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A fantastic experience

WSO’s Symphonie Fantastique

WSO conductor Alexander Mickelthwate, performer Simon Miron, and Filipino artist Nereo Eugenio II take a bow after their collaborative performance Hector Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique

by Judianne Jayme

A month ago, on October 18th, 2016 the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra (WSO) took on a different edge to their Impressionist series. Collaborating with Culture Card, the WSO performed Hector Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, an “artist’s fevered dream” featuring a collaboration of local artists in various types of arts while exploring themes of love, creativity, class systems, pain, suffering and loneliness.

Walking into the venue, there was the sound of hip-hop music as youth rappers from the Graffiti Gallery Art Programming and other local artists and performers took to the 2nd floor of the lobby, their musical styles filling the multi-level space, adding another dimension to the appreciation of the arts. This venue also became the spot for The HUB, Culture Card’s premiere networking event and opportunity to showcase local talents and art.

The collaboration of the WSO with Culture Card brought a very diverse crowd – thanks to the pricing packages for those looking to network and attend the multilevel arts party after the symphony experience.

The show, conducted by Alexander Mickelthwate, was a multimedia experience with the live orchestra, actors filmed in a complimenting video sequence, live theatre with the talented Simon Miron, and Filipino artist Nereo Eugenio II performing spoken poetry and live painting. The mix of visuals, sounds and movement made for a truly immersive experience that encompassed art beyond the traditional music that people attending would expect.

As people with wristbands began to congregate on the various levels, music accompanied contemporary dancers while the fashion arts began making an undeniable presence throughout the venue. Models became live mannequins for cosmetic and hair art by Glam and Grace Cosmetics and Aevi Spa Salon Boutique, respectively. The night continued with a fashion show featuring local designers Lennard Taylor Design Inc. and Dediger. The evening included other visual artists such as Pat Lazo and David Oro.

Poetry introduced the themes, while a video paired with live theatre told the plot of the story. Miron then went to include vocal percussion with a looping machine, and his poetry to a beat became more of the rap we heard when entering the venue. The symphony’s powerful playing complemented the blank canvas that Nereo II transformed into art before our eyes.

Miron’s repetition of “my ruin at my own hand” was haunting as we saw the euphoria and tragedies of the emotions at work in this symphonic work of musical art.

The entire experience was a reminder of how intoxicating art can be when experienced altogether.

Thank you for providing us an opportunity to review your event! We look forward to the next one.

Photos by JJ Gill