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Vancouver Opera, 2023 season

Admittedly opera or any form of artistic expression that requires dialogue to be sung instead of spoken is not what I typical engage in, when looking to fill my time. However, after 2 years of intermittent lock downs and the ability to congregate taken away from us, any excuse to get out and try something new has become within my wheelhouse, especially when you have the option to enjoy it with wine. But for those who do celebrate the arts, the opera is a welcomed return for the performance art community.

Hosted by Vancouver Opera, I attended one of their recent showings of The Pearl Fishers at Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Although I knew nothing of the opera and did not understand the language, I knew what to expect given the typical themes of such performance. A love story sung of tragedy and the feeling of love and longing unrequited. For those more dedicated to the craft, the Vancouver Opera website does offer a rich synopsis for spectators to read up on, ahead of time. This is a great way to come informed and to better enjoy what is before you when you actually understand what is going on.

The overview is as follows: “The Pearl Fishers returns to Vancouver Opera for the first time in nearly 30 years. Directed by Vancouver favourite Rachel Peake, this dramatic opera tells the tale of two devoted friends and the woman that comes between them. The famous “friendship duet”, Au fond du temple saint, is one of the most beautiful and recognizable pieces in the opera repertoire. Be swept away by the lush orchestration and Bizet’s trademark melodies.”

I did not read ahead, but once seated was able to follow along with the translation projected over the stage. This is what I surmised of Act one.

Two guys meet girl. Both immediately fall for girl. Both make a pack that it is “bros before hoes”. One guy can’t help himself and peruses girl anyways, and she ends up falling for him as well. But girl is the goddess of a religion and is bound to a life of chastity and servitude. This is that story. Hard love and does it conquer all?

The great bit about this opera is that it was written by 3 men on a religion and of peoples they knew nothing about, of a place they had never visit. Their information was hearsay and their account wildly inaccurate. But it is this fantastical interpretation that makes this performance so entertaining and enjoyable.

Sadly, for those who have missed this classic opera, you will not get a chance to view it again this season. However, there are 2 new operas preparing to be performed by live symphony and singers. See the following for their dates and overview.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Magical Evening, Ethereal Melodies February 11 – 19

Come enjoy an evening of magic filled with the ethereal beauty of Britten’s atmospheric score and Shakespeare’s fantastical story. Based on the famous play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream follows a myriad of hilarious characters in a whimsical whirlwind of magic potions, love triangles and mistaken identities. Vancouver audiences will be thrilled to welcome back Jacques Lacombe as conductor in this company premiere.

The Flying Dutchman
Powerful Sea, Grand Orchestration April 29 – May 7

Based on a European maritime legend, The Flying Dutchman tells the haunting story of a sailor and his daughter who encounter a ghost during a storm on the sea. The Dutchman, who has been condemned to wander for eternity, is searching for a bride to finally bring him peace. This tragic tale of love and sacrifice is the composer’s first masterpiece and features magnificent orchestration of Wagnerian proportions. Vancouver based projection designer Sean Nieuwenhuis will showcase the Queen Elizabeth Theatre’s stunning projection capabilities and bring the turbulent sea to life. This will be a new production for Vancouver Opera.


Queen Elizabeth Theatre
630 Hamilton St, Vancouver, BC V6B 5N6
(604) 665-3050

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