The Peterborough Symphony Orchestra presents A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Showplace on November 7, featuring the music of Mendelssohn with narration by Linda Kash and a performance by soprano Melody Thomas[/caption]
This season, classical stars come home to play with the Peterborough Symphony Orchestra (PSO). Actor Linda Kash and soprano Melody Thomas join the PSO at Showplace Performance Centre on Saturday, November 7th at 7:30 p.m. for the whimsical A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Both women are long-time Peterborough area residents with particularly strong connections to the region and its arts community.
Linda Kash started her career at Second City in Toronto. She has performed in and directed several Canadian television shows, and has appeared in a number of plays for the Canadian stage. Linda has had parts on popular Hollywood sitcoms, and is well known for her role as the Kraft Philadelphia Cream Cheese angel. She was an ongoing morning co-host of the former Magic 96.7 FM radio station.
In 2009, Linda founded the Peterborough Academy of Performing Arts with her late husband, actor Paul O’Sullivan. Through the school, Linda and Paul wanted to give Peterborough residents a chance to learn performing arts skills from professionals. It also allowed the couple to work close to home.
They were very active together in the Peterborough arts community until Paul’s death in May 2012. As a result, Linda received a tremendous outpouring of support at that difficult time, which helped her through her grief.
Linda continues to thrive in Peterborough. This season she is directing a cottage version of Love It or List It for the W Network and in the new year she will direct a local production of The Wool Gatherer.
Speaking of the Peterborough area as a place to pursue the arts, Linda says, “It’s a great place to be creative. It’s inclusive and full of passion.”
“Peterborough gave me a chance to captain my own ship,” she continues. “In a larger market, I’m not sure I would have had the same opportunities. Or the same courage, frankly. But by taking a leadership role here, I pushed the envelope of what I could accomplish. I was and continue to be welcomed by every aspect of the arts here.”
Linda is thrilled to participate with the PSO, one of Peterborough’s longstanding arts organizations. At A Midsummer Night’s Dream, she will bring a dramatic twist to the concert with her narration from the Shakespeare play that captured composer Felix Mendelssohn’s imagination as a child and inspired him to create perhaps the most famous incidental music of all time.
“To me, Shakespeare is a foreign language that is meant to be understood by everyone. It is an incredible workout for the brain, the mouth, the ear, the heart,” Linda explains.
She notes that this type of concert presents the challenge of staying integrated with the music while speaking text. “But it is a whole lot of fun!”
Joining Linda and the PSO in A Midsummer Night’s Dream is another wonderful local talent, soprano Melody Thomas. Melody grew up in Peterborough and attended the Integrated Arts Program of the former Peterborough Collegiate and Vocational School. She received an Honours Bachelor of Music from the University of Toronto and an Opera Diploma from Wilfrid Laurier University.
Melody lives in Peterborough and teaches voice lessons at Lakefield College School. She also maintains a full studio of private students and performs regularly. She has had a lot of recent success, but Melody’s artistic and life journeys have sometimes been precarious ones.
As a teenager facing the typical strains of completing high school and preparing for university, she was homeless for a period of time. It was Melody’s family within the Peterborough arts community who helped her through this challenge. They gave her the support she needed to succeed at high school, then two post-secondary school programs.
Melody’s personal experience has given her a sensitive perspective on the type of community member she wants to be. Melody describes her personal goal as “being the person I needed when I was younger,” which means paying forward her good fortune however she can to those around her. Peterborough is obviously very important to Melody.
“Our arts community is one of Peterborough’s greatest assets,” she says. Her talent has flourished here and she feels strongly that Peterborough is the perfect launch pad from which to propel her career.
Melody is pleased to sing with the PSO on November 7th. Of all of Shakespeare’s works, A Midsummer Night’s Dream is the one Melody prefers — especially because of the music it inspired.
She has enjoyed getting acquainted with Mendelssohn’s composition for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and she will have another chance to perform Mendelssohn when she sings with the Cathedral Bluffs Orchestra in the new year.
Tickets for A Midsummer Night’s Dream are available from Showplace (290 George St. N., Peterborough, 705-742-7469) or online at www.showplace.org. Tickets begin at $28.50 for adults and are $15 for post-secondary school students. High school students with school identification can purchase a $5 ticket.
The concert begins at 7:30 p.m., but ticket holders are invited to attend the “Meet the Maestro” pre-concert chat at 6:40 p.m. with Michael Newnham, the PSO’s Music Director and Conductor.