“The joyous spirit of music-making shows no bounds as mezzo-soprano Vilma Indra Vitols and pianist Dzintra Erliha soar and dazzle in this collection commemorating the 90th anniversary of the late Latvian Canadian composer Talivaldis Kenins.

Vitols is a familiar voice on the Toronto music scene, especially for her work with urbanvessel in SLIP and Voice-Box. She has incredible clarity of diction that only her diverse vocal colour can outshine. Latvian Erliha is brilliant especially when the programmatic nature of the works require her to draw on strength of technique and subtle musicianship to create the appropriate backdrop of mood to the vocal lines.

There is a little of bit everything in the contemporary Canadian and Latvian works performed. The songs by Erik Ross, John Hawkins and Imant Raminsh are strong. Latvian Peteris Vasks' piano solo is a tour de force in programmatic music while his settings of Latvian folk songs (with additional flute and cello) are brief yet cunning. The real star however is Talivaldis Kenins himself. His settings of two Latvian folksongs are colourful yet deeply rooted in traditional song. Melodies for Amanda (1984) comprise five bubbly songs written for the birth of the composer's first granddaughter. Lots of characteristic Kenins wit is apparent in the performance of these light-hearted and loving works.

"Bridge Across the Seas" is a glorious release. What a wonderful tribute!”

Bridge Across the Seas CD Review
Tiina Kiik, Wholenote

 

“Vilma has an amazing combination of gifts.  She has a gorgeous voice that is both rich and agile.  She is an intelligent and exciting musician, and a compelling actor.  She has spectacular diction, and a strong sense of text, both emotionally and intellectually.  Altogether, working with her is a great joy!”

Mary McGeer, Artistic Director
Talisker Players Chamber Music

 

“She’s fantastic... Possibly the most astute and talented singer, and actor, I’ve ever worked with.“

Kate Hutchinson, Director
The Diana Cantata, Modern Baroque Opera

 

“When Vilma is on stage, there is no question about who is in control. At times heartbreaking, always fiercely compelling, Vilma is a true artist - committed and courageous, with one of our country's great mezzo voices.“

Gregory Oh
Toca Loca

 

“There are few things better than walking into a club and hearing Vilma Vitols singing Weill/Brecht during her sound check.“

Peter Janes, Petroglyphs
C’est What cabaret

 

“Sometimes facing each other just inches apart, like the Inuit throat singers [Heidi] Klann and Vitols gave powerful performances, their gorgeous voices making every atom in the Church of St. George the Martyr ring.  Deeply physical, sometimes erotic, sometimes sounding like wild birds...”

“...what you soon started to focus on was the sensuality of... sound...  Bravo to Vitols... for making us feel that she really was reading from the book.”

Tamara Bernstein, National Post
The Composer Now, Toca Voca

 

“Lyrical, vocally elegant, but humble was soloist Vilma Indra Vitols’ “Prayer” in the middle section of the cantata.”

Gunta Plostniece, Laiks (translated from Latvian)
XII Latvian Song Festival Canada, Roy Thomson Hall

 

“Vilma Indra Vitols had selected a very interesting solo program.  “Evening Bells“  was a standout with its dramaticism and beautiful piano dynamic in the song’s closing section.“

“Here finally was an opportunity to hear rarely performed excerpts from Alfrēds Kalniņš opera Baņuta by one of our own singers.  The singer’s artistry and stage presence magnificently revealed the dramatic natures of the opera’s lead roles – Baņuta and Maiga…highlighted by her dramatic solo presentation and vocal phrasing.“

“Vitols‘ flexible voice demonstrated her vocal dexterity in contemporary music’s compiex sound palette.“

Helēna Gintere, Latvija Amerika (translated from Latvian)
Latvian Concert Association Recital, Glenn Gould Studio

 

“The page Cherubino — the ubiquitous, shape-shifting spirit of Eros — was incarnated by Vilma Indra Vitols.  Her androgynous looks and vibrant mezzo voice were perfect for the cross-dressing part.“

Tamara Bernstein, Globe and Mail
The Marriage of Figaro, University of Toronto

 

“...Peggy Kriha Dye, Krisztina Szabó and Vilma Vitols as the Three Ladies.  Not only do their voices blend beautifully but their continuing rivalry for Tamino’s attentions is genuinely funny for a change.“

Christopher Hoile, Principal Reviewer for Stage Door
The Magic Flute, Opera Atelier

 

“...mezzo-soprano Vilma Vitols made a suitably powerful impression as a warrior nymph and as Vénus.“

Robert Everett-Green, Globe and Mail
Persée, Opera Atelier

 

“...ably supported by Jennie Such and Vilma Vitols, hysterically funny as subordinate witches.”

Leslie Barcza, www.drama.ca
Dido and Aeneas, Opera Atelier

 

“Vilma Indra Vitols displays lovely colour in her singing voice as... Polly’s rival Lucy.“

Louise Phillips, Vancouver Courier
The Threepenny Opera, Vancouver Opera Association

 

“Toronto’s Vilma Indra Vitols debuts as a wonderful Olga.”

Grania Litwin, Times Colonist
Eugene Onegin, Pacific Opera Victoria
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