Pacific Opera Victoria (POV) has earned a reputation as one of Canada's leading opera companies, thanks to its dynamic repertoire choices, its original productions, and its commitment to creating meaningful opportunities for artists and audiences. Founded in 1979 and incorporated in 1980, POV has become one of Canada's most exciting arts institutions, with an audience that is, per capita, two to five times that of any other Canadian opera company.
Pacific Opera Victoria builds opera from the ground up. We choose outstanding works from the operatic repertoire and create each production from scratch. Shaped by the creative vision of our directors and designers, each production is then built by our own team of production artists, staged in Victoria's beautiful, intimate Royal Theatre, and brought to life by a glorious collaboration of conductor and singers.
POV's diverse range of repertoire includes wholly new productions of classic favourites – inviting newcomers into the world of opera and giving experienced operagoers a fresh look at a work they know well. Recent and upcoming productions of such beloved favourites as Carmen, The Magic Flute, and Tosca present relevant, compelling productions of these classic works.
We also present less frequently performed works that allow audiences to discover wonderful works that are new to them, to explore the breadth of the repertoire and to expand their ideas of the art form.
Our commitment to diverse repertoire has resulted in several important premières. These include the 2011 world première of Mary's Wedding, a new opera commissioned by POV, with music by Andrew Paul MacDonald and libretto by Stephen Massicotte, from his award-winning play Mary's Wedding. We also presented the Canadian stage premières of Richard Strauss' Capriccio (2010) and Daphne (2007); Marc Blitzstein's Regina (2008); Lee Hoiby's The Tempest (2004); Giannini's The Taming of the Shrew (2001); Applebaum and Moore's Erewhon (2000, a POV world première); Montemezzi's L'Amore dei Tre Re (1996); and Carl Maria von Weber's Der Freischütz (1994). In 2014 we presented the first standalone Canadian production of Wagner's Das Rheingold outside the Ring Cycle – it was only the second production of Das Rheingold by a Canadian company.
In January 2015, we opened the Baumann Centre for Pacific Opera Victoria. The Centre houses our administration and box office, our opera rehearsals, and our education and engagement programs. It will increase our community impact and collaborative capacity, providing an acoustically engineered space for music making and opening the door to new collaborations. Through partnerships with regional music organizations, we are integrating our programs to make the Opera Centre a community centre for artist training and youth education.
The heart of the Baumann Centre is Wingate Studio, the rehearsal/recital hall. Its crowning glory is a cedar acoustic installation created and donated by Kwagiulth and Coast Salish artist Carey Newman, a former opera singer. Carey designed this magnificent work of First Nations art to create a space that is practical, beautiful and inspirational – a community space dedicated to the creation of art and music.
POV is the only major opera company in Canada to build its own sets exclusively, a fact that allows us greater programming creativity than companies that rent existing productions. POV maintains its own scene and costume shop in a newly renovated 10,000 square foot production facility. This production facility is the largest of its kind on Vancouver Island, offering employment to over 50 regional theatre professionals.
It is our goal to provide challenging artistic opportunities to artists at all stages of their careers. POV's casts and creative teams are drawn from Canada's finest artists working here and abroad.
Because we present original productions of diverse repertoire, we can offer unique opportunities to many of Canada's most respected directors, designers, and singers. Canadian performers with international careers can explore unique opportunities at POV. In fact, over 90% of POV's singers are offered the chance to perform their roles here for the very first time.
Pacific Opera Victoria has presented debut performances by such exceptional singers as Richard Margison, Paul Frey, Michael Schade, John Fanning, Barbara Livingston, Nathalie Paulin, and Julie Nesrallah, and showcased many more of Canada's finest opera singers, often in role debuts.
Many directors, including Robert Carsen, Christopher Newton, Glynis Leyshon, Michael Shamata, Dennis Garnhum, and Oriol Tomas, made their mainstage Canadian operatic debuts with POV, and the company continues to provide exciting creative opportunites for directors, designers, singers, and production artists.
As POV is the only company in Canada to build all of its productions, established and emerging designers have a rare opportunity to design for opera in Canada. And rather than recreate existing productions, POV's directors are able to explore the art form from the ground up.
POV is also deeply committed to nurturing emerging artists. Each year several promising artists are offered their professional debuts in leading roles alongside seasoned artists of significant experience. Our artist training programs offer important coaching and performance opportunities, as well as mainstage debuts, to young singers and emerging professionals.
Timothy Vernon, the company's founding Artistic Director, brings to the organization years of proven artistic vision. Mr. Vernon has demonstrated a keen eye for identifying new talent and providing a constructive environment for artists to fully develop their craft. Mr. Vernon has also been responsible for "pushing the repertoire envelope" for a company of this size. This unique vision has fueled the community's interest in the company, attracted a wide range of artists and allowed the entire company to be enthusiastic about producing opera at an exceptionally high level.
Patrick Corrigan has been with Pacific Opera Victoria since 2000, serving as Director of Marketing and Development and becoming Executive Director in 2010. He has an MBA in Executive Management from Royal Roads University, achieved with support from Pacific Opera Victoria, and he completed his undergraduate studies in music at McGill University. Since he joined POV, the company has more than doubled its annual operating resources. The financial growth facilitated artistic growth, and allowed the company to continuously raise the bar on musical and production values. He is also President of Opera.ca, the Canadian Association of Professional Opera Companies.
Pacific Opera Victoria's Mission is to create a dynamic operatic experience, and to inspire our audiences, artists, and community.
Our Artistic Mission is to pursue excellence in the presentation of diverse repertoire, through innovative original productions and detailed performance practice, and to provide opportunity to artists throughout Canada at all stages of their careers, from student to mentor. In doing so, we will advance and preserve the traditions of our art form.
Our Community Mission is to engage diverse audiences from Vancouver Island and beyond in the communicative power of opera at performances and imaginative community events, and to encourage the use of opera as a resource for educators to enrich the learning of young people. In doing so, we will play a leadership role in enhancing the vitality of life on Vancouver Island.
Our Financial Stewardship Mission is to invite wide public and private investment in our activities by building strong relationships with our supporters, thoughtfully stewarding our financial resources, and ensuring effective, renewable leadership from an ensemble of Board, Staff, Artists and Volunteers. In doing so, we will ensure that our company remains dynamic as an institution of lasting importance.
We create opportunity. Audiences experience the full breadth of the operatic repertoire in performances that aspire to and achieve world class festival standards. Experienced artists are able to take risks in a nurturing environment, through professional debuts, major role debuts, and in repertoire that they may not otherwise have the chance to explore. Directors and designers can create original productions rather than adapt to existing ones. Young artists grow as they develop their own unique artistic voices. Students and educators can learn through opera while discovering the joys of performing arts. The entire community will be able to explore how the arts reflect and affect our lives today. In our vision, everyone will have the opportunity to make opera a part of their lives.
Her Honour, The Honourable Judith Guichon OBC
Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia