Join us at the SPRINGWORKS FESTIVAL in Stratford
on May 9 & 10, 2015
OUT OF UKRAINE
Irena Welhasch Baerg & Theodore Baerg
“A musical journery across continents, times and genres with two consummate artists . . .”
SATURDAY, MAY 9, 2015 – 12:30 PM
SUNDAY, MAY 10, 2015 – 9:30 PM
Location: Stratford City Hall Auditorium, 1 Wellington Street, Stratford
Irena Welhash Baerg and Theodore Baerg share traditional folk songs and concert, operatic and musical theatre favourites from around the world.
Soprano Irena Welhasch Baerg and her husband, Baritone Theodore Baerg, were both born in North America of Ukrainian Immigrant parents. They have had the privilege during their lengthy concert and operatic careers of also presenting some wonderful compositions from the vast classical Ukrainian vocal repertoire, which is virtually unknown in Canada and the United States.
Irena’s love for the language, poetry and music of Ukraine helped Ted become familiar with this important part of his Ukrainian Mennonite history. Together they share a passion for performing this beautiful, soulful music.
Irena Welhasch Baerg
Winnipeg-born soprano Irena Welhasch Baerg has enjoyed a wonderful career in opera, concert and musical theatre. Whether in the title role of Dvorák’s Rusalka or as Mimì in La Bohème, the power and poetry of her performances are undeniable. She starred as Blanche in Les dialogues des Carmélites for the Canadian Opera Company. Ms. Welhasch Baerg’s European debut was with L’Opéra de Nice for Mélisande in Pelleas and Mélisande. Her career has included appearances with Canadian opera companies from Montreal to Victoria and many in the United States including a heralded production of La Bohéme with San Diego Opera. In a lighter vein, she has been heard in Gershwin and Viennese evenings from coast to coast in Canada. National Arts Centre audiences have seen her in the title role of Lehár’s operetta Die Lustige Witwe, a role she also sang at the Calgary Opera and for the Canadian Opera Company National Tour. Ever open to new challenges, Ms. Welhasch Baerg appeared for several years as the temperamental Prima Donna Carlotta Giudicelli in the Toronto production of The Phantom of the Opera. She has appeared with the orchestras of Washington, D.C., Ottawa, Québec City and Winnipeg in programs of Verdi, Mahler, Richard Strauss, Beethoven and Brahms. Her discography includes an art song recording, La Mystique D’Amour, and Songs My Mother Taught Me. Irena has been engaged in the past summers to be a master teacher in Italy, in Brazil and across Canada.
Ms. Welhasch Baerg’s students have been engaged by opera companies and professional young artist programs.
Ted began his singing and acting career with the Stratford Festival and the Canadian Opera Company. He continued with a major international career at the New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Opera and Glyndebourne Festival. Mr. Baerg first appeared at the Glyndenbourne Festival, in England, as Ramiro in Ravel’s L’heure Espagnole, for the San Francisco Opera as Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus and with the Canadian Opera Company as Figaro in il Barbiere di Siviglia. He has enjoyed many seasons at major North American opera companies including the San Francisco Opera, the Canadian Opera Company, L’Opéra de Montréal, San Diego Opera, Vancouver Opera, New York City Opera, Edmonton Opera, and many others. His more than 90 roles have included favourites from the operatic, operetta, and musical theatre repertiore.
Ted has also appeared in concerts with orchestras across Canada and the United States in a variety of programs including those of the oratorio, classical and popular genre.
During the 2006 season he returned to the Stratford Festival and appeared as Emile DeBecque in South Pacific. In addition to his many performing commitments, Ted is a Professor of Voice and Opera at Western University in London, Canada, where he heads the UWOPERA program.
Myroslaw (Myron) Kurjewicz, Accordion
Myroslaw (Myron) Kurjewicz, concert accordionist, will join Irena and Ted from Winnipeg. He will also perform a solo set of Ukrainian pieces. An accomplished accordionist, Myron’s talents have truly taken him on many “musical-life-journeys.” Whether he’s studying or arranging music, accompanying a choir or dance group, or playing solo, his unique interpretations, stylings, and passion for the accordion remain unparalleled (he says the accordion was probably his first love). Because of these qualities, Myron has been able to perform with a wide and diverse array of musicians and entertainers and has been able to learn and grow from each of these varied genres. Today, Myron still strives to bring out the best in his accordion playing that he can, practicing to create a truly unique sound, one that captures the energy, soul, spirit, and fire of song and dance. A retired pharmacist by profession, Myron is married to Julia, and they have three children: Laryssa, Adam and Theresa.