Suzanne is a retired public servant working as an actor, a singer on stage and in commercial films. A Victoria native, she comes downtown often to meet her husband Todd for lunch or to volunteer with Pacific Opera Victoria or Dance Victoria. When she’s not performing, Suzanne gardens next to her two cats or works on exciting creative projects in independent film, screenwriting, acting and singing.
In applying to be part of the Downtown Victoria’s “Your Place to Be” storytelling project, she shared this great story and perspective:
“I’ve been on stage at the Royal and the MacPherson theatres as a singer, actor, and dancer on many occasions. On my first Pacific Opéra Victoria (POV) production, La Traviata, 18 years ago, as a new chorus member, I was thrilled to be in the cast immersed in my three favourite hobbies. On the second performance, though, I was all prepped for the stage, having spent an hour or so doing makeup, having my hair arranged, donning an elaborate, full-length period gown, and warming up my voice. As the chorus assembled in the wings for our entry into a massive party scene, we were crammed in like sardines in the tightly confined space, no way out! And I realized I hadn’t changed my shoes! Every detail of my costume was perfect for the period, except for my Birkenstock sandals! I whispered my dilemma to my companion, a veteran chorister. With moments to go, she whispered back, “Make it an adventure!” And voila! My anxiety melted and I danced the scene without a trace of revelation- thankfully the gown was full and floor-length! But, I haven’t had a more comfortable dance scene in all my other performance – there’s nothing like a formed cork sole to comfort the dancer’s feet!
“Being in the chorus of a Pacific Opera Victoria opera is like having the best seat in the house. This little company is an amazing model for defying the odds.
“How marvelous that it has offered world-class productions in a city whose population wouldn’t otherwise support a fully-fledged opera company?
“On stage, I heard and felt the resonant voices of the principal singers, as an immersive experience. I felt the exhilaration of moving and singing en masse to the glorious, inspiring music of the great composers. I loved sharing this great art with Victorians and once my chorus days were over I revel in the audience being swept away by the lavish and moving performances. We are so lucky to have this little opera company that could which is embarking on more outreach to captivate a larger and more age-diverse audience. It’s a thrill to be part of it and to appreciate it from inside and out.
Watch Suzanne’s video: