Two of Windsor’s leading cultural organizations – Windsor Light Music Theatre and the Windsor Symphony Orchestra – shared the spotlight at sold-out events over last weekend.
Mamma Mia!, Windsor Light’s fall production – its 136th since 1948 – opened at the Chrysler Theatre to packed houses, and continues with four more shows this Friday through Sunday, Nov. 24-26.
Windsor Symphony unveiled its newest acquisition, a Steinway grand piano, last Saturday at the Capitol Theatre.
Guest pianist Alain Lefevre delivered a flawless performance of Rhapsodie Romantique by the late Quebec composer, Andre Mathieu.
This is a work that has been largely ignored since Mathieu’s death in the 1960s. But Lefevre has been championing it in performances during Canada’s 150th anniversary year. It’s a marvellous melange of colourful musical language that requires virtuoso playing from both the soloist and the orchestra.
While he was compared favourably with Rachmaninoff in his lifetime, Mathieu was all but forgotten until Lefevre took up his cause in recent years.
The new Steinway, with its resonance and shimmering clarity, was the ideal vehicle, and Lefevre, who is one of Canada’s pre-eminent soloists, captured every nuance of the work.
As for Windsor Light’s Mamma Mia!, the audience had to brave cold and wet weather over the weekend, but they were warmed quickly by the familiar music of ABBA.
Under director Chris Hickman, the cast responded with blue-sky enthusiasm.
Janet Dixon-Snaden, as Donna, the Mamma of the title, is a standout in her third appearance with Windsor Light. Her rendition of The Winner Takes It All in the second act, particularly, brought tears to many in the audience last Saturday.
Also outstanding are Elena Holowitz as Sophie and Brian Yeomans as Sam.
Windsor Light has added an extra matinee performance on Saturday, Nov. 25 at 2 p.m., due to high ticket demand. But tickets may still be hard to come by. Check out windsorlight.com just in case.