It might be one of the most unique settings for live music in Vancouver.
Each summer for the last 21 years, the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden has opened its doors to musicians and music fans for the Enchanted Evenings series. Groups, ranging from classical piano ensembles to hot jazz bands, perform al fresco in the 15th-century-style garden in the heart of Chinatown. This year’s series runs July 11-Aug. 7, with weekly performances.
For the first time, Enchanted Evenings are kicking off early at 7 p.m. with a dinner option. Guests are invited to dine inside the manicured garden, choosing from a variety of picnic options from $10-$29 (from roasted turkey sandwiches to lemon-tarragon glazed wild BC salmon and Italian antipasto platters). After soaking up the ambiance – the tiny, .3-acre garden was selected as one of the world’s best by National Geographic – it’s time for the 8 p.m. show.
Groups perform outdoors in the garden courtyard, on the edge of the central pond. Seating this year is available in three tiers, general ($25), front-row ($35) and exclusive “mountain-top patio” ($50) (The “mountain-top” in question refers to the gazebo planted atop a rocky outcropping in the garden). Because the Enchanted Evenings series has a devoted local following, the best tickets (in fact, all tickets) tend to sell out quickly.
The musical lineup this year spans genres, continents and historical eras. The series started off with Silk Road, an ensemble that fuses Chinese, Persian, Arabic and Spanish Flamenco music. Here’s the lineup for the remainder of the season:
- Thursday, July 17 – Tomoe Arts: This classical Japanese dance group weaves together choreography with spoken word and original music on erhu, cello and percussion.
- Thursday, July 24 – Jim Byrnes: The iconic Vancouver blues singer has been mesmerizing audiences across Canada for 40 years.
- Thursday, July 31 – Vancouver Piano Ensemble: The multi-piano group has performed concerts around the world and uses two grand pianos in its garden show.
- Thursday, Aug. 7 – Deanna Knight and the Hot Club of Mars: Lead singer Deanna Knight is the sultry vocalist for this Django-inspired gypsy jazz group.
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