On Sunday, July 16th, Opera in the Park returns to the lush and lovely environs of Burnaby’s Deer Lake Park for a free, family-friendly celebration of opera and community. Last year was a blast, and in partnership with the City of Burnaby, we’re delighted to bring a taste of grand-scale opera to a beautiful public space, and to meet and mingle as a beautiful summer afternoon inches artfully to sunset.
Fun activities like face-painting, musical games, prize giveaways and other surprises start at 3pm. At 5:45, enjoy a high energy celebration of the human voice featuring JUNO-nominated choral performers musica intima, before the Vancouver Opera Orchestra, Chorus, and powerhouse solo vocalists take the stage at 7:30pm for a compelling performance of selected music from our 2023-2024 season’s blockbusters. We’ll spotlight some instantly-recognizable classics, like the Queen of the Night’s hair-raising aria from Mozart’s The Magic Flute, ebullient pieces from Gaetano Donizetti’s criminally underrated opera buffa masterpiece Don Pasquale, and Habanera from the passionate and uncompromising grande dame of opera productions, Bizet’s Carmen.
We’re justifiably excited about the coming season’s productions, and July 16th’s Opera in the Park event feels a bit like getting to open one of our presents early; it’s a special treat, but it also acts as a bit of a pressure release valve, lest the excitement become too much ahead of the October 21 season opener! It also lets us share the artform with a wide audience, and connect with folks who might not have called themselves opera fans prior to the event.
Since we’re touching on a number of pieces (including some surprises you’ll just have to attend to experience), we won’t be delivering fully-staged productions, but with great opera, the music alone is powerful enough to deliver the timeless emotional message of a story, regardless of language or background. At the heart of these great works are undeniably engaging melodies that reward repeated listens and investigations, but hit home on first contact, whether you’re wearing a cravat or a ketchup-stained bib. Seeing the effect that the sheer power of the orchestra, chorus, and vocal soloists has on new audiences is one of the absolute thrills of an event like Opera in the Park. Awe, wonder, delight…we see it on the faces in the audience, and it reinforces our joyful devotion to the artform.
Vancouver Opera Music Director Emeritus Jonathan Darlington will conduct the Vancouver Opera Orchestra alongside Chorus Director Tina Chang. We’ll be treated to world-class singers including Jonelle Sills, Magda How, Emma Parkinson, Andrew Haji, Clarence Frazer, and the acclaimed Vancouver Opera Chorus.
Deer Lake Park is located 6450 Deer Lake Avenue, Burnaby. If you’re driving, arrive early as parking is limited. Bring your blankets and lawn chairs, but leave large tents and umbrellas at home. Feel free to pack your own snacks, or you can check out the on-site food trucks.
See you in the park! Oh, and you should also know that 2023-2024 subscriptions are available now. Single tickets to The Magic Flute, Don Pasquale and Carmen go on sale July 12, 2023. Find out more at vancouveropera.ca or call the Vancouver Opera Ticket Centre at 604 683 0222.