2017-2018 Season Highlights – Vancouver Opera

2017-2018 Season Highlights

2017-2018 Season Highlights


  • The end of the 2017/2018 marked the transition of Music Director Jonathan Darlington to Music Director Emeritus in an evening celebrating his 15 years leading the Vancouver Opera Orchestra. The search for his replacement has been launched.
  • Patrons endorsed the “Season and Festival” model with an increase in overall subscriptions revenue, and a 37% increase in earned revenue over 2016/2017.
  • Our most successful production this season was Turandot, which brought in nearly $900,000 in gross ticket revenue and sold 92% of a total 10,328 potential seats.
  • Our ground-breaking community collaboration Requiem for a Lost Girl had two sold-out shows. It was the culmination of a three-year outreach partnership between VO, The Kettle Society, and cultural partner SFU Woodward’s Cultural Programs addressing issues surrounding homelessness.
  • Baritone Geoffrey Sirett, lighting designer Alan Brodie, and Scenic Designer Ken MacDonald were each recognized with Dora Mavor Moore Awards in June for their work in The Overcoat – a musical tailoring, an innovative new opera co-production partnership between VO with Toronto’s Tapestry Opera and Canadian Stage.
  • Special outreach initiatives to Vancouver’s Chinese community were initiated this season, with Chinese surtitles, programme notes and advertising campaigns as well as a Chinese star soprano, Ying Fang, in the lead role of Adina in L’Elisir d’amore (The Elixir of Love).
  • The Russian White Nights themed Vancouver Opera Festival was embraced by the Russian community, who joined us for a full day of cultural performances courtesy of Russian Theatre Palme and CircusWest. VO’s collaboration with Early Music Vancouver featured a concert of 18th Century Baroque Arias with soprano Karina Gauvin.
  • Vancouver Opera’s Young Artists Program recorded full sponsorship for the participants this season. This program, founded by the family of Yulanda M. Faris is also strongly supported by the David Spencer Endowment Encouragement Fund.
  • VO’s Opera Camp continues to be in high demand, selling out with a waitlist for summer of 2018, and VO’s Work Experience program was completed by 25 Grade 11 and 12 students this year, helping expose more young people to Opera than ever before.
  • Volunteers continued to provide invaluable support for our organization, contributing a total of 1,617 hours collectively since September 1st, 2017.



“Vancouver Opera’s Turandot is triumphant…. Vancouver Opera’s latest Turandot delivers just what it intended to, a grand scale opera well sung, theatrically effective, and dished up as a splendidly extravagant spectacle.”
David Gordon Duke, Vancouver Sun

“Vancouver Opera’s clever new production of Turandot offers up such stylized spectacle that you could almost enjoy it with earplugs in. You wouldn’t want to do that, though, because the lush orchestrations and powerful leads make equal magic…. This is the first time the VO has staged Turandot in 12 years and it’s been worth the wait…. The extended opening-night standing O said it all. This is a Turandot to please the eyes, brain, and ears – a bold unusually dazzling vision that helps this old warhorse speak to new audiences.”
Janet Smith, The Georgia Straight

L’Elisir d’amore (The Elixir of Love)

“Vancouver Opera’s L’Elisir d’Amore (The Elixir of Love) is as fun as the old-fashioned ice-cream truck that rolls onto the stage at the opening, honking its klaxon. But don’t be fooled: there is serious singing across the board in this production…. Ying fang pull off some flawless coloratura here, her satiny soprano soaring strainlessly to the heights of her two-octave range and earning a strong peppering of “Brava!”s from the crowd…. Maestro Jonathan Darlington sets it all running at a good clip… helping polish it into the shiny ornament that it is.”
Janet Smith, The Georgia Straight

“Vancouver Opera gave a dazzling production of L’Elisir d’amore on all counts…. Ms. Fang’s singing was not only immaculate, performed with clarity and style, but always invested with strong feeling…. Jonathan Darlington… drew impeccable and glowing sound from his band. Right from the overture, you knew you were in the hands of a maestro who had the measure of this delightful score, with the instrumental lines transparent, rhythms tight, dynamics kind to the voices, and the forces crisp in the devilishly demanding ensembles…. Thanks to Vancouver Opera for a superior and thoroughly engaging encounter with this loveliest of comic operas. ”
Harvey De Roo, Vancouver Classical Music

2018 Vancouver Opera Festival

“VO Opera’s second annual festival has already outdone itself this year. You have to hold your breath to await next year’s festival, but it surely will be memorable.”

“Two anchor productions for Vancouver Opera’s second festival opened on the weekend, and both are hits.”
David Gordon Duke, Vancouver Sun

Eugene Onegin

“a splendid Eugene Onegin…. There’s more than enough spectacle on stage, with a number of big set pieces including two grand party scenes; dancers add charm; the chorus is in top form, and the orchestra has never sounded better. (Did we expect anything different from the miraculous Jonathan Darlington? What wonders he has done here as VO’s music director!)”
David Gordon Duke, Vancouver Sun

Eugene Onegin… is nothing if not a surfeit of vocal riches. …Georgian bass Goderdzi Janelidze… commanded the stage… The audience went wild. …[Svetlana Aksenova as Tatyana’s] gorgeously pure soprano generated the intense white heat so essential in conveying the steely resolve her character needs to resist Onegin’s persistent advances in the opera’s final scene ”
Robert Jordan, Opera Canada

The Overcoat – a musical tailoring

“seeing some of its original team, like Morris Panych and Wendy Gorling, bow to a standing O at the end of this sung-through reworking at the Vancouver Opera Festival opening was a blast from the past.”
Janet Smith, The Georgia Straight

“Gorling turns opera into a highly choreographed, fast-moving tableau… Panych’s playful libretto embracing a dark mix of absurdism and allegory, with an acid-sharpened edge. …after a long and storied history, this musical adaptation feels like fresh new threads.”
Janet Smith, The Georgia Straight

“Panych has now penned the libretto to an operatic adaptation of his adaptation: a completely non-conventional opera sans arias, with music by James Rolfe…. the real stars of The Overcoat: A Musical Tailoring are the design team… the show looks fabulous…. You’d be crazy to miss it.”
Jo Ledingham, joledingham.ca

“I saw The Overcoat @VancouverOpera this weekend and loved it as much as @jennamariepiano did. It’s on until May 12. See it if you can, Vancouver. “
Globe reporter Marsha Lederman, via Twitter.

Requiem for a Lost Girl

“The Soul is Wrenched and Resurrected in Vancouver Opera Festival’s Requiem For A Lost Girl. If art is meant to touch the soul, this opera lurches and grabs every inch of you and refuses to let go. It is, in my opinion, the most real and meaningful theatrical ensemble performed on stage.”
Maira Hassan, Vancouver Arts Review