Sunday afternoon in Burnaby

Yesterday we headed out to Burnaby (a city next to Vancouver) and the Scandinavian Centre where we enjoyed a recital of songs sung in Finnish, Swedish and Italian by a beautiful, rising talent, Finnish-American singer Maria Männistö. Here’s the announcement we received (hyperlinks mine):


Canadian Friends of Finland, Vancouver presents Finnish-American soprano Maria Mannisto in a recital of songs by Finnish composers Jean Sibelius, Toivo Kuula, Oskar Merikanto and Erkki Melartin.  The program also includes two arias by Giacomo Puccini.

For the second half of the program, Maria will be joined by double bassist Scott Teske performing a selection of beloved Finnish folksongs and tangos.

Winner of 2007 Finlandia Foundation Performer Award of the Year, this talented young singer has performed to great acclaim in numerous cities across the USA, including Washington DC, Chicago and San Francisco.  Maria is director of the Finnish Choral Society in Seattle and organist and music director of the Finnish Lutheran Church.  She is studying operatic performance at the University of Washington under Thomas Harper and recently auditioned for the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

We loved all of it, the Puccini arias the most of course, as well as hearing the Finnish language in song. My husband commented that my late father (a keen amateur singer) would have loved this, I agreed saying my parents were very much in my thoughts. The first half of the program, accompanied at the piano by Terhi Miikki-Boersma, consisted of the more serious music and showcased Ms Männistö’s beautiful voice and range of musical styles. The second half consisted of lighthearted popular Finnish and Swedish songs, with the singer accompanying herself at the piano and with Scott Teske playing a double bass, a curious guitar-like instrument we’d not seen before. It will be interesting to watch her career in opera take off.

Afterwards, because we were in the neighbourhood, we went to the Burnaby Art Gallery to see an exhibition of prints, drawing and paintings by Ron Eckert, recently retired from a long teaching career at Vancouver’s art school, Emily Carr Institute. We liked his looser drawings the most.

As always when we come here, we went for a walk around the lovely gardens and down along Deer Lake. As we returned it began to rain. We drove up to Burnaby Mountain Park. I wanted to revisit the Ainu sculptures, the Kamui Mintara (Playground of the Gods). I have written about them before, how remarkably similar they are to the Northwest Coast First Nations’ totem poles.


To cap the afternoon, we had a wonderful dinner in the restaurant overlooking the park and sculptures and with a fantastic view west over Vancouver (except we could not see it because the rain turned to snow!). We shared a dessert of a most divine chocolate mousse with pecan crust, mmmm.

March 17, 2008 in Being an Artist, Canada and BC, Culture, Music, Other artists by Marja-Leena