A romantic mix of French music, ballet and singing will blend together for La Vie en Rose, a unique concert coming to the Chilliwack Cultural Centre in September featuring a young Chilliwack singer.
La Vie en Rose is an original classical concert produced and directed by Tony James of Renee James Productions. It features Grammy Award nominee and international violin virtuoso Pablo Diemecke, renowned British/Canadian pianist Anthony Booker, principal dancers from Ballet Etoile Canada Ashley Evans and Ian Szkolak, and singer/actress Deanne Ratzlaff from Chilliwack.
“La Vie en Rose is a beautifully blended concert that brings Parisian love, passion, beauty and heart to the surface,” says James.
It’ll be the first professional gig for 24-year-old Ratzlaff. She says landing the role as the featured vocalist came at the perfect time.
“I’m ending my university career. I’m starting my professional career. It feels very perfect and I feel very lucky.”
Just this spring Ratzlaff graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of the Fraser Valley (theatre major, English minor). She was performing in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat put on by Gallery 7 Theatre in Abbotsford earlier this year when James who was the guest director for the production first met Ratzlaff.
“I felt Deanne had a good work ethic and that she was eager to step into the professional world,” he says, adding he thought “her presence, personality, and overall talent would make a wonderful addition to the show as a featured vocalist.”
So he spoke with her about La Vie en Rose and asked if she knew how to speak or sing in French.
“I’ll sing whatever language you want.”
Ratzlaff had a bit of French singing under her belt having taken vocal lessons with Paula Quick over the past six years.
“I like everything about singing. It is the purest form of joy. Singing is what makes me the absolute happiest,” she says.
During her years with Quick, Ratzlaff has learned different aspects of her voice, how to use and control her voice and how to sing in different languages including French, Italian and Latin.
“I think the hardest part about singing in French is being able to still convey the message to people that don’t understand French,” says Ratzlaff.
And for those who do need a translation, the lyrics will be printed in English in the concert program.
La Vie en Rose premiered on Vancouver Island in February and now it’s coming to the Fraser Valley for two performances — in Chilliwack on Sept. 13 and in Abbotsford Sept. 14.
The show is built around the talent of violinist Pablo Diemecke and features music by some of France’s most beloved composers. It opens with Ratzlaff singing La Vie en Rose by Louiguy and continues with instrumental pieces, ballet numbers with Evans and Szkolak, and more vocals by Ratzlaff who will be singing a total of four songs.
“I have always enjoyed blending artists of different disciplines together to create something original and special,” says James. “Over the years I have learned that audiences enjoy collaborations very much so this was fitting.”
“When you layer art like this, audiences often take a much more deeper and personal emotional journey. They lose themselves in the art and walk away having had more than just a great evening at the theatre, but an experience,” he adds.
After the two September performances, La Vie en Rose will be taken across the Atlantic to London and Paris in April.
“It’s so exciting, I can’t believe it. It doesn’t feel real,” says Ratzlaff. “It’s such an incredible and amazing opportunity and I feel very, very honoured.”
“La Vie en Rose is about love. It’s two hours where guests can sit back and not only hear great music but watch great artists bring it to life with depth and meaning,” adds James.
La Vie en Rose is at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre Friday, Sept. 13 at 8 p.m. Tickets: VIP $48, adult $40, senior $33, student $23, child (12 and younger) $18. Early bird rate (until Aug. 1) is 10 per cent off. There is also a 10 per cent discount for groups of 10 or more. Tickets available at the Centre Box Office, at chilliwackculturalcentre.ca, or by calling 604-391-SHOW(7469).