Why they are stay­ing on their toes for one an­other

As they pre­pare for a huge show in France, Opera Ate­lier’s Mar­shall Pynkoski and Jean­nette La­je­unesse Zingg share the se­cret of their life to­gether

Richmond Hill Post - - How They Met - by Dal­ton Wayne

Depend­ing on how open-minded you are, be­ing told you and your girl­friend will be an in­ter­na­tion­ally fa­mous phe­nom­e­non by a horo­scope reader could sound phony or it could be mu­sic to your ears. For Opera Ate­lier’s two co–artis­tic di­rec­tors, Mar­shall Pynkoski and Jean­nette La­je­unesse Zingg, their ran­dom en­counter with a gifted lady proved to be their best omen, as to­day the cou­ple share a happy mar­riage — not to men­tion the en­vi­able, jet­set­ting lives of two of the world’s most renowned opera and bal­let vi­sion­ar­ies. But don’t think this a clichéd en­counter fit for a corny movie script. In fact, this pair started out the same way many cou­ples do: as sim­ple friends who just hap­pened to love the same thing. Here, Jean­nette shares their story.

How they met

We met in the bal­let classes of Florentina Lo­jekova. We were both very tall for our ages and were of­ten part­nered to­gether for pas de deux classes. We also tended to ar­rive early for our classes, so we had a chance to chat while warm­ing up and stretch­ing. We soon re­al­ized that we had many in­ter­ests in com­mon and would share our homes and dreams for a fu­ture in the world of pro­fes­sional theatre.

Their first date

Our first date was, of course, a trip to the bal­let. We had been given tick­ets to see The Nutcracker. We en­joyed each other’s com­pany and the bal­let tremen­dously and be­gan at­tend­ing dance and mu­sic events to­gether when­ever we could. We were very in­tent upon be­com­ing artists and re­garded each other as friends.

The courtship

Our courtship be­gan in our fi­nal year of bal­let train­ing when we were al­ready work­ing as free­lance pro­fes­sion­als when­ever pos­si­ble. The process of re­al­iz­ing that we were soul mates grew nat­u­rally out of friend­ship. Our mem­o­rable mo­ment was when we were stopped in a café by a lovely lady who wanted to read us our horo­scopes. We po­litely re­fused, and she said “Well that is all right, but I must tell you that you are go­ing to do some­thing to­gether, that [you] will [both] suc­ceed in­ter­na­tion­ally, be­cause it

“Our first date was, of course, a trip to the bal­let.”

will not be only about you, but about some­thing big­ger.” We have never for­got­ten that ex­pe­ri­ence.

The pro­posal

We were on our way home from an evening with friends — Mar­shall of­ten dropped me home af­ter a date — and Mar­shall sud­denly pro­posed. I was com­pletely taken by sur­prise as mar­riage had seemed like some­thing that would hap­pen some­time in the fu­ture. I did know, how­ever, that Mar­shall was the one and ac­cepted with­out any hes­i­ta­tion.

The wed­ding

We were mar­ried in Toronto in 1985. We went for a weekend to Man­hat­tan to see the New York City Bal­let and at­tend ex­hibits at the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Mu­seum of Art and at the Frick.

Their lives now

Our work is our shared in­ter­est, along with avid read­ing and travel. High points in our re­la­tion­ship have been our trips with our com­pany to per­form at the Theatre Royal, Chateau de Ver­sailles and at the Salzburg Fes­ti­val. We were ex­tremely well re­ceived in both places and re­ally felt that we were be­com­ing part of the his­tory of these fa­mous venues. Catch Opera Ate­lier’s Per­sée in Ver­sailles, France from May 23 to 25.

Opera Ate­lier is fa­mous for its riv­et­ing bal­let and opera-style pro­duc­tions

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