Brandon University welcomes soprano Elin Rombo for performance, guest lectures

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(Photo by Peter Knutson)

A highly accomplished and internationally renowned School of Music alumna is returning to Brandon University (BU) this month for a performance and a weeklong residency as a guest lecturer.

Swedish soprano Elin Rombo’s unique voice and intelligent interpretations have won acclaim in Europe’s great opera houses. A 1998 BU graduate, Rombo will be in Brandon from February 7 to 13, with a pro series concert and a series of workshops for aspiring performers that are open to the public.

Rombo has sung numerous roles with the Royal Swedish Opera as well as with the Paris Opera, the Berlin State Opera and the Netherlands Opera. She has also performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and toured China, Japan and Singapore with the renowned Swedish choir Orphei Drängar. Following her time at BU, she went on to graduate from the University College of Opera in Stockholm. She received the prestigious Birgit Nilsson Scholarship in 2009 and has been honoured by the King of Sweden, by being named Court Singer in 2016 and by being awarded the medal Litteris et Artibus in 2016 for her contribution to Swedish culture.

The pro series concert, on Saturday, Feb. 11 at 7:30 p.m., in the Lorne Watson Recital Hall, will reunite Rombo with pianist, singer and educator Sharon Rogers, renewing a musical friendship they began as BU students 29 years ago. While studying at BU, they collaborated on a series of concerts in Sweden over three summers. They reunited in 2019 for Brandon’s Augustfest concert series, and again 2022 for a performance at the Villa San Michele in Capri, Italy.

“To be able to reunite with Elin for this concert is very fulfilling for me, especially in the Lorne Watson Recital Hall, where we first performed 29 years ago!” said Rogers, who studied piano and voice at BU, earning bachelor and master’s degrees, and is now a faculty member in voice. “We’re also very pleased and excited that one of our mentors, Professor Robert Richardson, Sr., will join us onstage at the piano this time. I think it’s a lovely illustration of the close-knit community that BU fosters, creating personal and professional connections that last a lifetime.”

A woman smiles

Sharon Rogers (Photo by Capri Photo)

Saturday’s concert will feature art songs by four female composers of the 19th and early 20th centuries, alongside operatic duets and arias in Italian by Mozart and Monteverdi. Works by Nordic composers Elfrida Andrée of Sweden and Agathe Backer Grøndahl of Norway will be followed by selections in French and German by Lili Boulanger and Clara Schumann.

“The songs Elin and I have chosen explore a diversity of human experiences and emotions, embracing euphoria, nostalgia, love, and loss,” Rogers said. “Throughout, the theme of nature as a mirror for human emotion, or as a haven for peace and solace, features prominently.”

Rombo will also collaborate with BU Assistant Professor of Voice Sarah Hall as lecturer-in-residence, sharing her perspectives and expertise. Rombo will give private lessons to BU voice students and provide insights of a dynamic performer with a busy operatic and concert career through a question-and-answer session, masterclasses, workshops and a lecture that are open to the public.

“Elin is an incredible artist and a wonderful ambassador for the School of Music,” said Greg Gatien, Dean of Music at BU.

“We’ve followed her international success with great pride, and we’re thrilled to welcome her back to share her stunning voice and her insightful experiences with our students and our community.”

The School of Music gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the pro series by the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Manitoba Arts Council.

Please note that seating in the Lorne Watson Recital Hall is limited and that programs are subject to change. For an up-to-date listing of pro series and student performances, please visit Events.BrandonU.ca/Events/Category/Music.

Please contact the School of Music at Music@BrandonU.ca with any accessibility considerations.

Schedule of Events:

February 7      4—5:15 p.m.   Welcome Session and Q&A with Elin Rombo (Music Building, Room 2-02)

February 9      5:15—7 p.m.   Masterclass: Acting the Aria (Lorne Watson Recital Hall)

February 9        7:30—9 p.m.  Opera Workshop: Working with Text and Movement (Music Building, Room 1-20)

February 11    7:30 p.m.       Pro Series Recital with Sharon Rogers, piano (Lorne Watson Recital Hall)

February 12    1:30—4 p.m.   Masterclass/Workshop: Making an Art Song into a Play (Lorne Watson Recital Hall)

February 13    1:40—2:30 p.m. Lecture: Performing Under Pressure (Music Building, Room 2-02)

(BU News Release)