Canadian audiences may have believed their last chance to see Ben Heppner sing on a stage had come and gone, but, as it turns out, the superstar tenor's career is unsinkable.
Heppner will come out of retirement to star in the musical Titanic at the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto in May, Mirvish Productions announced Wednesday morning.
"I'm totally pumped to climb aboard the production of Titanic," the 58-year-old singer said. "Just think, I get to sail onstage again without having to drink Isolde's poison or wear Viking horns."
In April, Heppner - who currently hosts CBC's Saturday Afternoon at the Opera - released a statement announcing that he was "setting aside my career as an opera and concert singer" - but he didn't say anything about musical theatre. Around that time, Heppner, whose final opera performance in Canada was starring in the Canadian Opera Company's production of Benjamin Britten's Peter Grimes in 2013, approached producer David Mirvish, expressing an interest in acting in one of his shows.
Mirvish arranged for him to join British theatre director Thom Southerland's hit revival of the Tony-winning 1997 musical, with music and lyrics by Maury Yeston and book by Peter Stone, during its stop in Toronto. The Canadian tenor will play several roles in the ensemble, chamber production including that of US politician and Macy's co-owner Isiador Straus, who died with his wife, Ida, when the famous ship went down in 1912. "Knowing Ben's work as I do, it will be a real privilege to work with him and see him create the role of Mr. Straus in Toronto," Southerland said in a statement.