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The Rake's Progress, 2009. David Cooper Photography

Charpentier Operas March, 2014
Ariadne auf Naxos February, 2014
South Pacific in Concert November, 2013
Falstaff October, 2013
Timothy Vernon Awarded Honorary Degree June, 2013


 

La Descente d'Orphée aux Enfers and La Couronne de Fleurs

A rare double bill of Baroque Opera


March 14 and 15, 2014, 8 pm, at the McPherson Playhouse

The Early Music Society of the Islands and Pacific Opera Victoria present, for the first time in Victoria, the Boston Early Music Festival, in a stunning operatic double bill. La Descente d'Orphée aux Enfers and La Couronne de Fleurs, composed by Marc-Antoine Charpentier, will be presented March 14 and 15, 2014, at 8 pm at Victoria's McPherson Playhouse.

Staged by one of the world's leading baroque ensembles, the operas are a brilliant fusion of music, drama and dance. Paul O'Dette and Stephen Stubbs, reigning authorities on early music, lead the internationally acclaimed singers, instrumentalists and dancers of the Boston Early Music Festival.

La Descente d'Orphée aux Enfers and La Couronne de Fleurs, dating from 1685 and 1686, are presented as a play within a play – a musical contest framing the story of Orpheus and Euridice. La Couronne de Fleurs, based on a text by Molière, depicts a musical contest in tribute to Louis XIV, in which shepherds vie for a crown of flowers from the goddess Flora for the most beautiful and eloquent aria in praise of the Sun King. The short opera La Descente d'Orphée aux Enfers is presented as an entry in the poetic contest, telling the famous story of Orphée, who descends into the underworld to use his musical powers to rescue his beloved Euridice.

These miniature masterpieces showcase one of the great composers of the French Baroque, explains Timothy Vernon, Artistic Director of Pacific Opera Victoria. A couple of generations before Bach and Handel, Charpentier was in the vanguard of opera development in France.

Charpentier was profoundly sensitive to text and to drama, and his music is arrestingly personal. His gift for creating appealing melodies; for creating contrast of mood and color; for employing the instrumental resources available to him with infinite imagination and care; for balancing the elements of musical storytelling – singing, playing, dancing – all combine to make him one of the most attractive and accessible of French Baroque composers.

James Young, Artistic Director of the Early Music Society of the Islands, explains that the double bill is one of the most ambitious productions in EMSI's almost thirty-year history. For the first time, Victoria audiences will have the opportunity to experience a semi-staged baroque opera, performed in a period style by one of the world's leading baroque music ensembles. The Boston Early Music Festival is passionate about the historical context of this music and the performance practice.

The Boston Early Music Festival is a leader in the performance of music from the Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and Classical eras, acclaimed internationally for their artistry, technical polish, style, scrupulous research, and above all excitement and drama.

Close to thirty singers, dancers, and musicians will travel to Victoria for the March performances. For one performer, the trip will be a home-coming of sorts. Victoria-raised baritone Tyler Duncan has received critical acclaim for his roles in Baroque opera and has appeared in opera houses and concert halls across North America. He has performed with the Boston Early Music Festival as Raymondo in Handel's Almira, and was last seen in Victoria as Dandini in Pacific Opera Victoria's production of Rossini's Cinderella.

La Descente d'Orphée aux Enfers and La Couronne de Fleurs are directed by Gilbert Blin. Paul O'Dette and Stephen Stubbs are music directors and conduct the Festival ensemble. Costume design is by Anna Watkins and choreography by Melinda Sullivan.

This presentation of Charpentier's operas is the first collaboration of Pacific Opera Victoria and the Early Music Society of the Islands. Both companies are excited to offer their audiences a broader experience of baroque work and to expose them to Boston Early Music Festival's exciting baroque practice – including authentic baroque instruments, vocalism, and movement. Young and Vernon agree that the performance is a rare treat for Victoria and something that no music or opera lover should miss.

La Descente d'Orphée aux Enfers and La Couronne de Fleurs are presented
March 14 and 15, 2014, at 8 pm
at the McPherson Playhouse, 3 Centennial Square, Victoria
.

The operas are performed in French with English surtitles.

Priced between $65 and $85, tickets are available from Pacific Opera Victoria at 250-385-0222 or from the Royal and McPherson Box Office at 250-386-6121, or online. Friday Gala tickets are available for $125.

For more information, contact Pacific Opera Victoria at 250-382-1641 or the Early Music Society of the Islands at 250-882-5058, or visit POV's web pages on the Charpentier Operas .


 

Ariadne auf Naxos
Playfully serious. Seriously playful


February 13, 15, and 21, 2014, at 8 pm, and February 23 at 2:30 pm

Pacific Opera Victoria presents Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos, a witty mash up of high-brow opera and earthy comedy, February 13 through 23, 2014 at the Royal Theatre in Victoria, BC.

The richest man in Vienna is hosting a party and will treat his guests to a newly commissioned opera, The Tragedy of the Jilted Ariadne, followed by a burlesque farce, The Fickle Zerbinetta and Her Four Lovers.

Preparations backstage are in full swing when the patron announces that dinner is running late and both works must therefore be staged simultaneously. The players cry Foul! How can a tragedy and a comedy be presented at the same time? The Composer bewails the fate of his creation while the Tenor and the Prima Donna bicker over musical cuts. What follows is a collision of comedy and tragedy as the players are compelled to follow the old theatrical maxim, "the show must go on".

Ariadne auf Naxos is a show within a show, a mash up of tragedy and comedy, myth and realism, in which different art forms fight for equal rights, and everyone wins, especially the audience! It is a unique and beautiful work that laughs at opera, even as it celebrates it.

In a season of large ensemble works marked by company debuts, POV's production of Ariadne auf Naxos welcomes a dozen new artists to Victoria.

Canadian tenor Roger Honeywell makes his Pacific Opera Victoria debut as the Tenor and Bacchus, a role he covered with the Canadian Opera Company. Mr. Honeywell returned to the Canadian Opera Company recently as Bob Boles opposite Ben Heppner in Peter Grimes. After a career as an actor working at many of the country's foremost companies including five seasons with the Shaw Festival and five seasons with the Stratford Festival, Mr. Honeywell joined the Canadian Opera Company's young artist program. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2008.

Colleen Skull, a frequent performer with opera companies and orchestras across Canada, makes her POV debut as the Prima Donna and Ariadne.

Arminè Kassabian has taken the opera scene by storm with awardwinning performances in the US, Canada, Italy and China. Ms. Kassabian makes her POV debut as the Composer.

Suzanne Rigden, acclaimed for her remarkable gift for stratospheric coloratura, is making her mark in opera and concert halls from Nova Scotia to San Francisco, and joins POV in the role of Zerbinetta.

John Brancy joins the cast as Harlequin. Mr. Brancy has performed on concert stages across Europe as well as for Dresden Semperoper, Paris' Théâtre du Châtelet, and Juilliard Opera.

Ariadne auf Naxos is directed by Oriol Tomas (POV's Rodelinda). POV Artistic Director, Timothy Vernon, Canada's foremost authority on Strauss, conducts the Victoria Symphony. Set design is by Ian Rye, costume design by Sheila White, choreography by Jacques Lemay, and lighting design by Kimberly Purtell.

Ariadne auf Naxos opens on February 13 and continues on February 15 and 21, 2014, with a matinée February 23, at the Royal Theatre, 805 Broughton Street in Victoria. Evening performances begin at 8pm with pre-performance lectures at 7:00pm. Matinée performance on February 23rd begins at 2:30 pm, with pre-performance lecture at 1:30 pm. The opera is performed in German with English surtitles.

Priced between $40 and $125, 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 POV's web pages on Ariadne auf Naxos.


 

SOUTH PACIFIC IN CONCERT
Rodgers' and Hammerstein's Glorious Musical
On Stage at the Royal Theatre

Pacific Opera Victoria and the Victoria Symphony join forces for Victoria's first professional production of the much loved Rodgers and Hammerstein masterpiece, South Pacific, November 23 and 24 at the Royal Theatre in Victoria.

Based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning book by James Michener, SOUTH PACIFIC is a sweeping romantic story of two unlikely couples on a small island during WWII. The 1949 musical snagged 10 Tony Awards (Broadway's version of the Oscar), and a 2008 revival at Lincoln Center in New York grabbed another seven.

South Pacific is endowed with hit after hit: "Younger than Springtime", "Bali H'ai", "Some Enchanted Evening", "There is Nothin' Like a Dame", "This Nearly Was Mine". The POV/VS production includes all of the dialogue and music of the Broadway show in a rich, theatrical presentation, with cast and orchestra sharing the stage.

"This is a first", declared POV Artistic Director Timothy Vernon. "It's the first time that Victoria audiences will experience this Broadway musical with a full orchestra and beautiful operatic voices, and it's the first co-production of our two pre-eminent professional arts organizations."

Welsh baritone Jason Howard interrupted his international opera career to portray Emile de Becque in the Lincoln Center Theater revival of South Pacific. To quote Richard Ouzounian of the Toronto Star, Jason Howard is, quite frankly, a perfect Emile de Becque ... He knows how to dispense both elegant sophistication and uncensored emotion with equal ease. And his voice – the aural equivalent of a finely polished piece of mahogany – adds incredible depth and texture to those heartfelt Rodgers tunes.

"Opera audiences will remember Jason from his appearances here in the title roles of The Barber of Seville and Eugene Onegin" said Vernon. "We are all delighted to welcome him back to the Royal Theatre in this iconic role".

Joining Jason Howard in the cast of South Pacific are Lara Ciekiewicz as Ensign Nellie Forbush, Adam Fisher as Lieutenant Joe Cable, and Lynne McMurtry as Bloody Mary. All three are critically acclaimed performers making their POV debuts.

Whether being hailed as "mesmerizing" (Classical Voice of North Carolina), or "a clear standout" (San Francisco Classical Voice), Lara Ciekiewicz is quickly making her mark as a compelling, intelligent, and accomplished singing-actress. A graduate of l'Atelier lyrique de l'Opéra de Montréal, she has performed throughout the US and with Manitoba Opera.

Canadian tenor Adam Fisher has performed with Voicebox/Opera in Concert, Toronto Operetta Theatre and Edmonton Opera. He recently performed in Best of Broadway, a concert of favourite Rodgers and Hammerstein songs with Chorus Niagara and was a guest artist with Vancouver's popular Music in the Morning for "I Got Rhythm: The Songs of George Gershwin".

Mezzo-soprano Lynne McMurtry has performed with the symphony orchestras of Boston, Charleston, Winnipeg, and Edmonton, among others, and with the Canadian Opera Company, Opera Ontario, Manitoba Opera, Opera in Concert, and at Tanglewood and Ravinia.

South Pacific is staged by renowned Canadian director/choreographer Jacques Lemay and conducted by POV's Artistic Director, Timothy Vernon. Scenic design is by Ian Rye with lighting design by Adam Wilkinson.

South Pacific is presented November 23 at 8pm and November 24 at 2:30pm, at the Royal Theatre, 805 Broughton Street in Victoria. Priced between $35 and $85, including GST & box office service charges, tickets are available from the Royal and McPherson Box Office at 250-386-6121, or online.

For more information visit our South Pacific web page or contact Pacific Opera Victoria at 250-385-0222.


 

FALSTAFF
Shakespeare invented him. Verdi makes him sing.


Pacific Opera Victoria jump starts the opera season with FALSTAFF, Verdi's joyous celebration of Shakespeare, October 17 through 27 at the Royal Theatre in Victoria.

Sir John Falstaff is a portly, ageing scoundrel with a voracious appetite for booze, food, and women! He is a hero of truly operatic proportions, squeezing every morsel of pleasure out of life.

Crammed full of delicious tunes and brimming with hilarity and romance, Falstaff is a feast of an opera for the audience and the singers alike.

Brian Bannatyne-Scott of Edinburgh returns to POV for the title role, which he performed previously in Bielefeld, Germany. Falstaff is one of the most rewarding roles anyone could wish for, he says. I love its zest and bubbling enthusiasm. Friends suggested that because of my liking for good food and wine, I'm a natural for the role, but I still do have to wear a fat suit!

POV Artistic Director Timothy Vernon laughingly agrees that Bannatyne-Scott is perfectly suited for the role of Falstaff. Brian is a richly gifted singer and a comedic actor who will embody the character completely. His performance as La Roche in our production of Capriccio was an audience favourite and we are thrilled to welcome him back to Victoria.

There are many familiar faces and voices in POV's 100th production. Joni Henson, most recently POV's Tosca, sings the role of Alice Ford. Mia Lennox-Williams is Meg Page, and Colin Ainsworth is Fenton. They were last seen in POV's The Rake's Progress. Megan Latham received critical acclaim for her role in POV's Rodelinda and returns as Mistress Quickly. POV is delighted to welcome Brett Polegato in the role of the jealous husband, Ford. It's been 20 years since his performances in The Merry Widow, Don Pasquale, and La Bohème, and he's been enjoying a stellar international career. Rachel Fenlon, Josh Lovell, and Jeremy Bowes make their hometown opera debuts as Nanetta, Bardolfo and Pistola. Christopher Mayell makes his POV debut as Dr. Caius, a role he recently performed with Calgary Opera.

Pacific Opera Victoria comes full circle with Falstaff. The first production, in 1979, of the newly minted Pacific Opera Association was Otto Nicolai's The Merry Wives of Windsor – same story; different music.

Falstaff is directed by Glynis Leyshon, with set and costume design by Leslie Frankish, and lighting by Kevin Lamotte.

Falstaff opens October 17 and continues October 19, 23 and 25, 2013, with a matinée October 27, at the Royal Theatre, 805 Broughton Street in Victoria. Evening performances begin at 8pm with pre-performance lectures at 7:00pm. Matinée performance on October 27th begins at 2:30 pm, with pre- performance lecture at 1:30 pm. The opera is performed in Italian with English surtitles.

Priced between $40 and $125, 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 MAY be available at the door of the theatre, 45 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 POV's Falstaff page.

Posted October 16, 2013



TIMOTHY VERNON AWARDED HONORARY DEGREE

Timothy Vernon

Founding Artistic Director of Pacific Opera Victoria, Timothy Vernon will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Royal Roads University on June 19, 2013. The honour is in recognition of his strong leadership in and contributions to Canada's cultural scene, demonstrating a standard of excellence that inspires graduates and sets an example for positive change in the world.

Opera is a story told in music and there are many, many stories. Some of them are disturbing, controversial, open-ended and unresolved. All of these things should be present in art because art should make you think ... Our art is the best of us after all ... It represents the very best enrichment humankind represents. We need as much of that as we can get.
Timothy Vernon

Community of sound: Royal Roads News

About Timothy Vernon

Posted June 15, 2013


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