Vancouver Opera’s 2018–9 season shines

The 2018—2019 season will open with a wonderfully lavish Art Nouveau operetta, Franz Lehár’s The Merry Widow (October 20—28, 2018, Queen Elizabeth Theatre), followed by a gloriously extravagant production of one of opera’s most enduring love stories, Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème (February 14—24, 2019, Queen Elizabeth Theatre). In the spring, VO will kick off the 2019 Vancouver Opera Festival “Fairytales & Fables” with a devilishly exciting production of Charles Gounod’s Faust (April 27-May 5, 2019, Queen Elizabeth Theatre), and an enduring rags-to-riches story that never goes out of style in Gioachino Rossini’s La Cenerentola (April 27—May 12, 2019, Vancouver Playhouse).

Subscriptions for the 2018—2019 season will be available beginning April 2, 2018. Current subscribers can lock in their reserved seats for the upcoming season from now until March 29, 2018 by calling into the VO Ticket Centre at 604 683 0222 or online at vancouveropera.ca.  Single tickets will be available beginning July 16, 2018, and the VO 2018—2019 season brochure is available now for download from VO’s website. and the VO 2018-2019 season brochure is available now for download from VO’s website.

In making the season announcement, Kim Gaynor, Vancouver Opera’s General Director, said, “I am thrilled to announce this new season and our 3rd annual opera festival. I have chosen works from the standard repertoire which will be reimagined with new productions and fresh, exciting casts offering many opportunities to Canadian talent, and to the emerging artists in our Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists Program. I have invited a number of very talented conductors who have never directed for us before, as well as welcoming back Jonathan Darlington to conduct Gounod’s Faust.”

The Merry Widow

Get ready to indulge in the Viennese torte known as Franz Lehár’s comedic operetta The Merry Widow (Die Lustige Witwe) in this wonderfully lavish Art Nouveau production directed by Canadian Kelly Robinson (last at Vancouver Opera as director of the hit production of Evita). Set in the heart of vibrant fin de siècle Paris, the wealthy widow, Hanna Glawari, sung by Italian-Canadian Lucia Cesaroni, schemes to win the heart of dashingly handsome Count Danilo, interpreted here by tenor John Cudia, recently at VO as Cassio in Verdi’s Otello. The story unfolds on a stage packed with elegant ladies, eligible bachelors, and Maxim’s famous can-can dancers. Franz Lehár’s charming score, last performed at VO in 1990, is filled with lush waltzes and ballads. Susan Memmott-Allred’s costumes and Michael Yeargan’s sets evoke the Belle Epoque period with winning style. Rising star conductor Ward Stare will direct the Vancouver Opera Orchestra.

La Bohème

This new production of La Bohème is – literally – an enormous vintage picture postcard of Paris. The curtain rises on a modern-day flea market with sellers touting their wares and an accordion duo entertaining the crowd. A present-day tourist discovers a stall specialising in objects d’art from the 1920s. Amid the bustle, a lone visitor puts a record on a vintage gramophone and we hear the opening bars of a very famous opera, transporting the audience back in time. Canadian designer and director duo André Barbe and Renaud Doucet – the team behind Turandot in 2017 – have created a gloriously extravagant production. Set in the interwar years when artists and writers flocked to Paris to live the bohemian life, Café Momus is full of flamboyant jazz-era figures, including a glamorously exotic Musetta. Canadian conductor Judith Yan makes her Vancouver Opera debut. A refreshing look at a much-loved opera.

Faust

Gounod’s Faust is the pinnacle of 19th century French opera, it’s full of rich characterization, it’s dramatically exciting, and it’s exuberantly evocative. Faust, an aged and bitter man, sells his soul to Méphistophélès in return for youth and the love of Marguerite, an innocent young woman. By trying to have it all, he loses everything. Gounod’s sensuous and sublimely melodic masterpiece will be presented in a production not seen before in Vancouver. This all Canadian cast features east-coast native David Pomeroy and Marianne Fiset, who gave a wonderfully moving interpretation of Liù in the 2017-2018 season opening production of Turandot. Making his Vancouver Opera debut is Toronto native Robert Pomakov, who appears regularly in the world’s greatest opera houses. Jonathan Darlington returns to conduct the Vancouver Opera Orchestra and Chorus.

La Cenerentola

In Rossini’s masterpiece, La Cenerentola (Cinderella), the evil stepmother trades places with a malevolent stepfather, the fairy godmother is a philosopher, and the legendary glass slipper is replaced with a bracelet. Nonetheless, the essence of the fairy-tale remains: a magical journey from rags to riches. The opera will be presented in the more intimate Vancouver Playhouse. Led by Maestro Leslie Dala, the orchestra will perform the re-orchestration of Rossini’s score. A refreshingly youthful cast will be directed by Jessie Richardson Award winner Rachel Peake who directed Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro for Vancouver Opera in 2017. Vancouver native Simone McIntosh, praised for her beautiful, gleaming high mezzo-soprano voice, sings the title role of Cinderella. This popular opera hasn’t been seen at Vancouver Opera since 1981!

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