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Vancouver Opera Brings Gilbert & Sullivan’s Joyful HMS Pinafore to The Queen Elizabeth Theatre for Four Performances

MARCH 22, 2022, VANCOUVER, B.C.Vancouver Opera concludes its 2021–2022 season with the joyful production of HMS Pinafore by acclaimed creative duo W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan. Four performances of the wildly popular opera will be performed at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on Saturday April 30, Thursday May 5, and Saturday May 7 at 7:30 p.m. with a 2:00 p.m. matinee on Sunday May 8.  

Gilbert and Sullivan’s comedic tale is a delightful combination of forbidden love across class divides and the shenanigans that take place along the way. Poking fun at social hierarchies and packed with absurd characters, this wildly popular operetta delivers plenty of laughs and memorable music. Building on the witty word play and comedy of this production, writer and comedian JD Derbyshire collaborated with director Brenna Corner to adapt the libretto for a modern audience. Rosemary Thompson makes her Vancouver Opera conducting debut with an all-star cast including soprano Caitlin Wood, tenor Ernesto Ramirez, baritones Jorell Williams, Peter McGillivray and Marcus Nance along with mezzo-soprano Megan Latham.  

Come aboard the HMS Pinafore where an inept Admiral who has never been upon the ocean, sets sail “over the bright blue sea”. Commanded by the beloved Captain Corcoran, the proud sailors service the ship while the handsome sailor Ralph Rackstraw dreams of love. He’s enamoured with the beautiful captain’s daughter, Josephine, who is betrothed to the hapless Admiral, but pines for the humble seaman.  Hilarity ensues during this humorous tale of love, honour and duty alongside catchy tunes.  

“Closing this successful season with this joyful production, after nearly two years of a dark theatre, is the perfect way to celebrate the return of live performances and to build excitement for what lies ahead,” said Tom Wright, Vancouver Opera General Director. “The enjoyable music of HMS Pinafore along with its many comedic elements is certain to lift the spirits of all who attend. Gilbert and Sullivan are the undisputed masters of comic operetta and we are thrilled to end our season on such a joyful high note.”     

Director Brenna Corner returns to Vancouver Opera following her digital interpretation of Carmen: Up Close and Personal and stage direction of L’elisir d’amore and Hansel & Gretel. For the past years, she has received critical acclaim directing for Seattle Opera, San Diego Opera, The Atlanta Opera, Opera on the Avalon, and Calgary Opera. Brenna is a former member of Vancouver Opera’s Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists Program.

Rosemary Thomson, currently in her fifteenth season as Music Director of the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra, makes her Vancouver Opera debut with HMS Pinafore. Ms. Thomson has been active as a guest conductor and has led many Canadian orchestras including those in Calgary, Edmonton, Kingston, National Arts Centre, Regina, Toronto, Thunder Bay, Vancouver, Victoria, and Winnipeg. Operatically, she has been on the faculty for Opera Nuova (Edmonton) for 15 seasons and has guest conducted Highlands Opera (Haliburton, Ontario), Opera Garden (Aberdeen, Scotland) and UBC Opera.

Soprano Caitlin Wood is Josephine who last performed at Vancouver Opera with “great comic flair” in her debut as Susanna in Vancouver Opera Festival’s The Marriage of Figaro. Caitlin previously portrayed Avain in City Opera Vancouver’s world premiere of Missing, showing “exquisite vulnerability.”

Tenor Ernesto Ramirez makes his Vancouver Opera debut as Ralph Rackstraw and has garnered rave reviews for his distinctive Italianate sound throughout his career. Ernesto debuted as Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly with Mexico’s Opera de Leon, Rodolfo in La Bohème with Pacific Northwest Opera, and sang his first Don Jose with Opera Kelowna’s Carmen.

Making his Vancouver Opera debut is Baritone Jorell Williams as Captain Corcoran. Career highlights include the Metropolitan Opera and Lincoln Center Theatre’s critically acclaimed co-production of Intimate Apparel, the United States / United Kingdom tour of Wynton Marsalis’ The Abyssinian Mass with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, the title role of Don Giovanni with Opera Columbus, and Charlie Parker’s Yardbird with Seattle Opera.

Baritone Peter McGillivray returns to Vancouver Opera as Sir Joseph Porterfollowing his highly praised comic performance of Don Magnifico in La Cenerentola. He has performed lead roles with the Canadian Opera Company and opera companies in Dallas, Victoria, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Manitoba, Hamilton, Ottawa and Quebec City.

Mezzo-soprano Megan Latham is Little Buttercup and last performed with Vancouver Opera as Filippyevna in Eugene Onegin and Emilia in Otello. A regular with the Canadian Opera Company, she has also performed with Pacific Opera Victoria, Calgary Opera, and Edmonton Opera.

Baritone Marcus Nance makes his Vancouver Opera debut as Dick Deadeye. Marcus has performed for opera companies across Canada and the United States including the Hawaii Opera Theatre, Chicago Opera Theatre, New York City Opera, Pacific Opera Victoria, Tapestry Opera, and many others. He is also a seasoned theatre veteran having performed several seasons at Stratford Festival and Shaw Festival.

HMS Pinafore is sung in English with English SURTITLES™ projected above the stage. Tickets for the performance are on sale through the Vancouver Opera box office either by phone at 604-683-0222 or online.  

Vancouver Opera has the continuing support of The Canada Council for the Arts, Government of Canada, the BC Arts Council and BC Provincial Government, the City of Vancouver Cultural Services and Vancouver Civic Theatres. Vancouver Opera season sponsor is BMO. Ticket Centre sponsor is Mission Hill Family Estate. For more information about the 2021–2022 Vancouver Opera Season, and to subscribe, please visit vancouveropera.ca.  
ABOUT VANCOUVER OPERA Vancouver Opera creates extraordinary experiences that engage, inspire and entertain the community through voice, music and theatre. Vancouver Opera is the second largest professional opera company in Canada and is regarded worldwide for its fine mainstage productions, country-leading education programs and innovative community programs. Learn more at www.vancouveropera.ca.
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