Vancouver Opera season concludes with festival
By Mercedes Deutscher, Social Media Coordinator
What comes to mind when you think of opera?
Maybe you think of bourgeois people with too much time and money on their hands. Maybe you think of your grandparents watching Vikings sing in Italian. Maybe you think of Sydney’s iconic opera house.
However, the people behind the scenes at Vancouver Opera want to change this, and have made efforts to make the opera accessible, especially to a younger demographic with their 40 under 40 program, which offers seats to young patrons for $40.
This program isn’t new. I first took advantage of the discount tickets in 2014, and it has allowed me to see several fantastic productions ever since. You might even be surprised by what is considered opera (for the record, it’s a work of art where most of its dialogue is sung). While Vancouver Opera has produced classic works like Giovani Puccini’s Turandot and Georges Bizet’s Carmen, it has also put out more modern pieces like Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Evita. Vancouver Opera even picks up new and innovative works, like Shane Koyczan’s Stickboy, a refreshing fusion of opera and spoken word. Don’t speak French, Italian, or Russian? Don’t fret—all productions (even English language shows) are accompanied by subtitles above the stage.
Vancouver Opera introduced its festival last season as a way to produce smaller works in addition to larger productions at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre and Vancouver Playhouse.
Headlining this year’s festival are Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin and James Rolfe’s The Overcoat: A Musical Tailoring.
Eugene Onegin, a classic by beloved Russian composer Tchaikovsky, tells a sombre story of two sisters whose wistfulness and naivety are shattered by two young men, who enter as friends but are quickly torn apart by jealousy and violence. Titular character Eugene Onegin has it all, only to discard in a fit of pique before coming to regret losing his friends and romantic prospects.
Eugine Onegin will play April 29, May 3, and May 5 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, performed in Russian with English subtitles.
Next door, the Vancouver Playhouse will see The Overcoat: A Musical Tailoring. Adapted from a play of the same name, this quirky production charmingly recounts the story of a poor, modest man who becomes an instant sensation with his fancy new overcoat.
The Overcoat: A Musical Tailoring will play 10 performances between April 28 and May 12.
Aside from headlining productions, the Vancouver Opera will station itself around the city with other shows. These productions are less expensive to run than headlining shows, and the festival even has some events that are free.
Requiem for a Lost Girl, created by Marcel Bergman and Onalea Gilbertson, will take on the topic of missing and murdered Indigenous women. This production will take place on May 4 and May 6 at SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts.
Elektra, composed by Richard Strauss and based off the Ancient Greek myth, tells the age-old tale of how revenge ends in tragedy. This semi-staged production takes place on April 19 and 20 at the Orpheum. Fun fact: One of the members of the Other Press, Rebecca Peterson, is in the cast for this production. Something to keep in mind if you’re looking to support a fellow Douglas student in the arts.
In addition, the Vancouver Opera festival will also offer operatic concerts, workshops, and Q&As.
Whether you catch one show or all of what the Vancouver Opera festival has to offer, there is something for everyone. If you are a young person in Vancouver, there has never been a better time to go to the opera!