Pacific Opera Victoria has tapped the great Verdi repertoire with recent critically acclaimed productions of Falstaff and Otello. The company's evolution continues with another masterwork, Simon Boccanegra, October 13 through 23, 2016, at the Royal Theatre in Victoria.
A political thriller based on a real-life historical figure, Simon Boccanegra is one of Verdi's most complex and dramatic operas, featuring vivid characters and some of the most beautiful and haunting music he ever wrote.
The title character, Simon Boccanegra, is a former pirate who is elected Doge (Duke) of 14th Century Genoa. The opera spans many years, in which he grapples with the chaos of politics and the unwavering enmity of the man whose daughter he once seduced. Simon learns quickly that politics is nasty (It was a Doge-eat-Doge world, quips POV Artistic Director Timothy Vernon), and he uses every means at his disposal to maintain his power. When Simon's long-lost daughter re-enters his life, everything changes, and he must struggle to protect her while facing down rebellion. An eloquent call for magnanimity and reconciliation, Simon Boccanegra shows Verdi at his most humane.
The original version of the opera premiered in 1857 and was, in Verdi's words, a fiasco. But the composer remained very fond of the work and welcomed the opportunity, nearly 25 years later, to revisit his creation with librettist Arrigo Boito. The revised opera was a triumph at its La Scala première and is now widely considered one of Verdi's most magnificent achievements.
Pacific Opera Victoria has assembled a cast of Canadian and international singers for this production.
We have one of America's true Verdi baritones in Todd Thomas, declares Timothy Vernon. His time has come to sing Boccanegra. Thomas made his POV debut as Alberich in Das Rheingold in 2014 and returned to perform Iago in last season's Otello. He has performed on opera stages across North America and with the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Seattle Opera, and Arizona Opera.
Fellow American, tenor Jason Slayden, makes his company debut in the role of Gabriele Adorno. Noted for his Verdi and Puccini repertoire, Jason has performed leading roles with Chicago Lyric Opera, Virginia Opera, and Arizona Opera.
Phillip Ens (POV's The Marriage of Figaro, 1990), returns to Victoria as Fiesco. He has appeared with opera companies and orchestras in North America and Europe, including the Stuttgart State Opera, Royal Opera Covent Garden, Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, the Canadian Opera Company and Welsh National Opera.
Soprano Lara Ciekiewicz, who made her POV debut in 2013 as Nellie Forbush in South Pacific in Concert, returns to sing her first major Verdi role, that of Simon's daughter, Amelia. Later this season she debuts with Vancouver Opera as the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro.
Baritone Brett Polegato's most recent appearance with POV was as Ford in Falstaff. He returns to sing the role of Paolo. Brett appears regularly on the world's most distinguished stages, including those of La Scala, the Concertgebouw, Opéra National de Paris, Glyndebourne Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall.
Marking her 28th POV production, stage director Glynis Leyshon, with designer Camellia Koo, has created a richly evocative theatrical setting for this timeless portrayal of human relations and political intrigue. The creative team also includes lighting designer Kevin Lamotte, projection designer Jamie Nesbitt, and choreographer Jacques Lemay.
Giuseppe Pietraroia directs the Pacific Opera Chorus, and Timothy Vernon will conduct the Victoria Symphony.
Simon Boccanegra is performed at the Royal Theatre, 805 Broughton Street, Victoria, October 13, 15 and 21, 2016, at 8 pm, and Wednesday, October 19, at 7 pm, with a matinée Sunday, October 23, at 2:30 pm. Pre-performance lectures take place in the theatre lobby one hour prior to each show. The opera is performed in Italian with English surtitles.
Priced between $25 and $135, including GST & box office service charges, tickets are available from the Royal and McPherson Box Office at 250-386-6121, or online.
Student RUSH tickets for those presenting valid student identification are available at the door of the theatre, 60 minutes prior to each performance, subject to availability. RUSH tickets are $15, inclusive of all box office charges.
For more information, contact Pacific Opera Victoria at 250-385-0222 or visit our web pages on Simon Boccanegra.
Posted September 28, 2016
Pacific Opera Victoria announces new, but familiar, Chief Executive Officer
Pacific Opera Victoria has announced the appointment of Ian Rye as Chief Executive Officer, effective September 1, 2016.
Since Patrick Corrigan announced his departure to become General Director of Opéra de Montréal, the Pacific Opera Victoria board of directors has consulted widely with the North American opera community. However, they didn't have to look far from home to find the best candidate.
"We are proud to appoint Ian Rye from within our organization", announced POV Board President, Bob Milne. "Ian's demonstrated depth of experience as an artist and an administrator convinced the Board that Ian was the best person to lead POV in the next phase of its journey, from best-in-class to world-class."
Rye joined POV in 2006 and is currently Director of Artistic Administration. He has been involved in more than 40 POV productions and has been instrumental in the development of a co-production model that has resulted in POV productions being seen on opera stages across the country. He has stewarded youth and education programs, community collaborations, and the commissioning of new works, and was key to the creation and establishment of The Baumann Centre as a community hub for increased participation in opera. In addition, he recently earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Royal Roads University.
POV's founding Artistic Director, Timothy Vernon, remarked that "Ian brings an exceptional range of pertinent experience to this position. My years of collaboration with Ian have been always productive and enjoyable. He is a consummate professional; it is thrilling to see him achieve this pinnacle from within the company. I look forward to continued association in a new key."
Rye is honoured and humbled by his appointment. "POV has established itself as a model of artistic excellence, innovation and community service" he said, "and I'm committed to making a meaningful contribution to its continued advancement. I look forward to ongoing collaboration with Timothy, the board of directors and the many supporters who have given voice to opera in this city, and propelled this organization to the vanguard of art-making in Canada."
Rye's first opera season as CEO opens with the company première of Simon Boccanegra by Verdi (October 13 to 23, 2016), followed by one of Mozart's most beloved classics, The Magic Flute (February 16 to 26, 2017). The season culminates with a newly commissioned opera based on a brilliant Canadian play, Les Feluettes (Lilies) by Bouchard/March (April 20 to 30, 2017).
Posted August 18, 2016
June 29, 2016: Pacific Opera Victoria Board President Bob Milne announced today that CEO Patrick Corrigan will leave the company in September 2016 to take the reins of Opéra de Montréal.
Originally from Montréal, Corrigan joined Pacific Opera Victoria in 2000 as director of Marketing and Development, a position he held until 2010, when he was appointed executive director and then CEO.
During his tenure, POV experienced significant artistic and revenue growth, allowing the company to continuously raise the bar on musical and production values, to develop new work, to present company and world premières, and to expand collaborative efforts with other companies. As well, Corrigan led the company through the creation of the Baumann Centre for Pacific Opera Victoria, POV's new home and a community hub for opera and music making. "Patrick helped build an incredibly strong organization and team, and the company is well positioned for continued growth" said Milne.
POV Artistic Director Timothy Vernon congratulates Corrigan on his new position, remarking, "Patrick's appointment as General Director of Opéra de Montréal is brilliant evidence that POV identifies and develops talent at all levels – not just on our stage. We have worked together for 16 years and I will miss him terribly – he is the best working partner I've ever had – but I wish him every good thing, and know his star will continue to rise and to shine."
"Pacific Opera Victoria's attainments are due to the many people in this community who open their hearts and minds to the power of opera, and to the incredible team of staff, board and artists that Timothy and I work with every day," says Corrigan. "I am extremely grateful to everyone who has supported our work and the company. Together we've made Victoria a leading centre for opera in Canada."
POV's board of directors will meet shortly to establish a process to hire a new CEO.
Posted June 29, 2016
A story everyone knows,
from the vantage of a woman no one remembers.
Pacific Opera Victoria is collaborating with City Opera Vancouver to create and produce a new opera, Missing Women, with première performances planned in Vancouver and Victoria in November 2017.
Set in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside and along the Highway of Tears, this new chamber opera is being created to give voice to the story of Canada's missing and murdered indigenous women. Distinguished Métis playwright and filmmaker Marie Clements is writing the libretto. The composer, Juno-award winning Brian Current, was chosen by jury in April 2016.
Pacific Opera Victoria is thrilled to partner with City Opera Vancouver on the creation of this important new chamber opera. Along with our librettist and composer, and a host of exciting artists, both our companies and communities will come together to explore the tragic story of Missing Women along the Highway of Tears, and to create a compelling art work of national resonance, said Patrick Corrigan, CEO of Pacific Opera Victoria.
City Opera is pleased to join with such an esteemed Canadian opera company as Pacific Opera Victoria for this project. To be able to join the divide between island and lower mainland for an important subject that speaks to us all is an important collaboration. As the Truth and Reconciliation Commission stated: 'Reconciliation calls for community action.' We are hoping that our small steps together can create larger action across Canada, added City Opera General Manager Cathleen Gingrich.
Composer Brian Current says of the libretto by Marie Clements, Her writing was so vivid and filled with such longing that it cried out to be set to music ... Our goal in writing this piece is to humanize these women and their families and to show that each and every one of these missing women is deserving of our heartbroken attention. Each death is really one hundred deaths, as it affects all those who have loved and cherished the victim, often since infancy.
As cultural boundaries have surely played a role in our national silence about these missing women, one of our goals is to use both native and non-native language alongside music to build a bridge between the cultures. I look forward to working with the entire City Opera and Pacific Opera family alongside their First Nations partners in the creation of this work.
The Vancouver Foundation has awarded City Opera a grant of $127,000 toward the creation and workshopping of Missing Women, which will continue through 2016 and 2017.
Missing Women will première on November 1, 2017, at a free, invitation-only, private event for the families. Its public run will be at Vancouver's York Theatre November 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11, immediately followed by an additional five nights at Pacific Opera Victoria.
The opera will be designed for small forces, portability, and touring. Pacific Opera Victoria and City Opera Vancouver hope to take it to Prince George, to Winnipeg, to Ottawa, and to other Canadian centres where this story needs to be heard, witnessed and discussed.
Posted June 24, 2016
Simon Boccanegra by Verdi. October 13 to 23, 2016
The Magic Flute by Mozart. February 16 to 26, 2017
Les Feluettes (Lilies) by Bouchard/March. April 20 to 30, 2017
Pacific Opera Victoria has announced an electrifying 2016/17 season that opens with the company première of a magnificent Verdi opera, followed by one of Mozart's most beloved classics. The season culminates with a newly commissioned opera based on a brilliant Canadian play.
Director Glynis Leyshon returns to direct the company première of Verdi's Simon Boccanegra. A former pirate, now the Doge of Genoa, grapples with the chaos of 14th century Italian politics and the hatred of the man whose daughter he once seduced. With its compelling, flawed characters, Simon Boccanegra is an arresting portrayal of reconciliation, mercy and the love between father and daughter. This is Verdi at his best – complex characters, intense emotions, and some of the most beautiful music he ever wrote.
Mozart's The Magic Flute is one of the most popular operas ever written. A prince teams up with his unwilling sidekick to rescue a beautiful princess. Like all epic quests, the journey is one from darkness to light, full of peril and magic. Director Oriol Tomas is joined by Cirque du Soleil designer Patricia Ruel to create a fanciful and enchanting world where nothing is as it appears.
Le Feluettes (Lilies) is a new work of uncommon dramatic intensity by a dynamic duo – Quebec playwright Michel Marc Bouchard and Australian composer Kevin March – co-commissioned by Pacific Opera Victoria and Opéra de Montréal. In 1912 a group of boys at a Quebec college rehearse The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian. As a devastating love triangle plays out, one boy dies, one is sent to prison, and another becomes a bishop. Decades later, the bishop is made to watch as prisoners re-enact the past. Based on a celebrated Canadian play by Bouchard, Les Feluettes is a romantic drama of startling beauty. The opera will première at Opéra de Montréal in May 2016 under the baton of POV Artistic Director Timothy Vernon and will conclude POV's season in April of 2017.
For more information about Pacific Opera Victoria's upcoming season, and for season tickets, call 250-385-0222, or visit our web pages on the 2016/17 season.
Posted March 2, 2016