The well-aged tenor

At the age of 28, David Gibbons is still waiting for his voice to change. Not that the operatically trained singer doesn’t have a powerful tenor voice — he certainly does.

David Gibbon: performs a Red Deer concert with partner Hayley Crittenden on Sunday at the Memorial Centre.

At the age of 28, David Gibbons is still waiting for his voice to change.

Not that the operatically trained singer doesn’t have a powerful tenor voice — he certainly does.

It’s just that Gibbon is a helden tenor. It’s a rare vocal type that doesn’t generally mature until the age of 40, said the singer from Red Deer.

At the point when his voice comes into its own, he’ll be set to perform “the biggest German repertoire.”

A helden tenor, which can sound like a baritone with a higher range, is one of the largest and most dramatic voices in opera. It’s described as having a thickness and depth of colour that’s rare among male singers.

Gibbons intends to put his booming voice to good use in Red Deer when he performs with his partner, Hayley Crittenden, on Sunday at the Memorial Centre.

The couple, who trained at the Vancouver Academy of Music, will sing solos and duets, such as the comical Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better from the musical Annie Get Your Gun. “We’ll have to reprise that one,” said Gibbons, who noted it went over well when they last sang here in 2007.

Crittenden, a Vancouver native and a lyric soprano, will perform songs from La Boheme and Romeo and Juliet. Gibbons will do a number from Wagner’s Die Walkure (The Valkyrie). Songs from Phantom of the Opera and La Traviata are also on the program. Both singers will be accompanied by Gibbons’s childhood friend, pianist Ruston Vuori.

“We’ll be doing a mixture of operatic arias, duets, musical theatre numbers and art songs,” said Gibbons, who got hooked on performing as a kid with Treehouse Youth Theatre. One summer he even starred as Augustus Gloop in a local production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

“The Treehouse Theatre experience was just so great, it made me want to continue on in the business,” he said.

Gibbons and 25-year-old Crittenden are at the brink of launching their professional singing careers. The couple went to Weimar, Germany, last year to study and perform. Gibbons recently wrapped up a production of Die Fledermaus, in which he played the male lead, for the Vancouver Music Academy Opera Studio. And Crittenden took part in Calgary Opera’s Emerging Artist Program.

While Europe is awash in operatic opportunities, Gibbons said he would love to be able to work in Canada, where he believes opera is re-emerging in popularity.

The next step for he and Crittenden will be to audition for various companies and to enter voice competitions.

“If you win, the money helps sustain you” until the next job comes along, said Gibbons.

David Gibbons and Hayley Crittenden perform at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday at the Memorial Centre.

Tickets are $28 from the Black Knight Ticket Centre.

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