Montreal cellist to perform at King Charles’ coronation concert

“It's much bigger than the cello I play on usually,” said Montreal cellist Marion Portelance on the cello that once belonged to King Charles III, which she will use to perform at His Majesty’s coronation concert on Sunday. Diona Macalinga reports.

A cellist from Montreal will be performing at King Charles’s coronation concert at Windsor Castle over the weekend.

“It still feels surreal,” said Marion Portelance, 24, who is now studying cello on a scholarship at one of the world’s greatest conservatories, the Royal College of Music in London, and is set to graduate in 2024.

The music conservatory reached out to Portelance, asking for her availabilities near the time of King Charles’s coronation. “It’s only a few weeks later, so at the end of March, that they told us it was for the coronation concert,” she said.

“We’re playing ‘Somewhere’ by Bernstein,” she said. “It’s an arrangement made by Steve Sidwell.”

Remarkably, she will be performing on King Charles’s personal cello, which he played as a student at Trinity College Cambridge. He then donated the cello for a charity auction at the Royal House Opera, before it was given to the Royal College of Music as its patron.

Portelance said the cello is “much bigger” than other cellos she typically played on. “It’s so different and we have to adjust constantly. So, it’s quite a challenge, but it’s a nice challenge.

“The sound is so different and I just love playing on different instruments because it comes with all the history.”

Portelance began playing the cello at the age of four, but it didn’t take long for her parents to take note of her growing love for music. They enrolled her in public schools with music programs to help her talent flourish. The young cellist graduated from the Conservatoire de Montreal in 2022.

She will perform as part of a string quartet formed of Royal College of Music students on Sunday May 7. They’ll play a new arrangement of an iconic song from West Side Story with the Chorus of The Royal Opera and a visual backdrop on to Windsor Castle created by the Royal College of Art. The performance will include choreography from The Royal, and the Royal Shakespeare Company will perform excerpts from a Shakespeare play.


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Other world-renowned artists are set to perform at the King’s coronation concert including Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, Andrea Bocelli and more.

CityNews’ special coverage of the Coronation of His Majesty King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla with Lisa LaFlamme starts at 4 a.m. Saturday on Citytv.


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