BWW Interview: Betsy Wolfe Talks Toronto Symphony Debut
Steven Reineke's inaugural year as the Toronto Symphony Orchestra's Principal Pops Conductor continues next week with 'Love Will Keep Us Together', a diverse evening of romantic favourites wrapped up in a glowing, glittering package. Joining him on stage are Tenor Mike Eldred and Soprano Betsy Wolfe, and they will perform love songs from across the decades.
Soprano Betsy Wolfe has performed this particular concert in cities across the country and is thrilled to be coming to Toronto for the first time. She just finished starring in the hit musical The Mystery of Edwin Drood on Broadway, and took a few minutes to talk to BWW about the concert, her musical influences and the joys of dueling with Mike Eldred:
Welcome to Toronto! Is this your first time here?
It is my first time! I've been asked three times before but was always engaged in something else so I was determined to make this work. I know it's a top rate city and I'm beyond excited to go.
Could you give us a bit of a general overview of the programming for Love Will Keep Us Together?
It's all the best love songs throughout the ages. We work our way through all the decades. Steven (Reineke), Mike (Eldred) and I got together and picked some representations of good love songs and we've got everything from ballads to rousing up-tempo stuff. We have material that people will know and also songs that are off the beaten path that I'm confident the audience will fall in love with. It's romantic and energetic.
We've done this specific concert in a few other cities and it's always a huge hit so I'm grateful that they've booked it for Toronto. We make some changes to ensure it's unique for the town we're playing, and we've been rehearsing and have some fun things in store.
You and Mike have a Broadway background, is it mostly showtunes or is it a more eclectic mix?
I think it's a brilliant mix of popular songs from movies, standards from recording artists and Broadway songs. It expands and crashes into several different genres. There's no typical sound that you will hear all night but you will hear classic songs as well as songs from something like Dirty Dancing.
How different it is to perform with a full symphony versus performing in a Broadway show?
The orchestra is a huge part of the show when you're singing with the Symphony. That's not to diminish their role in a Broadway show, but when you are singing directly in front of 90-100 people playing there's just this incredible wall of sound that you can't possible experience in any other form. It's thrilling. I love performing with symphonies and I love how much they're incorporated into this program. They transform the song and make it gorgeous in a whole new way.