International opera star André Courville and the family trio Sweet Cecilia will come together for a one-of-a-kind holiday concert at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 1 at the Heymann Performing Arts Center in Lafayette.
The performance is part of Performing Arts Serving Acadiana’s 2022-23 season. Tickets are available at www.pasaonline.org or at the Heymann Center box office.
They will be joined on stage by an 11-piece string ensemble, with orchestrations by Danny Devillier.
Courville and the Sweet Cecilia trio of Laura Huval, Maegan Berard and Callie Guidry were all childhood friends in St. Martin Parish.
Courville suggested to PASA Executive Director Jackie Lyle that the four friends had long wanted to perform together and that only the real point at which their musical genres crossed over was holiday music, according to a statement from PASA.
“With Andre’s musical vision and creative staging, this will be a musically exceptional and fun concert,” Lyle said. “PASA’s mission includes offering paid performance opportunities for artists living in our area and this concert certainly fulfills that component!”
Sweet Cecilia is a family trio whose music is deeply rooted in country, rock, folk, and Cajun influences. The three women are accomplished vocalists and musicians, as well as master songwriters, Lyle said. Sweet Cecilia was formally created in 2012; however, sisters Laura Huval and Maegan Berard, along with their first cousin, Callie Guidry, have been singing and making music together since childhood. Their late father and uncle Al Berard — a singer/songwriter/musician — encouraged the three young girls to pursue music.
Sweet Cecilia’s music is fresh and modern, at the same time it holds on to the musical roots and traditions around which they were raised, Lyle said.
Bass-baritone André Courville is a star on opera stages throughout the world. His voice has been called “jaw-dropping”, “supercharged”, “splendid”, and “lush” by Opera News, “warm” and “rich” by The Washington Post, and “imposing” by The Philadelphia Inquirer.
His recent and upcoming engagements with some of the most celebrated companies in Europe, Asia, and America include debuts at Zurich Opera in Switzerland; Opéra National de Bordeaux, Opéra de Rouen Normandie, and Opéra de Limoges in France; Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in Italy; Karlsruhe’s Badisches Staatstheater in Germany; the Moscow Philharmonic at Tchaikovsky Concert Hall in Russia; Guangzhou Opera in China; Houston Grand Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Dallas Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Arizona Opera, Kentucky Opera, Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, Berkshire Opera Festival, Caramoor Music Festival, and Opera Lafayette in New York City and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, among others.
He has also appeared at Carnegie Hall numerous times since his debut there with Opera Orchestra of New York. Trained at the prestigious Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, the Cecilia, Louisiana native has been honored with the ABC Fund’s Rising Star ICON Award. He is also recipient of top awards in eight national and international vocal competitions, including First Prize in Los Angeles’s Loren L. Zachary National Vocal Competition and Top Prize in New York City’s Gerda Lissner Foundation International Vocal Competition.
“André Courville is in high demand because of his powerful stage presence and incredible talent. For those who love opera already, this is no surprise,” Lyle said. “For those who don’t follow classical music or opera, our December 1 concert is a chance to get hooked on this guy’s talent.”
In addition to the public performance, Courville and Sweet Cecilia will also perform for Lafayette Parish School System seventh-graders on Nov. 30.
Tickets are available now for the Dec. 1 performance at www.pasaonline.org or at the Heymann Center box office. The box office phone number is 337-291-5555 and box office hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.