What joy we experienced on Sunday October 16 when those of us attended the intimate recital by one of the world’s premiere sopranos, Layla Claire who was accompanied on piano by Michael Shannon.
The 1812 Quaker Meeting House, still an active place of worship for the Yonge Street Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), is also a significant historic asset for the Town of Newmarket, and for Canada.
This old Meeting House has required expensive updates to become accessible. The building now has an elevator, accessible washroom and other amenities. Costs of these improvements have been substantial for the Meeting House members, who are gathering support from many sources
One such source has been the generous donation of Layla Claire’s time and talent to provide a fund-raising recital of songs from her most recent recording. Coming from a long ancestral line of Quakers, Layla sang to help raise money as a great-granddaughter of the community. With accompaniment by pianist Michael Shannon, who joined us from the Canadian Opera Company, the event was one of the most intimate classical performances possible.
About Layla Claire
Praised for her colourful, flexible voice and graceful stage presence, Layla Claire has an exciting season of Mozart in 2016-17 including her Salzburger Festspiele debut as Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni; she reprises the role for Opéra de Montréal and in a return engagement with the Opernhaus Zürich. The Canadian soprano made her Metropolitan Opera debut in Don Carlo led by Yannick Nézet-Séguin and has since returned to the Met for several appearances.
Highlights of past opera seasons include a debut at the Festival d’Aix-en- Provence as Sandrina in Mozart’s La finta giardiniera broadcast throughout Europe on ARTE, bringing the soprano immediate European attention. An expressive and experienced concert singer, Layla Claire enjoys an ongoing association with the Boston Symphony Orchestra having performed Mahler’s Second Symphony under both James Levine and Michael Tilson Thomas. Her extensive recital presence on international stages has included programs of art song at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, CBC Glenn Gould Studio, and a multi-city tour of Canada as the winner of the Eckhardt-Gramatte National Music Competition.
About Michael Shannon
Michael Shannon, a native of London, Ontario and music staff member with the Canadian Opera Company, will accompany Ms. Claire on the piano. Most recently, Michael has been engaged by Tapestry Opera, The Banff Centre, University of British Columbia, UWOpera at Western University, The Schulich School of Music and Opera McGill, The Federation of Canadian Music Festivals, The Brevard Music Center, Calgary Opera, Atelier lyrique de I’Opéra de Montréal, and Syracuse Opera. This upcoming 2016/17 season, he joins the COC music staff for The Magic Flute, Tosca, as well as a recital with critically acclaimed American tenor, Issachah Savage.