brittony LeFever in Toward Tomorrow. Photo: Diamonds Edge Photography.

Sopano Jacqueline Ko was joined by guests tenor Lyndon Ladeur, mezzo-soprano Brittony LeFever, and Nina Horvath on piano in a program that ran the gamut from opera, to contemporary musical theatre, to art song, from Donizetti to Dear Evan Hansen, and the music was brought together by Ko’s touching story.

Ko’s rendition of Yentl’s “Papa, Can You Hear Me?” and “A Piece of Sky” were both touching and fraught with emotion to open and close the show. Her aria “Elle a fui, la tourterelle” had wonderful moments of pathos, and her floated high notes were bright and brilliant.

Lyndon Ladeur in Toward Tomorrow. Photo: Diamonds Edge Photography.

Ladeur’s selections were very varied, and included “Lonely House” from Weill’s Street Scene, “Una furtiva lagrima” from L’elisir d’amore, and “Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön” from The Magic Flute, among others. Ladeur navigated some very difficult tonalities with great precision, while being both intense and passionate, and quiet and delicate in equal measure. His rendition of Strauss’ “Allerseelen” was powerful and gripping, with a sonorous bright sound, and his “Una furtiva lagrima” was soaring and effortless, with a beautiful cadenza and full of heartfelt emotion.

Nina Horvath in Toward Tomorrow. Photo: Diamonds Edge Photography.

Ko and LeFever performed a duet of “Dear Theodosia” from Hamilton, a duet originally written for 2 male voices, but sung with warmth and intensity by the pair. I don’t know if the world is ready for a gender-bent Hamilton, but I’ll be there when it happens. I’d never heard this duet sung by women, but it’s a great selection and is a touching piece for this program.

Nina Horvath on the piano played very skillfully and with great sensitivity across a huge range of styles, navigating some difficult pieces with subtlety and precision.

The program was an emotional journey, and the cause is one that we should all support. With so many musicians living with illnesses both visible and invisible, it’s great to shine a light on those who we don’t always see.

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