Vancouver Opera – Carmen: Up Close and Personal House Programme

Carmen: Up Close and Personal House Programme

Carmen Up Close and Personal Premieres this Saturday May 1!
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Tom Wright, General Director
Jonathan Darlington,
Music Director Emeritus

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Welcome | General Director

Welcome | General Director

We are pleased to welcome you to our final digital production of the season, Carmen: Up Close and Personal. This innovative adaptation was conceptualized by the amazing creative duo of Stage Director, Brenna Corner and Maestro Leslie Dala.

This pared-down version of Bizet’s classic shines a spotlight on the four main characters, their emotions and the gripping drama of Carmen. Bringing together members of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra with our Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists, who have worked hard this season, this
production is the fruit of their passionate labour.

We could not have done this season without the support we have received from the Canada Council for the Arts, Canadian Heritage, BC Arts Council and the City of Vancouver Cultural Services. Vancouver Opera was blessed this season to be able to create opera through the cinematic lens and
share the result with you, our most valued patrons.

On behalf of everyone at Vancouver Opera, thank you for your support and enthusiasm of our
digital season.

Enjoy the show!

We are pleased to welcome you to our final digital production of the season, Carmen: Up Close and Personal. This innovative adaptation was conceptualized by the amazing creative duo of Stage Director, Brenna Corner and Maestro Leslie Dala.

This pared-down version of Bizet’s classic shines a spotlight on the four main characters, their emotions and the gripping drama of Carmen. Bringing together members of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra with our Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists, who have worked hard this season, this
production is the fruit of their passionate labour.

We could not have done this season without the support we have received from the Canada Council for the Arts, Canadian Heritage, BC Arts Council and the City of Vancouver Cultural Services. Vancouver Opera was blessed this season to be able to create opera through the cinematic lens and
share the result with you, our most valued patrons.

On behalf of everyone at Vancouver Opera, thank you for your support and enthusiasm of our
digital season.

Enjoy the show!

Tom Wright, General Director, Vancouver Opera

Tom Wright, General Director, Vancouver Opera

Welcome | Board Chair

Welcome | Board Chair

Welcome to the final production of our digital season, Carmen: Up Close and Personal. I Googled the “most popular operas” and was amazed by the plethora of lists that came up. Most performed, most watched, best … and on and on. Carmen is right at the top of almost every list.

For my wife Elise and myself, it is definitely at the top of our most watched list. Beginning with Vancouver Opera’s somewhat controversial modern production for Expo 86, we have also seen an incredible Flamenco Carmen staged by a Spanish company at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, and then there was U-Carmen eKhayetitsha, a wonderful South African film sung in Xhosa, where the matador is an opera singer. More recently, a modern production at San Francisco Opera with considerable nudity and more traditional productions in Vancouver and San Francisco again.

However the story is presented, the sublime music by Bizet is key, and I’m certainly looking forward to seeing our new pandemic-era production. I don’t think my suggestion of the matador as a Canucks player quite worked out! Vancouver Opera has been very gratified by the reception of our season to date and I am sure Carmen: Up Close and Personal will be a fitting finale. We can’t wait to be presenting opera in front of audiences again and hope to see things open up in the not too distant future.

Thanks again to all our supporters for staying with us. Enjoy the show!

Welcome to the final production of our digital season, Carmen: Up Close and Personal. I Googled the “most popular operas” and was amazed by the plethora of lists that came up. Most performed, most watched, best … and on and on. Carmen is right at the top of almost every list.

For my wife Elise and myself, it is definitely at the top of our most watched list. Beginning with Vancouver Opera’s somewhat controversial modern production for Expo 86, we have also seen an incredible Flamenco Carmen staged by a Spanish company at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, and then there was U-Carmen eKhayetitsha, a wonderful South African film sung in Xhosa, where the matador is an opera singer. More recently, a modern production at San Francisco Opera with considerable nudity and more traditional productions in Vancouver and San Francisco again.

However the story is presented, the sublime music by Bizet is key, and I’m certainly looking forward to seeing our new pandemic-era production. I don’t think my suggestion of the matador as a Canucks player quite worked out! Vancouver Opera has been very gratified by the reception of our season to date and I am sure Carmen: Up Close and Personal will be a fitting finale. We can’t wait to be presenting opera in front of audiences again and hope to see things open up in the not too distant future.

Thanks again to all our supporters for staying with us. Enjoy the show!

Richard Rees, Chair, Vancouver Opera Board of Directors

Richard Rees, Chair, Vancouver Opera Board of Directors

The Cast of Carmen: Up Close and Personal

The Cast of Carmen: Up Close and Personal

Conductor: Leslie Dala

Director: Brenna Corner

Premiered at Paris, Opéra Comique 03 March 1875. First produced at VO 02 April 1960 on March 31 and April 1, 2021 at the Orpheum Theatre, Vancouver BC.

The performance will last approximately 75 minutes. In French with English subtitles.

Premiered at Paris, Opéra Comique 03 March 1875. First produced at VO 02 April 1960 on March 31 and April 1, 2021 at the Orpheum Theatre, Vancouver BC.

The performance will last approximately 75 minutes. In French with English subtitles.

Digital Season Sponsor

Digital Season Production Patrons

Ms. Martha Lou Henley, C.M.
Alan & Gwendoline Pyatt Foundationn
Yoshiko Karasawa

Season Production Sponsor

Production and Recording Team

Production and Recording Team

Technical Director
Autumn Coppaway

Assistant Production Manager
Andrea Joy Rideout

Assistant Technical Director,
Scenic Lead
Michael Kerns

Head of Wardrobe
Tiffany Bishop

Stitcher
Barbara Clayden

Cutter
Sarah Marchant

Associate Head of Properties
Stephen Elgar

COVID Safety Officer
Leah Giselle Field

Producing Partner
Bob Baker

Audio Producer
Denise Ball

Audio Engineer
Will Howie

Camera Director/Video Editor
Mike Southworth

Assistant Editor
Aaron Graham

Camera Operators
Mike Southworth
Adam PW Smith
Scot Proudfoot

Producer, Collide Entertainment
Joanna Dundas
IATSE 118

Production Head Carpenter
Scott Ellis

Production Head Electrician
Dave Marx

Head of Properties
Dale Bartelli

Head of Video
Leon Cox

Head of Camera
Dave Allen

Head Wardrobe
Lily Yuen

Head of Flys
Bob Bancroft
David Gagnon

Assistant Head of Carpenter
Brian Heath

Assistant Head of Electrician
David Ruan

Assistant Head of Sound
Michael Kidder

Carpenters
Mark Ransom
John Webber
Brad Dunn
John Allan
Vince Folgizan

Electricians
Lily Yuen
Phil Shulze

Video
Dave Allen
Tim Cardinal
Joel Johnson

Special Operator
Sebastian Finch

Camera Operator
Dave Allen
Glenn Kruger
Chris Baker
Wardrobe Dresser
Carolyn Reemeyer

CIVIC IATSE STAFF

Orpheum Head Carpenter
Gavin Bakewell

Orpheum Head Electrician
Brendan Keith

Orpheum Head Sound
Alex Livland

Vancouver Opera Orchestra

Violin 1
Mark Ferris
Evelyn Creaser-Rumley

Violin 2
Angela Cavadas
Heilwig von Koenigsloew

Viola
Isabelle Roland

Viola
Marie-Claude Brunet

Cello
Harold Birston

Bass
Michael Vaughn

Flute/Piccolo
Brenda Fedoruk

Oboe/Cor Anglais
Geronimo Mendoza

Clarinet
Mary Backun

Bassoon
Ingrid Chiang

French Horn
Laurel Spencer

Trumpet/Flugelhorn
James Ross

Trombone
Jeremy Berkman

Harp
Lani Krantz

Timpani/Percussion
Phillip Crewe

Orchestra Manager
Jim Littleford

Music Librarian
Tom Shorthouse

Synopsis

After reveling in memories of her Bohemian lifestyle and music, Carmen sits down and prepares a tarot reading. As she deals the cards and turns the first card over, a young soldier, José enters and is captivated by her beauty. She is taken with him, despite the warning she gets from the cards. They are quickly interrupted by the entrance of the soldier’s childhood sweetheart, Micaëla. She has been looking all over for him. After his sordid and violent past she brings him a message of love and forgiveness from his mother. She also brings him a ring which his mother hopes he will give to Micaëla.

Their reminiscing is interrupted by Carmen who, having watched their naïve love, shares her beliefs in what love is and the consequences of loving. Micaëla is affronted by Carmen’s flirtation with José and lunges towards her. A conflict ensues resulting in Carmen being blamed and hauled off to prison. Left alone with José, Carmen tries every trick in the book to escape. Eventually through a combination of her own cunning and José’s infatuation she escapes. José is blamed for her escape and sent to prison, but he keeps with him Carmen’s promise to meet him and be his.

Time passes, and as the tarot cards say, Fate continues to move the pieces. Carmen meets Escamillo, the famous bullfighter of Grenada. While she is interested in him, it is José that she longs for and he returns to her that very night. Upon his return she dances for him, reveling in the new experience of committed love. However, the trumpet call from the soldiers’ barracks is heard, and José must leave her once again. Distraught, Carmen fights with José claiming he doesn’t truly love her or he would come away with her. Eventually José gives in, deserting the army and placing his mother’s ring on Carmen’s hand.

As Fate and time continues, Micaëla returns searching for José. But she is not the only one. Escamillo has also returned searching for Carmen. He has heard that Carmen’s lovers rarely last a long time and has come to sweep her off her feet. José flies into a jealous rage at the idea of Carmen leaving him. Carmen
breaks up the fight, but Escamillo won’t be put off so easily and invites both of them to see his upcoming bullfight in Seville. As they prepare to leave, Micaëla is discovered. She confesses to José that his mother has sent her to fetch him home. Carmen, now understanding José’s insane jealousy and instability, tells him to go home to his mother, sending José into a passionate rage. Only Micaëla is able to stop him by telling him that his mother is dying and he must return home. José agrees to leave but warns Carmen that he will
be back

As predicted in the cards, José returns begging Carmen to forgive him so their lives can continue together. Carmen confesses to him that no matter what he does, she will not be his. She was born free and will remain free. Taking his mother’s ring off her finger, she gives it back to him. José raises his knife and
moves towards her…

We return to the beginning. Carmen has finished her tarot reading. She has seen her future. The young soldier enters again….

Synopsis

 

After reveling in memories of her Bohemian lifestyle and music, Carmen sits down and prepares a tarot reading. As she deals the cards and turns the first card over, a young soldier, José enters and is captivated by her beauty. She is taken with him, despite the warning she gets from the cards. They are quickly interrupted by the entrance of the soldier’s childhood sweetheart, Micaëla. She has been looking all over for him. After his sordid and violent past she brings him a message of love and forgiveness from his mother. She also brings him a ring which his mother hopes he will give to Micaëla.

Their reminiscing is interrupted by Carmen who, having watched their naïve love, shares her beliefs in what love is and the consequences of loving. Micaëla is affronted by Carmen’s flirtation with José and lunges towards her. A conflict ensues resulting in Carmen being blamed and hauled off to prison. Left alone with José, Carmen tries every trick in the book to escape. Eventually through a combination of her own cunning and José’s infatuation she escapes. José is blamed for her escape and sent to prison, but he keeps with him Carmen’s promise to meet him and be his.

Time passes, and as the tarot cards say, Fate continues to move the pieces. Carmen meets Escamillo, the famous bullfighter of Grenada. While she is interested in him, it is José that she longs for and he returns to her that very night. Upon his return she dances for him, reveling in the new experience of committed love. However, the trumpet call from the soldiers’ barracks is heard, and José must leave her once again. Distraught, Carmen fights with José claiming he doesn’t truly love her or he would come away with her. Eventually José gives in, deserting the army and placing his mother’s ring on Carmen’s hand.

As Fate and time continues, Micaëla returns searching for José. But she is not the only one. Escamillo has also returned searching for Carmen. He has heard that Carmen’s lovers rarely last a long time and has come to sweep her off her feet. José flies into a jealous rage at the idea of Carmen leaving him. Carmen
breaks up the fight, but Escamillo won’t be put off so easily and invites both of them to see his upcoming bullfight in Seville. As they prepare to leave, Micaëla is discovered. She confesses to José that his mother has sent her to fetch him home. Carmen, now understanding José’s insane jealousy and instability, tells him to go home to his mother, sending José into a passionate rage. Only Micaëla is able to stop him by telling him that his mother is dying and he must return home. José agrees to leave but warns Carmen that he will
be back

As predicted in the cards, José returns begging Carmen to forgive him so their lives can continue together. Carmen confesses to him that no matter what he does, she will not be his. She was born free and will remain free. Taking his mother’s ring off her finger, she gives it back to him. José raises his knife and
moves towards her…

We return to the beginning. Carmen has finished her tarot reading. She has seen her future. The young soldier enters again….

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Notes from The Conductor

Notes from The Conductor

Georges Bizet’s Carmen is one of the most recognized, beloved, and most often produced operas ever written. Therefore, it is all the more shocking that the work was initially not well received and was actually withdrawn after a brief run at the Opéra Comique in Paris in 1875. The failure of the opera is said to have contributed to Bizet’s tragic death of a heart attack at the age of only 36.

Vancouver Opera was originally to have opened its 60th anniversary season with Carmen, an opera it first brought to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre’s stage back in 1960 and that VO has produced more often than any other over the past 60 years. That was before COVID-19 hit and literally stopped the world in its tracks. In our reimagined season, we decided to produce an intimate version of Carmen using only the four principal characters, performed by the members of the Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists Program and directed by Brenna Corner, an alumna of this same program.

Using a chamber orchestration prepared by British conductor and arranger Richard Balcombe, we have retained most of the best known excerpts of this immortal work and have condensed the three hour opera into a 75 minute version. It is rather daunting to alter a masterpiece so well known and loved, but we approached this with the utmost respect for an original work which has such power that it is often the piece that “converts” people into opera lovers.

While our postponed mainstage production at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre would have featured more than 100 performers on stage and in the pit, I consider myself extremely fortunate to have had the chance to explore this work in a new way and to bring it to life in a digital format at a time when we could not have done it any other way. My hope is that this retelling will still strike a chord with our audience no matter how many times they have experienced this unforgettable work.

LESLIE DALA, Conductor
Leslie Dala is the Conductor of Carmen: Up Close and Personal, Music Director of the Vancouver Bach Choir, and Program Head of the Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists Program.

Georges Bizet’s Carmen is one of the most recognized, beloved, and most often produced operas ever written. Therefore, it is all the more shocking that the work was initially not well received and was actually withdrawn after a brief run at the Opéra Comique in Paris in 1875. The failure of the opera is said to have contributed to Bizet’s tragic death of a heart attack at the age of only 36.

Vancouver Opera was originally to have opened its 60th anniversary season with Carmen, an opera it first brought to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre’s stage back in 1960 and that VO has produced more often than any other over the past 60 years. That was before COVID-19 hit and literally stopped the world in its tracks. In our reimagined season, we decided to produce an intimate version of Carmen using only the four principal characters, performed by the members of the Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists Program and directed by Brenna Corner, an alumna of this same program.

Using a chamber orchestration prepared by British conductor and arranger Richard Balcombe, we have retained most of the best known excerpts of this immortal work and have condensed the three hour opera into a 75 minute version. It is rather daunting to alter a masterpiece so well known and loved, but we approached this with the utmost respect for an original work which has such power that it is often the piece that “converts” people into opera lovers.

While our postponed mainstage production at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre would have featured more than 100 performers on stage and in the pit, I consider myself extremely fortunate to have had the chance to explore this work in a new way and to bring it to life in a digital format at a time when we could not have done it any other way. My hope is that this retelling will still strike a chord with our audience no matter how many times they have experienced this unforgettable work.

LESLIE DALA, Conductor
Leslie Dala is the Conductor of Carmen: Up Close and Personal, Music Director of the Vancouver Bach Choir, and Program Head of the Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists Program.

Remembering Yulanda

Six years ago, this April, we lost a great advocate and philanthropist, Yulanda Faris. We remember Yulanda every day with the Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists program which was begun in her honour through an initiative of Moh Faris and their family. Yulanda left sunny Jamaica for Canada where she met Moh. Together they raised their family in the not quite as sunny West Vancouver. She was a dedicated and hardworking advocate of the arts in Vancouver. Yulanda was a great support to the Young Artist program and always provided enthusiastic encouragement and leadership to not only the artists but to the staff and workshop leaders.

Many arts organizations benefited from Yulanda’s generosity which was recognized on a national level. In 2010 she and Moh were recognized for their work by the Governor General with the Ramon Hnatyshyn Award for Volunteerism in the Performing Arts. Again in 2013, Yulanda’s work and dedication was recognized with an appointment to the Board of Trustees of the National Arts Centre.

For those of us who knew Yulanda we most remember her ability to welcome everyone and share in the day to day joys and challenges of life and art. She and Moh welcomed the community into their family and their hearts. Many us will remember watching her dance with joy at a birthday, laugh and applaud in delight at a singer’s success during a workshop or cry alongside the performers on stage. This spring as we remember Yulanda we celebrate the success of the program named after her that brought Vancouver Opera and the artists a great deal of meaning and purpose in a difficult year.

Adrianne Wurz
Adrianne Wurz is Director of Artistic Planning at Vancouver Opera

 

 

 

Notes from The Director

Notes from The Director

Carmen was the first opera I ever worked on with Vancouver Opera, and I am beyond thrilled to return to create a reimagined Carmen world. Over the last month as we struggled with how to approach Carmen during a pandemic, there were several elements that had to be considered. Bizet’s classic brings to the foreground challenges that persist into today’s world, such as the prevalence of domestic abuse and psychological trauma. From a production standpoint, there were also the issues of the intimate spacing between the characters, which is vital to the visual storytelling, orchestral interaction, and traditional spectacle Carmen is known for. However, my favourite parts of Carmen have always been the incredibly complex and vulnerable scenes between individuals that Bizet created. Moments like José’s Flower aria, Carmen’s seduction and escape in her Seguidilla, and of course the final Act IV duet. When creating a new version of this piece, we wanted to use the COVID constraints to our advantage in order to highlight the intimate, almost cinematic, moments Bizet created. This is where the idea of a tarot card reading came into play.

Throughout history, the idea of seeing our fate, of knowing what the future might bring for us, has been a powerful idea. Particularly over this last rather uncertain year, the future has seemed nothing if not cloudy. Divination (the ability to see into our own futures) exists in so many cultures because it fulfills
the human desire for control over our lives. This desire also plays a part in the traditional portrayals of Carmen, specifically in her famous Act III aria “En Vain” in which she reads her future in the tarot cards. This moment became the keystone for our reimagining of the piece. Each tarot card acts as a moment
in time, telescoping us and Carmen forward into her future to see what fate has planned for her. Like Carmen looking forward for understanding, we are also looking towards an uncertain future, and like Carmen we draw on our own personal strength to propel us forward and possibly change our fates.

BRENNA CORNER, Director
Brenna Corner is a Canadian stage director and an alumna of the Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists Program. She works with many of the leading opera companies of North America and Europe to bring extraordinary and unique operas to life.

Carmen was the first opera I ever worked on with Vancouver Opera, and I am beyond thrilled to return to create a reimagined Carmen world. Over the last month as we struggled with how to approach Carmen during a pandemic, there were several elements that had to be considered. Bizet’s classic brings to the foreground challenges that persist into today’s world, such as the prevalence of domestic abuse and psychological trauma. From a production standpoint, there were also the issues of the intimate spacing between the characters, which is vital to the visual storytelling, orchestral interaction, and traditional spectacle Carmen is known for. However, my favourite parts of Carmen have always been the incredibly complex and vulnerable scenes between individuals that Bizet created. Moments like José’s Flower aria, Carmen’s seduction and escape in her Seguidilla, and of course the final Act IV duet. When creating a new version of this piece, we wanted to use the COVID constraints to our advantage in order to highlight the intimate, almost cinematic, moments Bizet created. This is where the idea of a tarot card reading came into play.

Throughout history, the idea of seeing our fate, of knowing what the future might bring for us, has been a powerful idea. Particularly over this last rather uncertain year, the future has seemed nothing if not cloudy. Divination (the ability to see into our own futures) exists in so many cultures because it fulfills
the human desire for control over our lives. This desire also plays a part in the traditional portrayals of Carmen, specifically in her famous Act III aria “En Vain” in which she reads her future in the tarot cards. This moment became the keystone for our reimagining of the piece. Each tarot card acts as a moment
in time, telescoping us and Carmen forward into her future to see what fate has planned for her. Like Carmen looking forward for understanding, we are also looking towards an uncertain future, and like Carmen we draw on our own personal strength to propel us forward and possibly change our fates.

BRENNA CORNER, Director
Brenna Corner is a Canadian stage director and an alumna of the Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists Program. She works with many of the leading opera companies of North America and Europe to bring extraordinary and unique operas to life.

INTERVIEWS WITH THE DIRECTOR
Watch Brenna talk more about this show and listen to her Podcast Interview.

The Music Shop seemed to be a perfect fit for our singers and it is a real ensemble piece, featuring quite virtuosic writing for the singers as well as the pianist. It is a fast-paced comedy which demands a lot of acting chops and we are fortunate to have Dana Fradkin direct this show, who has an extensive knowledge and experience with physical theatre and clown work.nnSince its premiere in 1993, this work has been performed by Young Artists Programs at l’Opera National du Rhin, Chautauqua Opera, and university opera programs such as Juilliard and Alabama. This production marks the Canadian premiere of The Music Shop and I am very proud of the hard work, talent and dedication that our Young Artists have exhibited in the rehearsal process especially with the added safety precautions necessitated by COVID-19.nnEnjoy!nnu003cstrongu003eLeslie Dalau003c/strongu003enu003cstrongu003eProgram Director, Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists Programu003c/strongu003e

Biographies

Biographies

LESLIE DALA | CONDUCTOR

Maestro Dala began his career with VO as a pianist and répétiteur, but now enjoys a multifaceted career spanning opera, symphonic music, choral and contemporary works. He recently recorded The Complete Piano Etudes of Philip Glass, available at lesliedala.com.Leslie’s national conducting appearances include Pacific Opera Victoria, Edmonton Opera, Saskatoon Opera, Tapestry Opera, Toronto Symphony Orchestra (backing the Indigo Girls), and VSO (backing Sarah McLachlan).

Internationally, Leslie has toured Beijing and Taiwan with Toronto’s Soundstreams, and has conducted at the Wexford Opera Festival. Leslie has also been music staff with Santa Fe Opera, and L’Opera National du Rhin (France). He has conducted in Italy and the Czech Republic and last year made his debut at Carnegie Hall.

Leslie serves as the Musical Director of Vancouver Bach Choir and is Music Director Emeritus of the Vancouver Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra. He heads the Music Department at Vancouver Opera, is the Program Director of the Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists Program and host of VO’s podcast Offstage.

BRENNA CORNER | DIRECTOR

Ms. Corner has worked as a director, actor, singer, choreographer, and fight director across Canada, the United States and Europe. She is the artistic director of Manitoba Underground Opera. Brenna made her directorial debut in 2016 with VO’s Hansel & Gretel, and her American directorial debut with New Orleans
Opera’s Sweeney Todd. Since COVID she has been creating new opera experiences through film including: Don Giovanni (Seattle Opera) and Green Envelopes (Manitoba Underground Opera)

Select directing projects include: Noye’s Fludd (Glimmerglass Opera); Dead Man Walking (The Israeli Opera); Der fliegende Höllander (Cincinnati Opera & Houston Grand Opera ); L’Elisir d’amore (VO); Carmen (The Atlanta Opera); Scalia/Ginsburg, Cendrillon & La Clemenza di Tito (Manitoba Underground Opera). Brenna has a degree in music from The University of Manitoba, and theatre diplomas from Grant MacEwan College and The British American Drama Academy.

Amanda Weatherall, Yulanda M Faris Young Artists Program

AMANDA WEATHERALL | CARMEN

Mezzo-soprano Amanda Weatherall holds her MMus of vocal literature and performance from The Don Wright School of Music at Western University. Hailing from Cranbrook, BC, Amanda spent many enjoyable years at Fort Steele Heritage Town taking on the roles of various historical townsfolk. Amanda’s operatic credits include Chorus in Verdi’s Otello for the Canadian Opera Company, the title role in Bizet’s Carmen, Meg Page in Verdi’s Falstaff, and Third Lady in Mozart’s Magic Flute at Western University, and Romeo in Bellini’s i Capuleti e i Montecchi, Fox in Janáček’s Cunning Little Vixen, Olga in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin at Opera NUOVA. She has performed in many concerts including as a featured soloist with the Symphony of the Kootenay. She is thrilledn to be taking part in the Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists Program with Vancouver Opera, and is performing as the Wife in The Music Shop and Carmen in Carmen: Up Close and Personal.

Jonelle Sills, Yulanda M Faris Young Artists Program

JONELLE SILLS | MICAËLA

Canadian Soprano Jonelle Sills has been praised for her “…warm, full, elastic tone.” (Schmopera). Ms. Sills has recently been named as one of CBC Music’s classical “30 under 30”performers for 2020. Some past roles include Mimì, Musetta (La Bohème), Countess (Le Nozze di Figaro), Roselinde (DienFledermaus), Micaëla (Carmen) and Female Chorus (The Rape of Lucretia). Miss Sills is a 2019 Dora award winner for  “Outstanding performance of an Ensemble” in Vivier’s Kopernikus with Against the Grain Theatre. Ms. Sills holds an Artist Diploma from the Glenn Gould School at The Royal Conservatory of Music and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from York University. Sills originated the role of Esther in Prestini’s, Vavrek and Strassberger’s Silent Light as a Resident artist at Banff Centre’s Opera in the 21st Century Program. Jonelle is honoured to be joining Vancouver Opera’s Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists Program for the 2020–2021 season.

Ian Cleary, Yulanda M Faris Young Artists Program

IAN CLEARY | DON JOSÉ


Tenor Ian Cleary is very excited to be singing Don José in this reimagined Carmen: Up Close and Personal. Ian spent the past 2years at the University of British Columbia under the vocal instruction of J. Patrick Raftery and has been involved in several UBC Opera shows including Kevin Puts’ Silent Night, Mieczysław Weinberg’s The Passenger, Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte. Most recently, Ian sang the role of Hoffmann in their production of Offenbach’s Les contes
d’Hoffmann. In February of 2020, Ian also had the privilege of traveling to Plzen, Czech Republic and Nurnberg, Germany with UBC Opera to perform a short series of excerpt concerts with the Plzen Opera Orchestra. Prior to his time at UBC, Ian spent 4 years earning his undergraduate degree from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario where he performed his first operatic roles as the Schoolmaster in Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen (in English) and Hoffmann in Les contes d’Hoffmann.

Luka Kawabata, Yulanda M Faris Young Artists Program

LUKA KAWABATA | ESCAMILLO

Luka has been a featured soloist with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Bard on the Beach and in last season’s Vancouver Opera/Pacific Opera Victoria’s school tour of The Flight of the Hummingbird. Recent credits include the title role in Don Giovanni, Lieutenant Audebert in Silent Night, Dappertutto and Dr. Miracle in Les contes d’Hoffmann as well as Tadeusz in the Canadian Premiere of Pasażerka (The Passenger) with the UBC Opera Ensemble. He has also performed roles in the Westben Arts Festival’s La Traviata and the European Music Academy’s La Bohème and Il Barbiere di Siviglia in the Czech Republic.

Luka is a mentor for the BC chapter of Opera InReach’s outreach programs and a current participant in the Banff Centre’s Opera in the 21st Century program. He holds a Master of Music in Opera Performance from the University of British Columbia under the instruction of Peter Barcza.

MARIJKA ASBEEK BRUSSE | ASSISTANT STAGE MANAGER

Marijka is a Vancouver–based performing arts stage manager. Select stage management credits include: The Flight of the Hummingbird (Vancouver Opera / Pacific Opera Victoria), La Traviata (Vancouver Opera), Silent Light (Opera in the 21st Century at the Banff Centre for Performing Arts), Mom’s the Word 3: Nest 1/2 Empty (Belfry Theatre), Hir (Pi Theatre), C’Mon, Angie! (Touchstone Theatre), and Mixed Huts (Arts Umbrella Dance Company). As an ASM at Vancouver Opera and Pacific Opera Victoria, she has worked on productions such as La boheme, The Overcoat (co-produced with Canadian Stage and Tapestry Opera), Fidelio, Turandot, Dead Man Walking, Hansel & Gretel, and Evita, among others. Marijka is a graduate of UBC Theatre’s Production
& Design program, where she also taught stage management for seven seasons.

CHENGYAN BOON | PROJECTION DESIGNERGER

Chengyan is thrilled to be making his Vancouver Opera debut as a projection designer for this very special version of Carmen! He is delighted to be one step further along on his journey to create worlds of visual imagery onstage. Previous steps in that journey include: Yoga Play (Gateway Theatre), Jane Eyre: The
Musical (Trinity Western SAMC), Weaver Woman (Tomoe Arts) and Welcome to Thebes (United Players). Chengyan can also be found in other roles in the theatre, music and dance communities as a lighting and sound designer, stage manager, technician and technical director, most commonly at The Dance Centre, Pacific Theatre, Gateway Theatre, Tomoe Arts and Theatre in the Raw.
Design portfolio at chengyanboon.com

TINA CHANG | COACH

Pianist and coach, Tina Chang, is currently on the music staff atVancouver Opera, and most recently at Wexford Festival Opera in Ireland. Based in Vancouver, she has been involved with various musical organizations in town, including Chor Leoni, re:Naissance Opera, Health Arts Society, and Queer Arts Festival. She is currently on faculty at the Vancouver Academy of Music, and is also on the coaching staff at the University of British Columbia.

Past engagements include: faculty coach and pianist at Hawaii Performing Arts Festival; coach at UBC Summer Vocal Workshop; staff pianist and coach at soundSCAPE New Music Festival in Cesena, Italy; music director with Fear No Opera in Victoria; coach and répétiteur at Mill City Summer Opera in Minneapolis; pianist and coach with the Atelier lyrique at the Opéra de Montréal; assistant coach at Glimmerglass Opera Festival; staff coach and
sessional lecturer at Dalhousie University; pianist and coach at SongFest; and fellowships at Aspen Opera Theatre Center, Music Academy of the West, and the Vancouver International Song Institute (VISI). She has toured with Vancouver Opera In Schools (VOIS), and various members of the musical community to bring classical music to communities throughout British Columbia.

Tina holds a Bachelor of Music degree from University of British Columbia and a Master of Music degree from University of Minnesota.

Dana Fradkin, Yulanda M Faris Young Artists Program

DANA FRADKIN | ASSISTANT DIRECTOR

Dana Fradkin made her opera debut with the Canadian Opera Company’s production of La Bohème as a clown and was also an acrobat in COC’s production of Die Walküre. She then went into directing and was the director for Community Creations and Women Wisdom and Wit with Wilfred Laurier University and revival director for Brundibár with the Canadian Children’s Opera Company. She’s also assisted directed with the Banff Centre, The Glenn Gould School and Against the Grain Theatre.

Dana is also an award-winning actor, writer, and co-founder of the Dora Award winning theatre company, Keystone Theatre. She’s written and produced four short films which have toured film festivals around the world. Upcoming, Dana is thrilled to announce that her co-written webseries; The Supers, the Stoners and the Big Bad will be shooting this summer in Ottawa with Bell Fibe TV1.nnDana is a graduate of George Brown Theatre School, the Second City Conservatory and the Opera Director Residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.

ALAIA HAMER | COSTUME DESIGNER

Alaia Hamer is an emerging theatre designer and artist located in Vancouver, BC. Recent projects include costume design on The Birds and the Bees, assistant costume design for Sweat,The Humans (Arts Club Theatre Company); set design for The Drawer Boy (ETC); assistant costume for Three Winters (Amiel Gladstone); costume for C’mon Angie (Touchstone), assistant costume for Coriolanus, Taming of the Shrew, Macbeth (Bard on the Beach); set design for She Kills Monsters (UBC); along with wardrobe work and design for a variety of smaller shows and companies. Alaia is a graduate of the UBC Theatre Design program in 2017 and holds an English literature degree from 2012.

GERALD KING | LIGHTING DESIGNER

Vancouver based lighting designer Gerald King has designed extensively for a variety of theatres across North American. He works regularly with Vancouver Opera and was most recently lighting designer on The Merry Widow, Otello, Dead Man Walking, Faust and Evita. He has worked with Bard on the Beach,
The Grand Theatre, National Arts Centre, Theatre Calgary, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Citadel, Arts Club and Kokoro Dance.

Amy Seulky Lee

AMY SEULKY LEE | PROGRAM RÉPÉTITEUR

Described as “…unafraid…” and “…beautifully soloistic…” by Schmopera, Amy Seulky Lee is a sought after musician based in Vancouver and Dubai. Ms. Lee made her debut with the Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra in 2010 and has since performed in recitals across Canada. Recent concerts have included performances at the Festival de Musique de Chamber des Laurentides with Toronto Messiaen Ensemble, The Robert Gill Theatre with Summer Opera Lyric Theatre as a music director of Handel’s Julius Caesar, and Rossini’s La Cenerentola with Accademia Europea Dell’Opera under conductor Simone Luti in Italy.n

Ms. Lee received her Masters of Music degree from University of Toronto where she studied with Professor Steven Philcox and holds a Bachelors of Music degree from University of British Columbia, where was a student of Professor Terence Dawson. Throughout her career, she has had the privilege of working with world-renowned musicians, including Leon Fleisher, Graham Johnson, and Warren Jones to name a few. Along with her collaborations, Ms. Lee is a recipient of the Art Song Foundation of Canada Grant and has been a participant of the Orford Music Festival, the Vancouver International Song Institution, and the Toronto Summer Music Festival.

KINZA TYRRELL | HEAD COACH

Kinza is the Principal Répétiteur and Music Director of Vancouver Opera In Schools at Vancouver Opera. She has also been on the music faculty at the Canadian Opera Company, has worked as Conductor, Assistant Conductor and Senior Répétiteur at Opera Nuova in Edmonton and the Opera As Theatre Program at the
Banff Centre, and has held conducting and teaching positions at the University of Victoria, Vancouver Summer Opera Studio, Center for Opera Studies (COSI) in Sulmona Italy, Opera Kelowna, the Vancouver International Song Institute (VISI) and the Charlie Creek Vocal Workshop in Wabash, Indiana.

A much sought after vocal coach, accompanist and répétiteur, Kinza has shared recital stages with many renowned singers, including Richard Margison, Erin Wall, Benjamin Butterfield, Daniel Taylor, and Measha Brueggergosman.

Kinza received her Doctorate in piano and vocal coaching from McGill University under the tutelage of Michael McMahon, and studied at the Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Graz, the International Mozarteum Summer Academy in Salzburg, the Tanglewood Music Festival and the Merola Opera Program.

Offstage with Brenna Corner

Vancouver Opera Offstage

Host Les Dala talks with stage director Brenna Corner about her journey from alumnus of the Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists Program to becoming a highly sought after stage director. Brenna tells us about her personal inspirations, overcoming challenges, and her vision in developing Carmen: Up Close and Personal as a cinematic experience.

Yulanda. M Faris Young Artists Sponsors

Dr. George LuciuknAlan and Gwendoline Pyatt Foundation

Carmen: Up Close and Personal Thank Yous

Canadian Actors’ Equity
Vancouver Musicians Association
IATSE Local 118

Patricia Charles
The Edwina and Paul Heller Memorial Fund
held at Vancouver Foundation
With additional support from Mrs. Ronnie E. Tessler

Union of British Columbia
Performers UBCP/ACTRA
Orpheum Theatre,
City of Vancouver

A TRAGEDY TWICE OVER

Not only is the original opera of Carmen a tragedy for its title character, its premiere quite literally broke the composer’s heart. Critics and audiences were so offended by the carefree mores of the title character that opening night, 1875, was a disastrous flop. Composer Georges Bizet died just three months later from a heart attack, and would never see his opera achieve overwhelming worldwide acclaim.

PORTRAIT OF BIZET BY CAMILLO MIDAS.

GALLI-MARIÉ PHOTO BY ATELIER NADAR

SCANDALOUS ON AND OFF THE STAGE

Bizet re-wrote the unforgettable “Habanera” aria 14 times to adapt it for the original Carmen, Célestine Galli-Marié. Bizet and Galli-Marié were rumoured to
have been in an affair throughout the rehearsal period, which was during one of Bizet’s separations from his wife. Galli-Marié kept pet marmosets, and occasionally brought them to rehearsals.

LEFT: HENRI MEILHAC

RIGHT: LUDOVIC HALÉVY

LITERARY ORIGINS

Bizet’s opera was loosely adapted from Prosper Mérimée’s 1845 novella of the same name, in which Carmen is actually married. Bizet brought the story to the two leading Parisian librettists of the time, Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy, the latter of whom was his wife’s cousin.

ACCOLADES FROM ABROAD
Although the opera initially bombed in Paris, it soon found success outside of France in Vienna in 1875, New York, London and St. Petersburg in 1878, and returned finally to Paris in 1883. German composer Richard Strauss noted that “If you want to learn how to orchestrate, don’t study  Wagner’s scores – study the score of Carmen.” Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky called it “a masterpiece in every sense of the word”. German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche writes, “This music seems to me to be perfect… This music is wicked, subtle, and fatalistic; it remains popular at the same time… It builds, it organises, it completes… Have more painful, tragic accents ever been heard on the stage? …Finally, this music takes the auditor for an intelligent being, even for a musician.”

Behind The Lens

Behind The Lens

Throughout the COVID pandemic, VO’s digital season has been a blend of innovation, restrictions, and tradition. Carmen: Up Close and Personal continues this balancing act with a stripped-down adaptation of the classic. Staged—unconventionally—in the Orpheum Concert Hall, our Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists Program members came together alongside the Vancouver Opera Orchestra for the first time in over a year.

All season VO has practiced crucial risk management and created rigorous safety guidelines that have led to healthy and successful productions. For this reimagining of Carmen, we were focused on safely bringing our orchestra into the production while also ensuring that the director’s artistic vision
was realised. This led to some novel and inventive staging decisions.

To practice safe social distancing during this production, the VO Production team custom-built multiple large platforms into the audience to use as playing areas. This staging encompassed over 500 audience seats; however with strategic planning, only 25 of them needed to be altered to successfully achieve the idea. Video networks and projection surfaces were engineered to accommodate this alteration, and new projector and lighting beam angles were rigged to accomplish the artistic effect and help bring to life stage director Brenna Corner’s cinematic vision.

This year’s digital pivot has demonstrated how adaptable and resourceful we can be in the face of adversity. Creation is only limited by our choices and we have grown from these experiences.

AUTUMN COPPAWAY
Autumn Coppaway is Technical Director at Vancouver Opera.

WATCH THE SET-UP
Watch a time-lapse video of the set-up

Patron Information

Patron Information

Pre- Show Talks
Learn more about the Vancouver Opera production you’re about to see with our Preview Podcast! We had a special opportunity to sit down (virtually) with the director Brenna Corner.

Ticket Services
Our in-person ticket centre is temporarily closed. Digital Season subscriptions can be purchased online only at digital.vancouveropera.ca To use your credit on account or value on a gift certificate, please call the VO Ticket Centre at 604 683 0222, Monday–Wednesday, 9AM–12PM.

Your Subscription
The 2020–2021 Digital Season subscription includes unlimited on-demand access to all four performances for you and your household to enjoy. Each opera will be available on-demand from its designated Digital Premiere date until the end of the season, June 2021.

How to Watch
The performance videos will be available only with a digital subscription at digital.vancouveropera.ca. To access these videos, log in to the Digital Season website with your email and password. Content cannot be downloaded.

Device Compatibility
You will be able to access our Digital Season website from any iOS or Android smartphone, tablet, desktop or laptop computer through an internet browser.  To view a performance on your television, we recommend an AppleTV or Chromecast streaming media device, or a smart TV with a built-in internet browser. Other streaming. Other streaming media devices may also be compatible.

CLOSED CAPTIONS
Closed captions are available on all of our  digital performances by clicking the icon at the bottom of your video player.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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Vancouver Opera | Administration

Vancouver Opera | Administration

Distinguished Honorary Patron

Distinguished Honorary Patron

Martha Lou Henley, C.M

Vancouver Opera Board of Directors

Vancouver Opera Board of Directors

Chair: Richard Rees
Vice Chair: Meera Bawa

Mass Abedi
Amrita Ahuja
Alexander Bjornson
Catherine Dangerfield
Judy Halbert

Treasurer: Roger Flowerdew
Secretary: Susan Van Der Flier

Kirk LaPointe
Pierre Lebel
Maria Leone
Jennifer Muench

Past Chair:  Bill Maclagan

Jan Sampson
Carol Tsuyuki
Alexi White
Andrea Wood
Nancy Wu

Vancouver Opera Staff

Vancouver Opera Staff

Tom Wright, General Director

Jonathon Darlington, Music Director Emeritus

Director of Artistic Planning: Adrianne Wurz

Chief Development Officer: Lisa Westermark

Director of Marketing:
Sarah Hitner

Director of Finance and Administration:  Doug Querns

Artistic Planning
Artistic Associate: Leslie Dala
Artistic Planning Administrator: Theresa Tsang

Music
Associate Conductor / Chorus Director: Leslie Dala
Principal Répétiteur / Assistant Conductor /Assistant Chorus Director: Kinza Tyrrell
Répétiteur: Tina Chang
Orchestra Manager: Jim Littlefor
Music Librarian: Tom Shorthouse
Orchestra Stage Manager: Jim Tranquillan

Production
Technical Director: Autumn Coppaway
Assistant Technical Director: Michael Kern
Assistant Production Manager: Andrea Joy Rideout
Assistant Head of Properties: Stephen Elgar
Wardrobe Team Lead: Caitlin Fysh

DEVELOPMENT
Director, Donor Development: Carmen Murphy
Manager, Strategic Partnerships: Erin Reddekopp
Coordinator, Annual Campaign: Katie Clark

MARKETING
Creative Director: Annie Mack
Sr Marketing and Sales Manager: Vincent Wong
Digital Marketing Manager: Daniel Almeida
Ticket Centre Associate: Charlene Hibbard
Ticket Centre Associate: Kathryn Dobbs
Publicist: Cynnamon Schreinert

FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION
Chief Financial Officer (On Leave): Catriona Cheng
Accountant & Payroll Administrator: Will Murgatroyd
Building Manager: Kevin MacLeod
Office Services Administrator: Keltie Laidlaw

Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists Program

Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists Program

Program Head: Leslie Dala
Jonelle Sills
Amanda Weatherall

Head Coach: Kinza Tyrell
Ian Cleary
Luka Kawabata

Coach: Tina Chang
Amy Seulky Lee
Dana Fradkin

Vancouver Opera Foundation Board of Trustees 2020-2021 Season

Vancouver Opera Foundation Board of Trustees 2020-2021 Season

Chair: Paul Macewen
Jill Bodkin
Jake Boxer
Neil Carnell

Treasurer and Secretary:
Jim MacCallum
Catherine Dangerfield
Yuri Fulmer
Michael Gallagher

Emily MacKinnon
Bill Maclagan
Jennifer Muench

Terry Pask
Richard Rees
Russell Smith