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Festival Brochure

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 Festival 2018

From April 28 to May 6, under the banner of the Russian White Nights, the second annual Vancouver Opera Festival celebrates Russian composers with a Russian classic opera, a much anticipated opera premiere, a series of instrumental and vocal chamber music concerts, and much more. 

Purchase a Festival Pass and unlock additional savings and benefits throughout the Festival.

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Eugene Onegin
Queen Elizabeth Theatre
April 29 at 2:00pm
May 3 & 5 at 7:30pm

VO’s Music Director Jonathan Darlington conducts the VO Orchestra and Chorus in this powerful new production. A co-production with Calgary Opera, directed by celebrated Canadian director Tom Diamond. Scott Reid has designed this new production. Russian baritone Konstantin Shushakov makes his VO debut in the title role. He is joined by internationally acclaimed soprano Svetlana Aksenova in the role of Tatiana. Features breathtaking music and choreography, lavish orchestrations, and compelling arias. 

This production is generously sponsored by Blakes, Cassels & Graydon LLP

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The Overcoat – a musical tailoring
Vancouver Playhouse
April 28 & 29 | May 4, 9, 10, 11, & 12 at 7:30pm
May 2, 5, & 6 at 2:00pm
A groundbreaking new co-production with Toronto’s Canadian Stage Company and Tapestry Opera. Leslie Dala conducts the VO Orchestra, with sets designed by award-winning designer Ken MacDonald. Initially based on an 1842 short story by Russian author Nikolai Gogol, The Overcoat was transformed into a smash- hit play in 1998 by Morris Panych and Wendy Gorling. Panych and Gorling return to this work as director and movement director respectively, at the Vancouver Playhouse - where the original creation premiered 20 years ago. Baritone Geoffrey Sirett sings the role of Akakiy, and baritone Peter McGillivray is Petrovich. Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists Program Alumni Caitlin Wood and Aaron Durand join the all Canadian cast. 

This production is generously sponsored by The McGrane-Pearson Endowment Fund 

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Requiem for a Lost Girl: a chamber musical about homelessness
Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre
SFU’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts (149 W Hastings Street)
May 4 at 7:30pm
May 6, at 2:00pm

A powerful chamber musical collaboration written and directed by Onalea Gilbertson about homelessness and the plight of missing and murdered women. The work, composed and conducted by Marcel Bergmann with additional music by The Kettle Choir and Writers Guild, will be performed by members of the Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists Program, and members of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra and Chorus.

Presented in partnership with The Kettle Society and SFU Woodward’s Cultural Programs 

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The Music of James Rolfe, Composer of The Overcoat—a musical tailoring
CBC Studio 700
April 28 at 5:00pm
James Rolfe, composer of the opera The Overcoat—a musical tailoring, has written a vast amount of chamber music. His work has been commissioned and performed to acclaim by ensembles, orchestras, choirs, theatres, and opera companies in Canada and around the world.  In this opening concert we present a selection of diverse chamber music repertoire both vocal and instrumental, including “The Connection” for solo marimba and recitation and “Moths” for baritone and piano.

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A Musical Tribute to Anna Akhmatova, celebrated Russian poet
CBC Studio 700
April 29 at 5:00pm

Anna Akhmatova (1889 – 1966) was one of the most significant Russian poets of 20th century. Step into an intimate salon concert featuring poems by Anna Akhmatova set to music by John Tavener and Sergei Prokofiev.

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Tchaikovsky and the Great Russian Composers 
CBC Studio 700
May 3 at 5:00pm

Everyone knows and loves Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, but may be less familiar with his extensive repertoire of chamber music written for voice.  This concert is an introduction to some of the greatest songs by Tchaikovsky and his contemporaries including Rimsky-Korsakov and Mussorgsky. Featuring singers from the cast of The Overcoat—a musical tailoring.

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Rachmaninoff and Shostakovich: Giants of the Russian Repertoire
CBC Studio 700
May 4 at 5:00pm

Featuring the Shostakovich Piano Trio no. 2  and Rachmaninoff Romances Op 38 for soprano and piano.

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Echos of Tchaikovsky, Featuring the Bergmann Piano Duo
CBC Studio 700
May 5 at 5:00pm

Featuring the electrifying duo pianists Marcel and Elizabeth Bergmann performing Rachmaninoff’s “Symphonic Dances” and Marcel Bergmann’s “Echoes of Tchaikovsky” inspired by the operas of Tchaikovsky, including Eugene Onegin.

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Russian Festival Opening Day
Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza
April 28 from 2:00pm
To kick off the Festival in style, everyone is invited to a day dedicated to Russian Arts, Music, Food, and Culture. Food trucks, circus and street performers, pre and post-show projections capped off with a big-screen presentation on the QET Plaza. Admission is free. 

From Russia with Love to Jonathan Darlington
Vancouver Playhouse
May 1 at 7:30pm
To recognize Jonathan Darlington’s extraordinary partnership with the VO Orchestra, join us for a special evening full of surprises, including Maestro Darlington at the piano, and dancers. 

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A Russian Songfest 
Vancouver Playhouse
May 2 at 7:30pm 

An evening of musical riches featuring outstanding young opera singers performing a wide range of their favourite Russian songs accompanied by the music staff of Vancouver Opera. 

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Russian White Nights: Opera Arias from 18th century St. Petersburg, Featuring Soprano Karina Gauvin
Chan Centre for the Performing Arts
May 6 at 3:00pm 

Join one of the world’s reigning sopranos in Baroque and classical repertoire, Karina Gauvin, for a programme of virtuosic opera arias from 18th century St. Petersburg. Concert presented in collaboration with Early Music Vancouver.

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Happy Hour Bar
Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza
April 28 to May 6 from 5:00pm
Throughout the Festival, patrons can enjoy Happy Hour, a hub for socializing, light refreshments and appies, alongside a small stage for performances. 

Opera Bar
Weekends April 28 to May
The sensational Opera Bar returns on weekends to the Vancouver Opera Festival as the go-to destination to socialize with performers and artists, complete with artist and DJ performances, as well as snacks from the hottest local food trucks. 


Family Day on the Plaza
Vancouver Playhouse
May 5 
From 10:00am

The QET Plaza will come alive with activities for young listeners, including theatre tours. Bring the whole family for a day of fun and music. Suitable for ages 4+. 

Prokovfiev's Peter and the Wolf
Vancouver Playhouse
May 5 at 10:00am & 11:30am 

Les Dala conducts this delightfully entertaining performance for young audiences which introduces listeners to the various instruments and sections of the orchestra.

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Where the Wild Things Are
May 5 
VO and the Delta School District present the culmination of their work in an original adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s much-beloved children’s picture book Where The Wild Things Are. Admission is free

Pre-show Talk for Teens at Eugene Onegin
May 5
A lively and informative 30-minute talk by VO experts geared towards teens to prepare them for the performance of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin.


New Works Project
The Post at 750
May 2
UBC student composers and writers collaborate with performers from the UBC Opera Program to create new chamber opera works. A chance to see the creative process in action. Admission is free.

Opera Speaks
Vancouver Playhouse and SFU Woodward's
April 28, 29 | May 2

A series of free informative conversations around the productions and themes of the second annual Vancouver Opera Festival. Stay tuned for more details. 

Preview Talks
Queen Elizabeth Theatre and Vancouver Playhouse 
April 28 to May 12
One hour before curtain
Free to opera ticket-holders, these lively and informative 30-minute talks by VO experts prepare audiences for the performance.