Mahan revels in return to SSO stage

“The passion, the music, it’s all heightened. There’s just way more at stake in performance when you’ve been deprived of it for so long.” -Chelsea Mahan

It was only a year ago but to Saskatoon soprano Chelsea Mahan, it feels like a lifetime. Mahan was on stage at TCU Place in front of a packed crowd for the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra’s North American premiere of Materna Requiem. Even the stage was at capacity with soloists a full choir and the entire orchestra. One week later, the world shut down.

“There was so much I took for granted about live music,” says Mahan. “Being in a room with people creating, that feeling you get, the energy of people in a room sharing an experience, I can’t express how empty my life has been without it. I’m so excited to be able to feel that again.”

Mahan will rejoin the SSO for its live stream The Carnival of Venice Saturday Feb. 27 as the guest soloist in a celebration of baroque composers including Marcello Tartini and Vivaldi. It’s a performance that will evoke the stories of Casanova, masked balls and the opulence of Venetian music.

Mahan has been hard at work rehearsing for this performance but like so many mothers right now, with two young daughters under foot, she has to be efficient.

“I always think about Beyoncé getting ready for a stage show running in 5” stilettos on a treadmill singing. If she can do that, I can do this.”

“I have to practice with the kids in the house because there’s nowhere for them to go right now. They are involved in my practicing,” laughs Mahan. “I always think about Beyoncé getting ready for a stage show running in 5” stilettos on a treadmill singing. If she can do that, I can do this. I can get way more done in 20 minutes now than I used to in an hour and a half.”

This performance will also showcase several soloists from within the orchestra’s ranks. Principal Flute Allison Miller, trumpeter Dean McNeill and Principal Oboe Erin Brophey will all be featured.

“It’s great to highlight these talented performers who are right in our midst,” says Music Director Eric Paetkau. “These accomplished musicians will delight the audience with these pieces which take unexpected musical turns. This music is fresh and exciting and it’s really hard to sit still and play.”

Mahan finds a lot of meaning in the pieces she will be performing, words that resonate with her very deeply right now.

“In one part I sing ‘my weeping will turn into joy’ you can’t help but think of where we are right now in time during the pandemic,” she explains. “It speaks to me. One day this will stop and we are going to be happy. It’s ok to cry, rage and feel all those feelings because there is an end in sight.”

Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra

The Carnival of Venice

Saturday Feb. 27


Tickets $20

For more information about the live stream, click here.