Camelot comes to Victoria

Pacific Opera Victoria (POV) and the Victoria Symphony present Camelot in Concert at the Royal Theatre in Victoria on Nov. 22-23. The magical tale, which follows King Arthur and the forbidden love of his wife, Queen Guinevere, and knight, Sir Lancelot, this show blends a theatrical musical with the rich sounds of a full symphony on stage.

The director, Jacques Lemay, has been working in musical theatre for over 35 years, directing and choreographing many POV performances. “I play many roles. I am a man of many hats. I’ll go into a company and choreograph, or do movement, or stage a fight because I also do stage combat.”

The play was originally based on T.H. White’s novel The Once and Future King. “The difference is that this is in concert, so it’s an adaptation. We’ve cut two scenes out of the production that I felt were unnecessary for our purpose.”

For those familiar with theatre productions, this might seem a little different due to the operatic elements. With a reasonably bare stage, “the audience sort of fills in the blanks but the story is still the same. The majority of the dialogue is still there.”

The orchestra will also be present on stage for this production, getting incorporated into the setting. “Normally you will have 18 musicians, but with the orchestra here we have the full symphony on stage.”

The 1960 Tony award-winning Broadway musical swept the U.S. with a top selling LP recorded by the original cast. “People will remember a lot of the songs. We have a wonderful cast and I’m really thrilled about that.”

Unlike previous versions of this musical, this performance has a cast of fully-trained opera singers such as David Ludwig (Arthur), Rachel Fenlon (Guinevere), and Aaron St. Clair Nicholson (Lancelot). “In the past, quite often, the characters were played by actors who could sort of sing, but they were not singers… it’s a better production than when it was done originally.”

When asked what he hoped audiences would take away from the production, Lemay reflected on the character of King Arthur: “He is a dreamer. He created this world where peace, love, and harmony reign but he faced turmoil and hardship. At the end of the play, he regains his hope in the face of a young man who has come to fight with the Knights of the Round Table. He hopes for a better future. A new hope in the next generation hoping to accomplish what we haven’t been able to accomplish in our lifetime.”

The Victoria Symphony and POV are presenting student rush tickets for $15 at the door for Nov. 23. Regular tickets are $40-90 and are available online through www.rmts.bc.ca or can be found at the Royal McPherson Box Office at 250-386-6121.

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