A current and former SMUS student took to the stage this week for the Pacific Opera’s production of Thaïs. Grade 11 student Andy Erasmus and alumna Kathryn Humphries ’03 both play a part in the performance, which tells the tale of a wealthy courtesan converted to religion by a monk who is passionately in love with her.
This is Andy’s second appearance in a Pacific Opera production and the tenth production he’s been involved in since he performed in his first opera in Grade 7. It was through the Summer Vocal Academy offered by the Victoria Conservatory of Music that Andy worked with both the executive and artistic director of Thaïs, who later offered him his role as Solo Monk #3.
“Everyone I work with is amazing and they all have tons of experience,” says Andy. For him, part of the appeal of opera comes from the opportunity to work with people who are enthusiastic about the art and who come from all over the world to perform.
Opera also carries an international feel because most operas are performed in the language in which they were originally written. Thaïs, which premiered at the Paris Opéra in 1894, is performed in French. Over the past five years, Andy has sung opera in several languages, including Latin, Spanish and German.
Though his plans aren’t settled, Andy intends to pursue music in some form after graduation and is certain that he will pursue opera as much as he can.
“Classical singing is my favourite,” says Andy. “I just love the style of singing – it’s the most challenging.”
Kathryn ’03 graduated from Acadia University last year with a BMus in vocal performance and attended summer vocal academies in Italy and France. She’s now in her second season singing with the Pacific Opera Victoria’s chorus.
The SMUS community may remember her performances in the school’s productions The Wiz and Cabaret. Her father, Jake Humphries, is Andy’s Grade Advisor.
“I am in many scenes with Kathryn Humphries, one of which we get quite close in,” says Andy. “She’s very friendly. Although, I am not looking forward to seeing Mr. Humphries the day after he sees the show – just kidding… kind of.”