Opera Mariposa and Heroic Opera present
a star-studded international cast
in Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera
The first live opera I attended was at the Hollywood Bowl where from 25 rows up I watched colourful dots run across the stage belting out arias. As magical as the music was, the immense distance between me and the singers created an invisible wall of separation..
Opera Mariposa is a small production company and performances are held at small intimate venues such as churches which allows the audience to not only feel each resonating note but with each seat being in such close proximity to the stage, one can’t help but get swept up in the performance.
At Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera Opera Mariposa joined forces with the Heroic Opera to create an engaging and lively production with tenor Mark Pepe (Gustavo), baritone Andrew Greenwood (Renato) and soprano Sarah Templeton (Amelia) creating the perfect operatic trifecta.
You don’t have to be a music critic to enjoy or understand opera (there are subtitles on a screen) – all you need is the willingness to take in the splendour of the elaborate medieval costumes and the ability to allow your mind body and soul to surrender itself to the rhymetic tale of love and tragedy which is the theme of most operas.
Un ballo in Maschera is indeed the magic that feeds your soul and imagination and takes you gently by the hand on a journey of the age old story of man’s best friend coveting his wife. But the pain of betrayal is somehow lessened when set against a background of cascading melodic voices such as those presented by the talented singers from Opera Mariposa and Heroic Opera.
You can still buy tickets for the November 25 performance at Marpole United Church
Ballo Sarah Templeton, spirtis – Photo Credit: Diamond’s Edge Photography
About Un ballo in maschera
This November, two Vancouver companies will welcome audiences to opera’s most famous masked ball. The award-winning artists of Opera Mariposa and the Heroic Opera Company will present Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera on November 17 and 19 at Canadian Memorial United Church, and on November 25 at Marpole United Church. The production features two casts of performers from across five continents, directed by Vancouver Opera’s Adam Da Ros and veteran music director Richard Epp.
In Un ballo in maschera (A Masked Ball), a secret love triangle and a political conspiracy collide one fateful night at a masquerade. The opera has a controversial history, having originally been blocked by censors for depicting the assassination of a monarch. Verdi was forced to change the setting, the characters, and even the title in order to bring the opera to the stage. Now, over 150 years after Ballo’s 1859 premiere, Mariposa and Heroic are restoring the original plot and bringing Verdi’s masked ball to life with a stellar international cast.
“In so many ways, Un ballo in maschera is the ultimate opera,” says Mariposa artistic director Jacqueline Ko. “It has passion, intrigue, sorcery and spectacle – it’s a great piece of drama as well as a musical masterpiece. It also requires exceptional voices to do justice to Verdi’s lush score, which is why we’re so delighted to be working with Heroic Opera for this production.”
Heroic founder Sarah Templeton was thrilled to team up with Mariposa on a large-scale Verdi opera. “Canada has some fantastic big, dramatic voices, but there just aren’t enough role opportunities for them here – which is where Heroic Opera comes in.” At a time when opera companies everywhere are grappling with limited resources and an evolving audience base, smaller companies in particular face challenges in staging larger works. “I’m so excited that together, our companies will be able to bring this big, beautiful opera to Vancouver audiences – and showcase an incredible array of talent on the way.”
Un ballo in maschera stars Vancouver Opera tenor Mark Pepe as King Gustavo; baritones Andy Greenwood and William Liu double-cast as his friend Renato; and award-winning sopranos Templeton and Heidi Muendel as Amelia, the woman both men love. Other notable artists include mezzo-soprano Elena Razlog, recently returned from an encore concert series in Russia; award-winning mezzo-soprano Melissa Ratcliff, next set to appear at the International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival in Harrogate, UK; local soprano Kallie Clayton, just seen in Vancouver Opera’s Turandot; and German-Filipino soprano Gerphil Flores, the 2015 Asia’s Got Talent second runner-up and David Foster Golden Buzzer winner who has been dubbed “Asia’s golden girl”.
Friday, November 17, 2017 @ 7:30 pm | Sunday, November 19, 2017 @ 2:30 pm
Canadian Memorial United Church, 1806 W. 15th and Burrard, Vancouver
Saturday, November 25, 2017 @ 7:30 pm
Marpole United Church, 1296 W. 67th Ave. Vancouver
The show in brief: In Verdi’s dramatic masterpiece Un ballo in maschera, romance, sorcery and conspiracy collide one fateful night at a masquerade. Don’t miss this riveting tale of passion and intrigue, featuring two casts of acclaimed and award-winning artists from around the globe.
About Opera Mariposa
Opera Mariposa is an artist-led company that “stands at the forefront of Vancouver’s opera scene” (The Vancouver Project). They showcase exceptional young and emerging performers in a diverse program of concerts, original shows, and fully staged opera and musical theatre productions; they are also well-known for their annual benefit shows, which have raised over $50,000 to date for a variety of charities. Learn more at operamariposa.com
About Heroic Opera
Heroic Opera launched in February 2017 as a new opera company dedicated to producing the works of Wagner, Verdi, and Richard Strauss. Their aim is to enrich Vancouver’s arts scene with more great operas for big, dramatic voices; their first opera was a summer concert production of Wagner’s Die Walküre, which had not been seen in its entirety by Vancouver audiences for over 40 years. Learn more at heroicopera.com