Otello, 2015. David Cooper Photography


Rinaldo by Handel
A spectaclular Baroque masterwork

Pacific Opera Victoria presents Rinaldo, an exotic story of adventure and danger, heroism and love, April 19 through 29, 2018, at the Royal Theatre, 805 Broughton Street, in Victoria.

Rinaldo was Handel's first big hit for the London stage, and for good reason: the opera brims with ravishing music and dazzling special effects. The libretto by Giacomo Rossi is loosely based on the 16th century epic poem Gerusalemme liberata by Torquato Tasso.

As the opera opens, General Goffredo and the mighty knight Rinaldo are leading an army against Argante, king of Jerusalem, and the wicked sorceress Armida. When Armida kidnaps Rinaldo's fiancée Almirena, he must call on the power of magic to help him rescue his true love. More complications ensue when Armida tries to seduce Rinaldo and Argante falls in love with Almirena.

Pacific Opera Victoria has previously tapped Handel's repertoire with critically acclaimed productions of Julius Caesar, Semele, and Rodelinda. Rinaldo is the first of the many operas the great German-born composer wrote for the British public.

"With Rinaldo, Handel staked an irresistible claim to his new position as the prime mover of opera in London in the first half of the eighteenth century," says POV Artistic Director Timothy Vernon. "Telling a story certainly no more absurd than, say, Il Trovatore, and with music no less inspired, Handel displays his dazzling, virtuosic command of the form in a brilliant succession of arias and orchestral ensembles by turns moving and thrilling. Rinaldo is a masterwork."

Director Glynis Leyshon, a favourite of Pacific Opera Victoria audiences, returns to direct this company première. She is joined by designer Pam Johnson (POV's Vanessa), lighting designer Eric Champoux (The Magic Flute), and projection designer Corwin Ferguson. Timothy Vernon conducts the Victoria Symphony.

In a season of works marked by world, company and artist debuts, POV's production of Rinaldo welcomes four new artists to Victoria.

Russian countertenor Andrey Nemzer makes his POV and role debut as Rinaldo. Mr. Nemzer has performed with the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Pittsburgh Opera and Opera San Antonio. Pittsburgh in the Round describes Mr. Nemzer's voice as brilliant ... capable of astonishing high tones and cavernous lows, with great dexterity in both registers and everything in the middle.

Also making their debuts with POV are three Canadian singers. Stéphanie Lessard, a frequent performer in opera houses and on concert stages across Eastern Canada and the United States, makes her debut as Almirena. Lyric soprano Jennifer Taverner, who sings Armida, is in high demand as a soloist with orchestras and opera companies across Canada. Baritone Christopher Dunham, a recent graduate from L'Atelier lyrique de L'Opéra de Montréal, performs the role of Argante.

Familiar faces in the cast include countertenor David Trudgen (POV's A Midsummer Night's Dream) who returns to Victoria for the role of Goffredo. Baritone Bruce Kelly, who has performed frequently with POV, most recently in The Magic Flute, will sing the role of the Magician.

Rinaldo opens on April 19, 2018, and continues April 21 and 27 with a matinée April 29, at the Royal Theatre, 805 Broughton Street in Victoria. Evening performances begin at 8 pm with pre-performance lectures at 7 pm. Matinée performance on April 29 begins at 2:30 pm, with pre-performance lecture at 1:30 pm. The opera is performed in Italian with English surtitles.

Priced between $25 and $140, 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, contact Pacific Opera Victoria at 250-385-0222 or visit POV's web pages on Rinaldo.

April 10, 2018


Pacific Opera Victoria announces its 2018/19 season

Pacific Opera Victoria's 2018/19 season includes two well-known masterworks by major composers as well as a delightful work from the classical operetta repertoire.

The season opens October 11, 2018, with Beethoven's only opera, Fidelio. Wim Trompert, director of POV's 2014 production of Das Rheingold, returns to direct this production, joined by his design partner from Das Rheingold, Nancy Bryant. Fidelio, which runs through October 21, will feature soprano Tracy Cantin as Leonore. Also in the cast are Canadian baritone Peter McGillivray and Scottish bass Brian Bannatyne-Scott.

Following Fidelio will be Verdi's masterpiece, La traviata. This is an historic co-production by five Canadian opera companies: Manitoba Opera, Edmonton Opera, Pacific Opera Victoria, Vancouver Opera and Opéra de Montréal. Directed by Alain Gauthier, the production will be staged in Victoria from February 14 to 24, 2019, and will feature Lucia Cesaroni as Violetta and James Westman as Germont.

After the dramatic intensity of Fidelio and romantic tragedy of La traviata, Emmerich Kálmán's Countess Maritza will provide a light-hearted end to the season. The production, which runs April 25 to May 5, 2019, is directed by Glynis Leyshon and designed by Patrick Clark, the team behind POV's 2013 production of Albert Herring. Countess Maritza will feature sopranos Leslie Ann Bradley and Suzanne Rigden and tenor Adam Luther.

All 2018/19 season productions will be presented at Victoria's Royal Theatre and conducted by Timothy Vernon.

For information and season tickets, visit POV's 2018/19 Season Page or call 250-385-0222.

February 16, 2018


Puccini's La Bohème, February, 2018

A thrilling cast of exciting and familiar voices returns to Pacific Opera Victoria for Puccini's La Bohème, a bittersweet tale of young, impoverished artists experiencing friendship, love and loss. La Bohème is presented February 15 to 25, 2018, at the Royal Theatre, 805 Broughton Street.

The opera is a portrayal of the Bohemian life – la vie de Bohème – a free-spirited, romantic counterculture of starving artists in freezing garrets, meeting life with camaraderie, bravado, love, and heartbreak.

Puccini's ultimate tear-jerker about love and loss, La Bohème is also full of light-hearted moments as the story follows the relationships of two Parisian couples – the poet Rodolfo and the seamstress Mimi, and their friends, the artist Marcello and his capricious lover Musetta.

The inspiration for popular contemporary works such as the Broadway musical Rent and the film Moulin Rouge, La Bohème reigns as one of the most popular operas of all time, maintaining a consistent place near the top of the opera hit parade. Puccini's music never disappoints – sparkling with humour, pouring out rapturous melodies – it is always completely irresistible.

Pacific Opera Victoria is delighted to welcome soprano Lucia Cesaroni in her role debut as Mimi. An early participant in POV's Resident Artist program, Ms. Cesaroni has sung major roles on opera stages across Canada and in Europe. She was last seen at POV as Woglinde in Das Rheingold and Anne Trulove in The Rake's Progress.

American tenor Jason Slayden (Adorno in POV's Simon Boccanegra) returns to POV as Rodolfo, having previously sung the role for Vancouver Opera, Arizona Opera, and Virginia Opera. Musetta and Marcello are played by internationally acclaimed artists Sharleen Joynt (the Queen of the Night in POV's recent production of The Magic Flute) and Brett Polegato (Paolo in POV's Simon Boccanegra). They are joined by Stephen Hegedus (Colline), Andrew Love (Schaunard), and J. Patrick Raftery (Benoît/Alcindoro), along with Joé Lampron, Taylor Fawcett, Louis Dillon and Christopher Hinz in supporting roles, and the POV Chorus and members of the Victoria Children's Choir.

Director Maria Lamont has been an assistant and a revival director for opera companies world-wide, including La Scala, La Monnaie, Brussels, and Theater an der Wien. Designer Camellia Koo's credits include the Shaw and Stratford Festivals and opera companies in Canada, the US, and Europe. Ms. Lamont and Ms. Koo created POV's 2012 production of Maria Stuarda and have reunited for this original production of La Bohème, which they have set in Paris in the early 1950s. Lighting designer Kevin Lamotte returns to POV for his sixth production. Giuseppe Pietraroia conducts the Victoria Symphony.

La Bohème is performed at the Royal Theatre, 805 Broughton Street, Victoria, February 15, 17, and 23, 2018, at 8 pm, Wednesday, February 21, at 7 pm, and Sunday, February 25, 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, and the approximate running time is 150 minutes, including one intermission.

Priced between $25 and $140, 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, contact Pacific Opera Victoria at 250-385-0222 or visit POV's web pages on La Bohème.

February 12, 2018


Pacific Opera Victoria Association
Annual General Meeting

Monday, December 4, 2017, 5 pm
Wingate Studio, the Baumann Centre
925 Balmoral Road, Victoria, BC

Business will include presentation of annual reports and the audited financial statements, as well as election of Directors and a vote on a Special Resolution to amend the Bylaws.

Notice of Special Resolution
The following special resolution will be put before the Members at the AGM:
BE IT RESOLVED that the existing bylaws of the Pacific Opera Victoria Association be deleted in their entirety and the attached Bylaws be adopted as the Bylaws of the Association.

Download PDF of Proposed Bylaws

All members of the Society are invited to attend the AGM.

RSVP to 250-382-1641 or by November 28.

Posted September 22, 2017. Updated November 12, 2017


Missing: a New First Nations Opera, November, 2017

by Marie Clements and Brian Current
A story everyone knows,
from the vantage of a woman no one remembers

Missing is a new chamber opera created by BC's foremost Indigenous playwright and filmmaker, Marie Clements, with music by Juno award-winning composer Brian Current. Set in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside and on the Highway of Tears, Missing gives voice, in English and Gitxsan, to the story of Canada's missing and murdered Indigenous women. Following a world première in Vancouver, the opera is presented in Pacific Opera Victoria's Baumann Centre, 925 Balmoral Road, November 17 to 26, 2017.

The commission and production of Missing is a partnership between Pacific Opera Victoria and City Opera Vancouver, with a team of First Nations opera artists. The opera is directed by distinguished playwright and director Peter Hinton, and conducted by Timothy Long, who has conducted for Boston Lyric Opera, New York City Opera, and Opera Theatre of St. Louis, among others. Mr. Long is also founding conductor of The Coast Orchestra, an all-Native American orchestra of classically trained musicians.

The cast of Missing features Métis Canadian coloratura soprano Melody Courage and Alberta-born soprano Caitlin Wood (POV's Mary's Wedding school tour), along with Kwagiulth and Stó:lō mezzo soprano Marion Newman (POV's Cinderella) and mezzo-soprano Rose-Ellen Nichols, who created the title role in the opera Pauline, by Margaret Atwood and Tobin Stokes. Also in the cast are mezzo-soprano Heather Molloy, tenor Kaden Forsberg, and bass baritone Clarence Logan.

Andy Moro is the Scenic and Projection Designer for the production, with costume design by Carmen Thompson, lighting by John Webber, and sound design by Sandy Scofield.

Missing premières in Vancouver, November 3 to 11, followed by performances at the Baumann Centre in Victoria on November 17, 21, 22, 23, 25 at 7 pm and November 19 and 26 at 4 pm. Performed in English and Gitxsan, with English surtitles, the opera is approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes long, with no intermission. Cultural support is provided at each performance in partnership with Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society.

Tickets for public performances of Missing are now sold out. Those interested in attending may phone the Pacific Opera Victoria Box Office at 250-385-0222 and add their name to the waitlist. Any tickets available will be sold in advance only – $30 adults/$15 students. General seating. Doors open 30 minutes prior to each performance.

Along with public performances of Missing, community engagement initiatives honour the power of art and the spirit of conciliation. Developed by Kwagiulth artist Carey Newman, a member of Pacific Opera Victoria's Board, and POV's Community Engagement Coordinator Ron Rice, with the guidance and counsel of First Nations advisors, events include the following:

  • An Invitation-Only performance November 16 for the families who have experienced loss and the individuals and agencies who support them.

  • A screening of The Road Forward, Saturday, November 18, at 7 pm, at the Vic Theatre. This musical documentary by Marie Clements connects a pivotal moment in Canada's civil rights history – the beginnings of Indian Nationalism in the 1930s – with the powerful momentum of First Nations activism today. Ms. Clements will be in attendance, and a question-and-answer session will take place after the screening. Tickets are available from the Victoria Film Festival (250-389-0444 or Online.

  • Classical Music and Indigenous Culture panel discussion. Saturday, November 25, at 2 pm at the Baumann Centre, 925 Balmoral Road, Victoria. A discussion of Indigenous adaptations to introduced cultural practices like opera and "classical" music with Kwakwaka'wakw artist Lou-ann Neel. Coast Salish violinist Swil Kanim (Lummi, WA) hosts and performs. Attendance is free but reservations are required due to space limitations. Call Pacific Opera Victoria at 250-382-1641 or reserve by email to .

Missing is made possible by the extraordinary support of funders, including The Vancouver Foundation, which provided a $127,000 creation grant. Missing is one of 200 exceptional projects funded through the Canada Council for the Arts' New Chapter program. With this $35M investment, the Council supports the creation and sharing of the arts in communities across Canada. Pacific Opera Victoria is profoundly grateful for their confidence, faith, and vision and is similarly grateful for the support of Creative BC and the Province of British Columbia.

Community engagement initiatives are made possible by the Community Fund for Canada's 150th, a collaboration between the Victoria Foundation, the Government of Canada, and extraordinary leaders from coast to coast to coast.

For more information, see Pacific Opera Victoria's web page on Missing.


Rattenbury, November, 2017

Rattenbury, a new Canadian opera with score and libretto by Victoria's Tobin Stokes, will première November 3 to 12, 2017. The opera tells the story of Francis Rattenbury, architect of Victoria's Parliament Buildings, Steamship Terminal Building, and Empress Hotel, whose tempestuous life was the stuff of scandal and whose murder by his young wife's teenaged lover led to one of the most sensational murder trials of the 1930s. The opera will be presented November 3, 4, 7, 8, 10, and 11, 2017, at 7 pm with matinées November 5 and 12, at 4 pm, at the Baumann Centre for Pacific Opera Victoria, 925 Balmoral Road.

Pacific Opera Victoria and The Other Guys Theatre Company are collaborating to present the first staged production of Rattenbury, a project developed by Stokes and the theatre company over the past seven years. Feedback on workshops and presentations in BC and England led Stokes to the exploration of additional elements and music, and the expansion of the story as a theatrical construct, veering slightly from recorded history.

Amiel Gladstone (POV's Tosca), directs the opera, with Maestro Arthur Arnold, Music Director of the Moscow Symphony Orchestra and the Pacific Region International Summer Music Academy, conducting the chamber orchestra. Local architect Franc D'Ambrosio, responsible for the design of the Baumann Centre, is scenic designer, with costumes and lighting by Patricia Reilly.

Internationally renowned tenor Richard Margison returns to Victoria to sing the title role with soprano Kathleen Brett as Alma, his wife. They are joined by mezzo-soprano Emma Parkinson and bass baritone Tyler Fitzgerald. Mr. Margison, Ms. Brett and Mr. Arnold have been involved in the development of Rattenbury through several years of workshops.

We have been very fortunate that these outstanding artists have remained committed to the project, said Ross Desprez, Artistic Director of the Other Guys Theatre Company, and now, finally, after years of development and with the most generous support of Pacific Opera Victoria, we are able to share it with Victoria audiences.

Rattenbury is performed at the Baumann Centre for Pacific Opera Victoria, 925 Balmoral Road, Victoria. The opera is in English, and the approximate running time is 75 minutes with no intermission. Tickets for Rattenbury are now sold out. Those interested in attending may phone the Pacific Opera Victoria Box Office at 250-385-0222 and add their name to the waitlist. Any tickets available will be sold in advance only – $30 adults/$15 students. General seating. Doors open 30 minutes prior to performance.

POV's 2017/18 season includes Missing, a new Canadian opera presented at the Baumann Centre November 17 to 26, as well as mainstage productions of Puccini's La Bohème in February 2018, and Handel's Rinaldo in April 2018. Mainstage productions are presented in Victoria's Royal Theatre, 805 Broughton Street.


Jenůfa, October, 2017

Internationally recognized director Atom Egoyan has come home to Victoria to direct Leoš Janáček's gripping masterpiece, Jenůfa. Based on the play Její pastorkyňa by Gabriela Preissová, this 20th century opera centres on the relationship between two formidable women – Jenůfa and her stepmother – and the consequences when Jenůfa has a child out of wedlock.

Pacific Opera Victoria presents Jenůfa October 12 to 22, 2017, at the Royal Theatre, 805 Broughton Street.

Jenůfa premièred in 1904 and established Janáček's international reputation. Set in a small, conservative village, this powerful drama is a revelation in musical and dramatic brilliance, with strong female protagonists and a message that resonates with contemporary times and audiences. Janáček's distinctive musical voice, mixing folk harmonies with the rhythms of spoken Czech, is radiant and haunting.

The POV production is designed by Debra Hanson, former head of design at the Stratford Festival and a frequent collaborator with Egoyan on film and stage projects. Maestro Timothy Vernon conducts the Victoria Symphony in this notable company première, a co-production with Opéra de Montréal. Giuseppe Pietraroia directs the POV Chorus.

In the title role is Winnipeg-born Polish-Ukrainian soprano Lara Ciekiewicz, who was an impressive Amelia in POV's Simon Boccanegra. Canadian-Bulgarian mezzo-soprano Emilia Boteva will make her POV debut as Kostelnička. American tenor John Lindsey and British tenor Colin Judson make their Canadian debuts as Števa and Laca. Lynne McMurtry (POV's Otello) returns to sing the role of Grandmother, with Peter McGillivray (POV's The Barber of Seville) as Stárek. They are joined by baritone Dion Mazerolle as the Mayor with Maria Soulis as his wife and Andrea Hill as Karolka, their daughter.

Jenůfa is performed at the Royal Theatre, 805 Broughton Street, Victoria, October 12, 14, and 20, at 8 pm; Wednesday, October 18, at 7 pm; and Sunday, October 22, at 2:30 pm. Pre-performance lectures take place in the theatre lobby one hour prior to each show. The opera is performed in Czech, with English surtitles, and the approximate running time is 165 minutes, including one intermission.

Priced between $25 and $140, including GST & box office service charges, tickets are available from the Royal and McPherson Box Office at 250-386-6121, or online at

For more information, contact Pacific Opera Victoria at 250-385-0222 or visit POV's web pages on Jenůfa.

Posted October 10, 2017


Timothy Vernon Receives Honorary Degree from University of Victoria

Pacific Opera Victoria's Founding Artistic DIrector TImothy Vernon was presented with an Honorary Doctor of Music at the University of Victoria Convocation Ceremony June 13, 2017.

The citation for his Degree says, in part:

Timothy James Vernon, musician, conductor, scholar, educator, mentor, advocate, pioneer, visionary, family man, and more ... is a person of integrity, boundless energy, determination, and infectious enthusiasm...
His vision, passion, enthusiasm, and unfailing energy have been evident in our beloved Pacific Opera Victoria ... POV has grown from strength to strength during its almost 40 years. The extraordinary success of the company must be attributed to Maestro Vernon's inspiration and direction...
Always eager for POV to grow and expand, Timothy has been instrumental in ... bringing the knowledge, understanding, and appreciaton of opera to an ever widening audience. ...

In his convocation speech, TImothy said

Never ... should we ever apologize for pursuing a life in the arts. It needs no defence. It is essential for spiritual health in society as in the individual...
What is relevant in any work of art is the humanity that it embodies and that it speaks to and of.
Find a good thing which you can be passionate about, for passion is the key to feeling always alive.

Maestro Timothy Vernon becomes Honorary Doctor of Music: Blog article from University of Victoria Fine Arts

About Timothy Vernon

Posted June 13, 2017


Pacific Opera Victoria Awarded Opera America Innovation Grant

Pacific Opera Victoria is among 27 opera companies that have been awarded Innovation Grants through Opera America, the national service organization for opera in North America.

Generously funded by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, Innovation Grants support exceptional projects that have the capacity to strengthen the opera field's most important areas of practice, including artistic vitality, audience experience, organizational effectiveness and community connections.

Pacific Opera Victoria will launch The Co|Opera|tive, a platform for community engagement to address the cultural and social needs of diverse constituencies, including First Nations and immigrant communities. The company will develop a suite of community programming and partnerships, including dialogues, exhibits, performances and youth workshops, to articulate opera's value as a tool for social relevance, justice and advocacy.

The Co|Opera|tive will launch in September 2017, and will feature inspiring events for youth, artists, and community, providing new ways to explore opera and the issues it raises.

The only Canadian opera company among this year's grant recipients, Pacific Opera Victoria is deeply grateful to Opera America and the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation for this extraordinary support.

Details of the 27 opera company projects funded through Opera America's Innovation Grants are outlined on Opera America's media release.

Posted June 1, 2017


Pacific Opera Victoria Presents Les Feluettes (Lilies)

April 20 to 30, 2017

Pacific Opera Victoria is thrilled to present the western Canada première of Les Feluettes. A brilliant new Canadian opera based on Michel Marc Bouchard's celebrated play of the same name, Les Feluettes was co-commissioned and co-produced by POV and Opéra de Montréal, where it premiered to standing ovations last season. Critics called it powerful and darkly beautiful (Bachtrack), with not a moment in the unfolding of the central romantic story that seemed less than universal. (Montreal Gazette).

This sensational new Canadian opera will now be staged in Victoria's Royal Theatre, April 20 through 30, 2017, with Timothy Vernon conducting the Victoria Symphony. Next fall it will be presented at Edmonton Opera.

The drama revolves round the consequences of a moment in 1912. A group of boys at a Quebec college rehearse Gabriele D'Annunzio's sensual play The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian. As a devastating love triangle is revealed, one boy dies, one is sent to prison for his murder, and a third becomes a bishop. Decades later, the bishop is summoned to the prison to hear the confession of his former classmate. Instead, the prisoners force the bishop to watch as they re-enact the past and finally provoke him to confess what really happened.

Michel Marc Bouchard's 1987 play Les Feluettes (known in English as Lilies) has captured the public's imagaination the world over and has been translated into English, Spanish, Japanese, and Dutch. In 1996 it was made into a Genie-award winning movie starring Brent Carver.

With a libretto by the playwright and a score by Melbourne-based composer Kevin March, Les Feluettes is now a romantic opera of startling beauty. The production is staged by Serge Denoncourt, with set design by Guillaume Lord, costume design by the late François Barbeau, and lighting by Martin Labrecque. Giuseppe Pietraroia directs the POV Chorus.

Nearly the entire cast from the acclaimed Montreal world première will perform in the Victoria production.

Gino Quilico (old Simon) has performed with such major opera companies as the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, the Royal Opera House, Berlin Staatsoper, Vienna Staatsoper, and Opéra National de Paris. Étienne Dupuis (young Simon) appeared in POV's 2012 Carmen and since then has sung with Deutsche Oper Berlin, Opéra National du Rhin, Opernhaus Zürich, and the Glyndebourne Festival. Calgary-born tenor Gordon Gietz (Bishop Bilodeau), who made his POV debut in Das Rheingold, has a flourishing international career, including engagements with Opéra National de Paris and La Scala. James McLennan (young Bilodeau) has performed with opera companies across Canada, including POV's recent productions of Ariadne auf Naxos and Madama Butterfly.

Tenor Jean-Michel Richer, who makes his POV debut as Count Vallier de Tilly, has performed in the US and France and in the Montreal world première of Another Brick in the Wall. Baritone Aaron St. Clair Nicholson (Vallier's mother), who was most recently seen at POV as Athanaël in Thaïs and Sir Lancelot in Camelot in Concert, has performed across North America, including the Metropolitan Opera and New York City Opera. Canadian countertenor Daniel Cabena (Lydie-Anne), highly regarded in Canada and Europe for prize-winning performances ranging from baroque to contemporary repertoire, is also making his POV debut.

Les Feluettes is performed at the Royal Theatre, 805 Broughton Street, Victoria, April 20, 22, and 28 at 8 pm, with a matinée Sunday, April 30, at 2:30 pm. Pre-performance lectures take place in the theatre lobby one hour prior to each show. The opera is performed in French 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 at

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 Les Feluettes.

Posted April 13, 2017


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