Four highly trained voices raised together, combining two musical genres into one — that’s Vivace, a Lower Mainland-based vocal ensemble, which blends pop and opera into a genre that blurs musical boundaries and creates something else entirely.
Dubbed “popera,” the style is growing in popularity, but in terms of music history, it is still in its infancy, said Langley’s Tiffany Desrosiers, a member of Vivace.
The ensemble, whose name is Italian for “lively” or “vivid,” puts a classical spin on pop music and takes more traditional opera songs and adds a bit of pop, explained the Langley singer.
Popera is becoming more and more familiar to North American audiences, with the emergence of such acts as Il Divo, the Canadian Tenors and Josh Groban.
But with the inclusion of two female voices, Vivace offers a different spin, said Desrosiers, who is joined by Melody Courage and tenors Marc Devigne and Michael Ciufo.
While both women are sopranos, “Melody takes the highest notes. It’s exciting for the audience,” said Desrosiers.
Like Ciufo, Courage brings a background in opera, while Desrosiers and Devigne add the ensemble’s pop element.
Among the highlights of a Vivace concert, said Desrosiers, is a “four-voice spin” on Christina Perri’s A Thousand Years and the Neopolitan classic O Sole Mio turned into a pop-versus-opera competition.
Nessun Dorma (None Shall Sleep) — an aria from Puccini’s opera, Turandot — is a perennial crowd favourite.
They also perform a version of Unchained Melody that sounds beautiful with four voices, said Desrosiers. In addition to well-known pieces, the ensemble also performs original material.
The four vocalists have performed together since 2010, and as Vivace for the past three years.
Their upcoming Maple Ridge concert marks a return to the Valley for the group, which has been on tour across the U.S., performing in Florida, New York, Tennessee and New Mexico.
At each show, Desrosiers said, the ensemble was pleased by the turnout, adding that, thanks in large part to social media, some audience members travelled for several hours to catch their show.
As she continues to tour and sing with Vivace, Desrosiers is busy building her solo career as well.
The winner of the first Langley Has Talent competition in 2011, she recently completed a cross-Canada radio tour, visiting 40 stations to promote her six-song EP Fearless, which was released three weeks ago.
A video for the title track was released last year.
Desrosiers describes the album as a cross between Celine Dion, Sia and Sam Smith.
“It’s pop songs, more on the ballad end with electronic and classical overtones in the production.”
Although she plans to have some physical copies of the EP made up for sale, the album is available online on all the usual sites, she said.
The May 31 Vivace concert in Maple Ridge begins at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $20, available at the door or by calling 604-813-5256.
Maple Ridge Alliance Church is located at 20399 Dewdney Trunk Rd.
Langley audiences can check out Desrosiers’ solo show live next month, during the Relay for Life on June 12 at McLeod Athletic Park. Her performance is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.
On Saturday, May 30, Vivace will perform with the Chilliwack Symphony Orchestra.
On June 3, Desrosiers is set to perform songs from her Fearless EP during a Camp Choice fundraiser at the Newton Boston Pizza location, 7488 King George Hwy. The event runs from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.