Vancouver Opera Festival

Vancouver Opera Festival – Photo Credit

VANCOUVER OPERA FESTIVAL PROGRAM: 
COMMUNITY & SPECIAL EVENTS AND A WORLD PREMIERE

 

My Review of Faust

Boy meets girl and falls head over heels.  Boy woos girl and girl falls head over heels. Boy loses girl. Boy and girl reunite and live happily ever after. That is the plot of a typical love story, but if you’ve ever attended an opera, it’s not all that simple and someone always die at the end. Or in the middle as Marguerite’s brother, Valentine suffered the same fate as Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet and then that when the chaos begins.

If you’re someone who likes live classical music, drama and a chorus of angelic voices singing in unison, Faust checks all the boxes. The voices of Simone Osborne (Marguerite), David Pomeroy (Faust) and Robert Pomakov (Mephistopheles) work in unison like a musical triangle vibrating to their own scale.  David Pomeroy and Simone Osborne in their duets magically align their voices like an eclipse, blending one voice into another until two are one.

The only aspect that I found confusing was the trouser role of Mirelle Lebel as Siebel. When Siebel first appears at the first Act of Faust, both my friend and I thought she played the role of Marguerite as we could tell even from our 23rd row that she was no doubt a woman in pants. If this character would have been introduced after Marguerite first appears, or perhaps if she would have been made to look more like a man with a mustache and shorter hair, that would have alleviated this slight confusion about roles.

Otherwise, Faust takes love, despair, blood, death, and last of all tragedy, to weave them into a magical performance that leaves the audience spellbound from start to finish.

About the Vancouver Opera Festival Program

For the third edition of its annual Festival presented by BMO, Vancouver Opera has curated nine days of voice, music, theatre and visual arts for the curious of all ages for the Vancouver Opera Festival.

Exploring the theme of Fairytales & Fables, the celebration officially opens on April 27th with performances of the mainstage festival operas. Rossini’s much-loved La Cenerentola (Cinderella)  kicks off the day with a 2:00 p.m. matinee at the Vancouver Playhouse. Gounod’s masterpiece,  Faust will beat 7:30 p.m. at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. The celebration continues with a dynamic series of programs, panels and performances daily from April 27th to May 5th.

Festival highlights include the world premiere of Brian Current’s The River of Light  in co-production with the Vancouver Bach Choir on May 3 for one performance only. One of Canada’s outstanding composers, Brian Current conceived of this exciting large-scale oratorio for chorus, soloists and orchestra in a multi-movement composition.

On April 28th the Vancouver Opera invites audiences of all ages to its Party on the Plaza a full day of free community stage performances, workshops and activities. Watch a live circus spectacular from CircusWest at šxʷƛ̓exən Xwtl’a7shn (formerly QET Plaza), take part in a backstage tour of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, enjoy performances by the Roaming Diva, join talks and panel discussions and participate in VOF ArtWalks. These Vancouver Opera Festival events run from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with the Patio Bar open all afternoon.

The CBC Chamber Music Series returns to CBC Studio 700. These short, original chamber music concerts performed by members of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra and Chorus and invited guests feature music inspired by Fairytales and Fables. Artists will include the Bergmann Piano Duo, members of the Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists Program, and members of the Standing Wave Ensemble.

Vancouver Opera presents Opera Off Site on May 1st; pop-up performances at the Main Street Brewing Company and a screening of the 1926 black and white film adaptation of Faust at the Fox Cabaret featuring live accompaniment and special presentation of Fenlon & Fenlon featuring soprano Rachel Fenlon.

“Our Festival is evolving to be an inclusive event showcasing the finest work of Vancouver Opera as well as many of our community partners” says Vancouver Opera General Director, Kim Gaynor. “We hope to make opera more accessible by breaking down the perceived barriers to attending and inviting everyone to take part in the celebration.”

Tickets and Vancouver Opera Festival Info: Vancouver Opera Centre 604 683 0222 or vancouveropera.ca

The 2018-2019 Vancouver Opera Festival is presented by BMO
Faust production sponsor: Blakes
Faust production patrons: Martha Lou Henley, CM and Michael and Inna O’Brian
The Vancouver Opera Festival Patron is Martha Lou Henley, C.M.
Vancouver Opera has the continuing support of the Canada Council for the Arts, Canada Heritage, the BC Arts Council and BC Provincial Government, the City of Vancouver and Vancouver Civic Theatres.

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VANCOUVER OPERA FESTIVAL OPERAS

Faust
by Charles Gounod
Queen Elizabeth Theatre
Sung in French with English SURTITLES™ projected above the stage
Evening performances 7:30 p.m. Matinée performance 2:00 p.m.

Saturday, April 27, 2019
Thursday, May 2, 2019
Sunday, May 5, 2019 • matinee

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 local favourite Simone Osborne. 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
by Gioachino Rossini
Vancouver Playhouse
Sung in Italian with English SURTITLES™ projected above the stage
Evening performances 7:30 p.m. Matinée performances 2:00 p.m. Early matinée performances 12:30 p.m.

Saturday, April 27, 2019 • matinee
Wednesday, May 1, 2019
Thursday, May 2, 2019 • early matinee/relaxed performance
Saturday, May 4, 2019
Tuesday, May 7, 2019
Wednesday, May 8, 2019
Thursday, May 9, 2019
Saturday, May 11, 2019
Sunday, May 12, 2019 • matinee

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!

Tickets are available exclusively through the Vancouver Opera Ticket Centre at 604 683 0222 or online at vancouveropera.ca.  Special pricing for groups of 10 or more is available by phone.


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MUSIC AT VOF

The River of Light
Friday, May 3 at 7:30 p.m.
Queen Elizabeth Theatre
The River of Light is an exciting world premiere of a large-scale work for chorus, soloists and orchestra conceived and composed by Brian Current, one of Canada’s outstanding composers who is the recent recipient of the Jules Leger prize awarded by the Canada Council. It is a multi movement work based on transcendence as described by writers from various traditions (Hindu, Christian, Hebrew, Indigenous Canadian, Islamic, Secular and Chinese Philosophy). Presented in co-production with the Vancouver Bach Choir.

The Troubadour and the Tallow Candle
April 28 at 11:30 a.m.
CBC Studio 700
Composed and written by Lesley Sutherland featuring the Kettle Choir and Writer’s Guild in an adaptation of the recently discovered tale by Hans Christian Andersen.

CBC Chamber Music Series
An original series of five short performances of vocal and instrumental chamber music inspired by fairytales and fables. Featuring musicians from the Vancouver Opera Orchestra and invited soloists. CBC Studio 700. Tickets $35.

LEGENDS ACROSS THE AGES
April 28 at 4:00 p.m.
Art songs featuring the members of the Yulanda M Faris Young Artist Program.

SCHEHERAZADE
May 1 at 5:00 p.m.
Featuring the music of Ravel and George Crumb performed by Mireille Lebel, Leslie Dala, and Rachel Fenlon.

SPOTLIGHT ON COMPOSER BRIAN CURRENT, COMPOSER OF THE RIVER OF LIGHT
May 2 at 5:00 p.m.
Featuring soprano Caitlin Wood, pianist Tina Chang, and the Standing Wave Ensemble.

MEPHISTO’S WALTZ
May 3 at 5:00 p.m.
Featuring the Bergmann Piano Duo playing works by Ravel, Liszt and Marcel Bergmann.

ROMANTIC FAIRY TALES
May 4 at 5:00 p.m.
Featuring music by Dvorak, Debussy, Rossini, and de Sarasate.

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OPERA OFF SITE

Pop-up Performances
May 1 at 5:00 p.m.
Main Street Brewing Company

Faust
May 1 at 6:30 p.m.
Fox Cabaret
Screening of Faust, a 1926 black and white film with improvised piano accompaniment by Chris Gestrin and performance by Rachel Fenlon.


OPERA SPEAKS

Exploring opera’s music, stories and productions through informative discussions and conversation.

Opera Speaks with Paolo Pietropaulo
April 28 at 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m.
Queen Elizabeth Theatre Salon

Opera Speaks with Brian Current
April 30 at 6:00 p.m.
Queen Elizabeth Theatre Salon

Opera Speaks on Relaxed Performances: Where to Begin?
May 2 at 4:00 p.m.
Queen Elizabeth Theatre Salon

Opera Speaks with Rebecca Hass
May 4 at 11:00 a.m.
The Orpheum Annex

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BEHIND THE CURTAIN

Masterclass featuring Jonathan Darlington
May 1 and May 3 at 1:00 p.m.
Queen Elizabeth Theatre Salon
Maestro Jonathan Darlington coaches singers and provides constructive feedback in front of a live audience.

The Flight of the Hummingbird Presentation
May 4 at 2:00 p.m.
The Orpheum Annex
Composer Maxime Goulet and co-designers Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas and Barry Gilson present excepts from the weeklong music workshop. This is a chance to pull back the curtain and learn more about how opera is created.

Full festival information and the Festival Calendar is online here.
Details, programming and casting are subject to change.


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About Vancouver Opera

The Vancouver Opera creates extraordinary experiences that engage, inspire and entertain its community through voice, music and theatre. Vancouver Opera is the second largest professional opera company in Canada and is regarded worldwide for its mainstage productions, country-leading education programs and innovative community partnerships. Visit vancouveropera.ca to find out more.
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Author

Dianne

Editor in Chief of Fabulously Frugal in Vancouver.

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