Purchase Tickets

Need to reach the Vancouver Opera Ticket Centre? Call 604-683-0222
or visit us in person at 1945 McLean Drive.

Ticket Centre hours are
Mon-Thurs from 9am to 5pm
(Closed 12:30pm to 1pm)
Fri from 9am to 5pm


Renew Your Subscription

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

VO Lotteries

Win an Audi or cash! 

Win a fabulous new car with VO Lotteries. 

Festival Brochure

Vancouver Opera Festival 2018

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

Our Mission & History

To be the destination performing arts organization that entertains, stimulates and enriches British Columbians, driven by programming that redefines "Opera" and revolutionizes its accessibility and community value.

Profile & History

Vancouver Opera is the second largest opera company in Canada. It is regarded worldwide for its fine mainstage productions; for its country-leading education programs, which have reached more than 1.6 million children and their families in more than 40 years; for its innovative and award-winning community programs; and for forging groundbreaking cross-cultural creative partnerships that have brought opera to new generations of Canadians.

Vancouver Opera was founded in 1958 by a group of visionary community leaders who believed in the essential value of the performing arts to the life of a great city and who recognized the power of opera to connect people to the universal human drama. In their view, a resident professional opera company was vital to the future of Vancouver.

After its founding, Vancouver Opera quickly moved to the centre of the city’s and region’s cultural life and has remained there ever since. In recent years, the company has intensified and broadened its role as a major creative, educational, and collaborative resource in the community.

Education Programs

Vancouver Opera leads the community and the country in its Education programs. Vancouver Opera In Schools (VOIS), which began in 1972 as an initiative of the Vancouver Opera Guild, is the largest touring program of its kind in Canada. Each season, VOIS introduces the power and beauty of opera to about 50,000 school children and their families across B.C. and beyond. More than 1,600,000 children have enjoyed specially adapted short operas, sung in English, and performed by an energetic cast of professional young singers.

In 2009, VOIS presented a new commissioned opera, Jack Pine, by renowned local musician Veda Hille, based on the children's book of the same name by award winning Saltspring Island poet, Christopher Patton. Jack Pine toured to schools and theatres throughout B.C., to schools in Ottawa, and on to The National Arts Centre.

VO has also commissioned Naomi’s Road, touching, instructive opera, set during World War II based on the book by Joy Kogawa. This story of a young Japanese-Canadian girl’s experiences as her family is interned during World War II is compelling, emotional and instructive. Taken from one of our country’s most painful and complex social periods, it is a story that for many years was not discussed in our schools.

In 2014, VO commissioned a new mainstage opera, Stickboy, with music composed by Neil Weisensel and libretto by spoken word artist Shane Koyczan. Stickboy will tour to BC schools in an adapted version, specially designed for younger audiences, as part of the Vancouver Opera In Schools program. 

Vancouver Opera also offers enriched programs for secondary school students. Find out more about VO's Education Programs.

Mainstage Productions

The company’s inaugural production was 1960's Carmen, starring Nan Merriman, Richard Cassilly, and Louis Quilico. It was directed by Irving Guttman, founding Artistic Director, who led the company until 1974 and again from 1982 to 1984.

Vancouver Opera is admired around the world for presenting exciting productions of a very high quality, for the estimable playing of its orchestra, and for attracting artists of international stature.

This reputation, which is refreshed each season, originated in several now-legendary appearances: in 1963, Richard Bonynge made his conducting début with Faust; that same year, he conducted Joan Sutherland's and Marilyn Horne's role débuts in Norma (1963). In 1968's Tosca, Plácido Domingo made his first Vancouver appearance, and in 1972, Joan Sutherland débuted the title role of Lucrezia Borgia.

Over the years, the company has attracted such internationally acclaimed singers as Ewa Podles, James Morris, Samuel Ramey, Ruth Ann Swenson, James McCracken, Reri Grist, Victor Braun, John Alexander, Maria Pellegrini, Huguette Tourangeau, Paul Plishka, Regina Resnik, and Elizabeth Futral.

Quality of Productions

Over the decades, VO has achieved an enviable level of consistency in its productions. One of the company’s main strengths is its capacity for continually enhancing the quality of physical productions to match and support the high musical values. In recent years, the company has dramatically increased its investment in the look of its shows, in direct proportion to its increased investment in top-level international singers and conductors.

The company has also developed its artistic capacity by creating new productions (Peter Grimes, 1995; Candide, 1996; The Rake’s Progress, 2000; The Threepenny Opera, 2004; The Magic Flute, 2007), by investing in co-productions (Of Mice and Men, 2002; Turandot, 1997 and 2005; Macbeth, 2006; Ariadne auf Naxos, 2007, Nixon in China, 2010), and by commissioning new works (The Architect, by David McIntyre and Tom Cone, 1994; Naomi’s Road, an opera for young audiences by Ramona Luengen and Ann Hodges, 2005; and Lillian Alling, by John Estacio and John Murrell, which had its world premiere in October 2010). In 2014, VO commissioned a new mainstage opera, Stickboy, with music composed by Neil Weisensel and libretto by spoken word artist Shane Koyczan. Stickboy will tour to BC schools in an adapted version, specially designed for younger audiences, as part of the Vancouver Opera In Schools program. 

Vancouver Opera presents a balance of traditional and innovative productions of established repertoire along with newer operas and less frequently produced works by master composers. Among the most memorable innovative productions of established repertoire have been a controversial Lucian Pintile staging of Carmen in 1986, a visually compelling production of La traviata in 1989 directed by Goran Jarvefelt, a multi-media production of Salome in 1997 directed by filmmaker Atom Egoyan, and, in 2006, a spectacular production of Faust, directed by Nicholas Muni.

Cross-Cultural Creative Partnerships

In January 2007, Vancouver Opera unveiled its new production of The Magic Flute, created with a team of First Nations artists and designers.

This landmark production was developed during three years of exploration with First Nations communities, advisors and elders. Set in the timeless realm of coastal nations’ myth and magic, and centred in Coast Salish traditional territory, the production was an unprecedented creative collaboration across cultures.

It featured costumes inspired by the traditions of many coastal nations, dance and movement that echoed ancient sources, sets and properties designed in consultation with First Nations artists, and some words and phrases from the language, with permission of the Musqueam Band (Coast Salish). The production was remounted in 2012.

In the Community

Fulfilling and broadening the vision of the company’s founders, Vancouver Opera has developed an ongoing series of community programs that explore meaningful issues and themes that arise from each season’s operas. The inaugural project was a “community forum,” a series of community events leading up to the 2002 production of Carlisle Floyd’s Of Mice and Men. The events addressed poverty, life with disabilities, and the role of art in effecting social change.

Since then, the company has produced several public forums on topics ranging from the plight of women during wartime (Aida) to the place of faith in politics (Dialogues of the Carmelites) to the boundaries of comedy (Rigoletto). In the spring of 2004, in advance of its new production of The Threepenny Opera, VO worked with more than a dozen cultural organizations to produce Berlin in the 20s, a city-wide series of events and performances focusing on the ideas and creations of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht.

For the 2004 production of Madama Butterfly, VO forged deep relationships with many Japanese-Canadian individuals and organizations to produce a series of 22 events and performances, collectively called Views of Japan, which explored the rich and complex relationship between Japanese and Canadian Cultures. In 2005, leading up to Dialogues of the Carmelites, VO produced "Church and State: Dialogues on Religion and Politics", a provocative series of lectures, forums and performances. And in 2006-2007, in the months leading up to The Magic Flute, Vancouver Opera collaborated with First People’s Heritage, Language and Culture Council to produce "Where Cultures Meet", a series that explored issues such as cultural appropriation and intellectual property in the arts, and the degree to which cultures can merge in artistic endeavour.

For the 2010 Canadian premiere of Nixon in China, an extensive series of events was produced, examining the legacy of the groundbreaking meeting between Nixon and Mao. The series included events with Justin Trudeau, Margaret Macmillan and Sen. John Negroponte, as well as a host of public forums, music and dance performances and film screenings.

Community events around 2011's world premiere of the new, VO-commissioned opera Lillian Alling explored themes of immigration and history, with film screenings, open rehearsals, historic walking tours and public lectures.

Enhancing Accessibility

In 2013, VO announced a bold long-term strategy aimed at broadening and deepening its connection with the communities it serves, while building a new generation of opera goers. The strategy included offering new opera experiences in new venues, such as the world premiere of Stickboy at the Vancouver Playhouse, and special "Opera's Greatest Hits" concerts in communities south of the Fraser River.

VO expanded its wildly popular Get O.U.T (Opera Under Thirty-five) program, offering $35 tickets to patrons aged 35 and younger, and created, for performances of Stickboy, a special U-19 program, offering $19 tickets to youth under the age of 19.

For several years, VO has offered a preview talks about our productions to residents of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside at the Carnegie Community Centre, along with dress rehearsal tickets. The program has recently been renamed The Jim Green Night Before the Opera, in memory of the respected arts advocate, community builder and opera lover.

Overarching these changes is a fresh new look and feel for Vancouver Opera, unveiled in 2014 - the first major rebranding of the company since 1985.