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Festival Guide

Vancouver Opera Festival 2018

Running from April 28 to May 6, the second annual Vancouver Opera Festival celebrates Russian composers.

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2018-2019 Season and Festival

Franz Lehár’s The Merry Widow, Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème, Charles Gounod’s Faust, and Gioachino Rossini’s La Cenerentola

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Vancouver Opera’s Inaugural Vancouver Opera Festival

Vancouver Opera’s Inaugural Vancouver Opera Festival opened the doors to the community and delivered a 16 day celebration of the voice

Vancouver – British Columbia: May 16, 2017 —Vancouver Opera, today announced that more than 20,000 people attended operas, concerts, screenings, art installations, master classes, social and free community events – Including the three featured operas Otello, Dead Man Walking, and The Marriage of Figaro, concerts by Ute Lemper and Tanya Tagaq as well as Paul Wong’s 5 Octave Range, -- all part of Vancouver Opera’s 2016/17 Season and its inaugural Vancouver Opera Festival (VOF).

From April 28 through May 13, VOF presented over 70 events ranging from 3 new productions of main stage operas in the Queen Elizabeth and Playhouse theatres; commissioned a free public visual art installation; offered community events, master classes, theatre tours, a pop-up cocktail lounge, film screenings, and more – extending Vancouver Opera’s reach into the community, expanding the understanding of opera along with its civic impact, and encouraging cultural tourism.

“The Festival solidly demonstrated the high level of artistic quality and diversity that Vancouver Opera has to offer”, said Kim Gaynor, General Director of Vancouver Opera. “From our tradition of over fifty years of enriching the lives of opera goers, we will build on the success of our inaugural festival to secure the future of opera in Vancouver.”

The Inaugural Vancouver Opera Festival featured full-scale productions of Giuseppe Verdi’s late-career masterpiece Otello, Jake Heggie’s modern classic Dead Man Walking, and Mozart’s magnificent The Marriage of Figaro. Vancouver Opera’s Music Director, Jonathan Darlington, conducted the Vancouver Opera orchestra in both Otello and Dead Man Walking. Maestro Leslie Dala conducted The Marriage of Figaro. The Festival tent hosted community and civic impact events daily, including activities for families, designed to give a better understanding of the art form. The Queen Elizabeth plaza became a lively, go-to destination for pre and post performance gatherings. Live streaming of many festival events extended the reach of the festival into the community and beyond.

Inaugural Vancouver Opera Festival achievements:

·         Simultaneous stagings of three new opera productions

·         World class performances featuring internationally acclaimed singers

·         Employment for 370 people was created to make the festival a reality

·         Vancouver Opera continued the trend of attracting patrons with the inaugural festival – over 20,000 people attended the festival, building on a 49,000 ticket season average over 10 years.

·         Otello was performed in Vancouver for the first time in 30 years.

·         There were over 20 Community and Free Events at the festival – Including a panel discussion entitled Ethical Justice in the 21st Century featuring Sister Helen Prejean, the Louisiana nun who is best known through the movie of her book, Dead Man Walking and the composer Jake Heggie.

·         J’Nai Bridges who sang the part of Sister Helen Prejean in Dead Man Walking, was the first woman of colour ever cast in the role.

·         The Festival presented a specially commissioned public visual art project from Paul Wong, Audain Prize Winner and award-winning artist, curator, and organizer of public interventions.

·         A Pop-up Opera Bar welcomed patrons and the public before and after performances for refreshments and lively discussion.

·         Tanya Tagaq performed to a sold-out crowd at the Vogue Theatre.

·         Over 1.8 million dollars of donations was raised from supporters for the first Festival.

·         The Kettle Society, which provides support for over 3,600 people in Vancouver living with mental illness, was included as Vancouver Opera’s Heart Partner.

·         Approximately 650 students attended productions at VOF through our education initiatives – Vancouver Opera’s expanded portfolio of education programming reaches nearly 2 million people a year through various initiatives including - Opera in Schools, Young Artist Performances, Opera Camp, Project Opera, Delta Academy, The Kettle, and many more.

·         UBC and Delta Academy students composed and presented their own operas

·         New partnerships were formed with other cultural organizations including DOXA, Music on Main, Goethe Institute and the Arrival Agency.

What the press said:

“Darlington creates a taught, disciplined sound; he’s there for every value-added nuance that the principals are prepared to wring out of the score, but his eye is on the big picture — with shattering effectiveness.” - Vancouver Sun, David Gordon Duke

The Marriage of Figaro
“Director Rachel Peake has coaxed some tremendously energetic and joyful performances from the cast, carried by an effervescent chamber orchestra that conductor Leslie Dala never allows to lag.” - Georgia Straight, Jessica Werb

Dead Man Walking
“Anyone who doubts that opera can speak to the here and now needs to see the powerful new production of Dead Man Walking, which quickly established itself as the must-see at the city's newest festival last night.” - Georgia Straight, Janet Smith

“The orchestra, performers, and designers have struck just the right balance of humanity, emotion, and bold design, building to a finale that left many in the audience tearing up as they rose for a heartfelt standing O.” -Georgia Straight, Janet Smith

Vancouver Opera Festival could not have taken place without a committed set of Corporate and Individual donors who continue to invest in the cultural fabric of the community.   First we thank the extraordinary individuals whose continuing support has been and is fundamental to Vancouver Opera, and in particular Martha Lou Henley, C.M., Honorary Festival Patron; all Festival Champions, Founders, Visionaries, and Leaders as well as the members of our board of Directors.

We also acknowledge and express our gratitude to the continuing support of our principal organizational funders:

·         Vancouver Opera Foundation

·         Canada Council for the Arts

·         BC Arts Council

·         City of Vancouver

·         Goldcorp – Vancouver Opera’s multi-season sponsor

Finally we recognize and thank the following Corporate Festival Founders and Partners:

·         Mission Hill Family Estate

·         BMO Financial Group

·         RBC Foundation

·         The Vancouver Airport Authority

·         Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP

·         TD

·         The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver

·         The Vancouver Opera Guild

·         The Goethe Institut

·         Sunlife Financial

·         RBC Wealth Management, PH&N Investment Council

·         Thomas Hobbs Florist