Marcel A. Desautels will be living the dream this evening.
Many people may know Desautels as a very successful business man in the field of finance. He's the past President and General Manager of Creditel of Canada Limited, and under his leadership it became the largest company of its kind in Canada.
Others know Desautels as a very generous benefactor of the University of Manitoba, and in particular, of the Faculty of Music which bears his name.
Tonight Desautels takes the stage at the Centennial Concert hall to add another high note to his accomplishments. Because, what you might not know is that this successful businessman is also a talented tenor. And tonight he gets the chance to perform with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.
It's part of WSO's summer solstice Concert at the Centennial Concert Hall.
Desautels, who studied law at the University of Manitoba, says he performs frequently at faculty concerts, so people connected with the U of M knew about his love of singing. But the invitation from conductor Alexander Mickelthwate to perform with the WSO came out of the blue.
"Can you imagine having an opportunity to collaborate with a world class symphony orchestra like we have here in Winnipeg and a brilliant conductor like Alexander Mickelthwate?" Desaultels exclaims. "I'm very excited about it."
Desautels will be singing the dramatic aria "Vesti la Giubba" by Leoncavallo, which he says suits his voice type. As a contrast, he chose Lehar's "Dein Ist Mein Ganzes Herz" from the operetta Land of Smiles "because it is so light and bubbly and the orchestra is gorgeous."
In 1996 Desautels established the Canadian Credit Management Foundation, with the purpose of funding innovative new programs at Canadian Universities.
Among his numerous generous donations is a $20 million gift to the Marcel A. Desautels Faculty of Music at the University of Manitoba for student and faculty research support, and for new facilities.
Desautels is very excited to be a part of the huge development at the University of Manitoba called Project Domino. One of the projects includes transforming Taché Hall into a 500-seat concert hall.
"Of course music was always my avocation," he admits, "so I was able to combine what I love to do with the practical matter of helping the university. I never thought it would lead to an opportunity so sing."
"There's an inordinate amount of talent flowing out of this province, whether it's the symphony or the ballet or the theatre. We're recognized for that here in Manitoba."
The concert also features music by Beethoven, Brahms, Tchaikovsky and more.
The concert launches the WSO's 65th season, so ticket prices have been rolled back to just $6.50.