Multi-award-winning young performers from Vancouver's Opera Mariposa perform hit songs from Wicked, Spamalot, Sweeney Todd and more in support of the National ME/FM Action Network
This May, the critically acclaimed performers of Opera Mariposa are bringing audiences a night of musical theatre showstoppers in support of chronic neuro-immune disease awareness. On Saturday, May 16th, sopranos Jacqueline Ko and Robin Eder-Warren, baritenor Kyle Preston Oliver and pianist Chris Feige will present Tour de Force, a Broadway benefit show at Marpole United Church. The performance will honour the International Awareness Week for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS), Fibromyalgia (FM) and related illnesses, and a portion of every ticket sale will go to the National ME/FM Action Network.
Opera Mariposa's artistic director Jacqueline Ko has suffered from ME/CFS since the age of six, and she is determined to use her passion for music to raise awareness. "ME/CFS affects more than twenty-eight million people worldwide," Ko says, "and studies report that it can be as debilitating as lupus or late-stage AIDS. Despite this, many cases go undiagnosed, and patients struggle with not only the devastating symptoms, but a lack of medical support and community understanding."
Despite the challenges of her illness, Ko has managed to become a celebrated singer and show producer. At age 20 she teamed up with Eder-Warren to found Opera Mariposa, an acclaimed Vancouver company for emerging artists, and now the young women are determined to use their success to help others. With Tour de Force, Opera Mariposa will present their biggest Broadway show ever, featuring hit songs from Wicked, Gypsy, Spamalot, Sweeney Todd and more. "We're pulling out all the stops for this show," says Eder-Warren, "and we'll be performing some of the boldest, most scene-stealing music we know, from the heart-wrenching to the hilarious. We have showstoppers from Sondheim, Bernstein and Lloyd Webber, as well as tributes to some of the great Broadway performers we love. It’s going to be a wild night of wonderful music for a fabulous cause."
The evening will include a prize raffle and reception, and the charitable proceeds will go towards educating more medical professionals in how to diagnose and treat ME/CFS and FM. Tour de Force will be Mariposa's third benefit and awareness show; in 2013, their gala concert The Singer raised $10,000 for the newly opened Complex Chronic Diseases Program at BC Women's Hospital, while their 2014 revue show The Butterfly raised over $13,000 for the cause.