The St. Boniface Basilica was a brilliant choice as a setting for the musical Quo Vadis. I attended the performance on the night of July 22 which just happened to be the forty-six year anniversary of the tragic fire that nearly completely destroyed the huge Winnipeg cathedral in 1968. All that remained of the old church after the fire was the majestic front piece. That stone facade which is now more than a century old, provided the backdrop for the Fringe Festival production of Quo Vadis.
This was not your regular fringe play. It had a huge cast with many trained and talented musicians among them. The story is taken from a Polish novel by Nobel Prize winner Henryk Sienkiewicz. It is set in 64 AD during the reign of the Roman Emperor Nero. It recounts the love story of a military man and a young Christian woman, who along with others of her faith, is slated for death because of her beliefs.
The musical was written by Olaf Pyttlik. Olaf and his wife lived in my condo building this last year while their home in Wolseley was being completely gutted and renovated.
Not only did Olaf have that project on the go, but in May he opened a new restaurant in the Exchange District called Across the Board. Pyttlik also owns and operates a successful audio production company called daCapo. And somewhere in between remodeling a house, opening a restaurant and running a business, he found time to write a musical and stage it at the Fringe Festival. Does this man ever sleep?
The performers in the Quo Vadis production obviously loved what they were doing. The music was beautiful and inspiring. The storyline was easy to follow. It was a great evening of entertainment made all the more special because the music we were hearing was brand new and was having its debut at the Fringe Festival. An added bonus was that we were outside on a lovely Manitoba evening. The breeze was dancing in the actors hair and birds were calling and winging overhead.
If you haven’t already seen Quo Vadis- go! If it’s sold out, you can just sit down on the Basilica grounds and listen to the wonderful music.
Note: The musical mentioned Christians being devoured by wild animals in the Colosseum. When I toured the Colosseum in Rome our guide told us that never happened. Quo Vadis also made reference to Christians hiding out in the catacombs.
When we visited the catacombs in Rome our guide told us that’s just a myth too.
Other posts about the Fringe Festival……
2 responses to “Quo Vadis- Talk About a Perfect Setting!”
Your roman guide sounds like one out to sanitize Roman history – that’s like taking a tour of Winnipeg and denying we have potholes.
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