Pacific Opera Victoria (POV) has earned a reputation as one of Canada's leading opera companies, thanks to its dynamic repertoire choices, its original productions, and its commitment to creating meaningful opportunities for artists and audiences. Founded in 1979, POV has become one of Canada's most exciting arts institutions, with an audience that is, per capita, two to five times that of any other Canadian opera company.
Pacific Opera Victoria builds opera from the ground up. We choose outstanding works from the operatic repertoire and create each production from scratch. Shaped by the creative vision of our directors and designers, each production is then built by our own team of production artists, staged in Victoria's beautiful, intimate Royal Theatre, and brought to life by a glorious collaboration of conductor and singers.
POV is the only major opera company in Canada to build its own sets exclusively, a fact that allows us greater programming creativity than companies that rent existing productions. We maintain our own scene and costume shop in a 10,000 square foot production facility. This production facility is the largest of its kind on Vancouver Island, offering employment to over 50 regional theatre professionals.
In addition to creating original productions for our main and second stage presentations, POV co-produces across North America and has several productions available for rent. We are skilled collaborators and adept at creating new work.
POV's diverse range of repertoire includes wholly new productions of classic favourites – inviting newcomers into the world of opera and giving experienced operagoers a fresh look at a work they know well. Recent and upcoming productions of such beloved favourites as The Barber of Seville, The Magic Flute, and Madama Butterfly present relevant, compelling productions of these classic works.
We also present less frequently performed works that allow audiences to discover wonderful works that are new to them, to explore the breadth of the repertoire and to expand their ideas of the art form.
Our commitment to diverse repertoire has resulted in many important premières. These include the 2011 world première of Mary's Wedding, a new opera commissioned by POV, with music by Andrew Paul MacDonald and libretto by Stephen Massicotte, from his award-winning play Mary's Wedding. Our new co-commission and co-production with Opéra de Montréal of Les Feluettes (Lilies) had its world première in Montreal in May 2016, and will be followed by performances in Victoria in April 2017.
POV presented the Canadian stage premières of Richard Strauss' Capriccio (2010) and Daphne (2007); Marc Blitzstein's Regina (2008); Lee Hoiby's The Tempest (2004); Giannini's The Taming of the Shrew (2001); Applebaum and Moore's Erewhon (2000, a POV world première); Montemezzi's L'Amore dei Tre Re (1996); and Carl Maria von Weber's Der Freischütz (1994). In 2014 we presented the first standalone Canadian production of Wagner's Das Rheingold outside the Ring Cycle – it was only the second production of Das Rheingold by a Canadian company.
In January 2015, we opened the Baumann Centre for Pacific Opera Victoria. The Centre houses our administration and box office, our opera rehearsals, and our education and engagement programs. It is increasing our community impact and collaborative capacity, providing an acoustically engineered space for music making and opening the door to new collaborations. Through partnerships with regional music organizations, we are integrating our programs to make the Baumann Centre a community centre for artist training and youth education.
The heart of the Baumann Centre is Wingate Studio, the rehearsal/recital hall. Its crowning glory is a cedar acoustic installation created and donated by Kwagiulth and Coast Salish artist Carey Newman, a former opera singer. Carey designed this magnificent work of First Nations art to create a space that is practical, beautiful and inspirational – a community space dedicated to the creation of art and music.
It is our goal to provide challenging artistic opportunities to artists at all stages of their careers. POV's casts and creative teams are drawn from Canada's finest artists working here and abroad.
Because we present original productions of diverse repertoire, we can offer unique opportunities to many of Canada's most respected directors, designers, and singers. Canadian performers with international careers can explore unique opportunities at POV. In fact, over 90% of POV's singers are offered the chance to perform their roles here for the very first time.
Pacific Opera Victoria has presented debut performances by such exceptional singers as Richard Margison, Paul Frey, Michael Schade, John Fanning, Barbara Livingston, Nathalie Paulin, and Julie Nesrallah, and showcased many more of Canada's finest opera singers, often in role debuts.
Many directors, including Robert Carsen, Christopher Newton, Glynis Leyshon, Michael Shamata, Dennis Garnhum, and Oriol Tomas, made their mainstage Canadian operatic debuts with POV, and the company continues to provide exciting creative opportunites for directors, designers, singers, and production artists.
As POV is the only company in Canada to build all of its productions, established and emerging designers have a rare opportunity to design for opera in Canada. And rather than recreate existing productions, POV's directors are able to explore the art form from the ground up.
POV is also deeply committed to nurturing emerging artists. Each year several promising artists are offered their professional debuts in leading roles alongside seasoned artists of significant experience. Our artist training programs offer important coaching and performance opportunities, as well as mainstage debuts, to young singers and emerging professionals.
POV's Board of Directors is deeply committed to bringing opera to the community. Individually and as a group, they strive to fulfill their roles as stewards of a community resource, using their skills and resources to provide sound governance, oversight and support, and engaging with professional and social networks as ambassadors for the company and its work. They develop connections in government and business to promote the arts and take the lead on many of POV's community collaborations. They are skilled and proactive ambassadors for opera, attending performances and the myriad community engagement and donor recognition events that POV puts on through the year. They demonstrate exemplary philanthropic leadership and are an inspiring example of what volunteer leadership can accomplish in creating a strong artistic community.
Founding Artistic Director Timothy Vernon brings to the organization years of proven artistic vision.
Timothy's enterprising artistic vision for POV has included Strauss' Daphne and Capriccio, Blitzstein's Regina, the world première of Mary's Wedding (all broadcast on CBC), the world première of Les Feluettes (co-commission and co-production with POV and Opéra de Montréal); and hallmark productions of Wozzeck, The Cunning Little Vixen, and Das Rheingold.
As Artistic Director and as Conductor for most POV productions, Timothy has demonstrated a keen eye for identifying new talent and providing a constructive environment for artists to fully develop their craft. He has also been responsible for "pushing the repertoire envelope" for a company of this size. This unique vision has fueled the community's interest in the company, attracted a wide range of artists and allowed the entire company to be enthusiastic about producing opera at an exceptionally high level.
Chief Executive Officer Ian Rye has been with Pacific Opera Victoria since 2006, serving as Director of Production and Director of Artistic Administration before becoming CEO in 2016. .
During his time at POV, Ian has participated in the creation of more than three dozen new productions, the marked enhancement of production scope and scale, and the expansion of artist training education and outreach activities. He has taken a leadership role in orchestrating co-productions and collaborations and in the creation of the Baumann Centre.
Ian is also an experienced theatre and opera designer, with a practice that includes work in scenery, lighting, and sound. His designs have played at notable stages across Canada. His designs for POV include the world première of Mary's Wedding; Ariadne auf Naxos and South Pacific in concert.
Pacific Opera Victoria's Mission is to create a dynamic operatic experience, and to inspire our audiences, artists, and community.
Our Artistic Mission is to pursue excellence in the presentation of diverse repertoire, through innovative original productions and detailed performance practice, and to provide opportunity to artists throughout Canada at all stages of their careers, from student to mentor. In doing so, we will advance and preserve the traditions of our art form.
Our Community Mission is to engage diverse audiences from Vancouver Island and beyond in the communicative power of opera at performances and imaginative community events, and to encourage the use of opera as a resource for educators to enrich the learning of young people. In doing so, we will play a leadership role in enhancing the vitality of life on Vancouver Island.
Our Financial Stewardship Mission is to invite wide public and private investment in our activities by building strong relationships with our supporters, thoughtfully stewarding our financial resources, and ensuring effective, renewable leadership from an ensemble of Board, Staff, Artists and Volunteers. In doing so, we will ensure that our company remains dynamic as an institution of lasting importance.
We create opportunity. Audiences experience the full breadth of the operatic repertoire in performances that aspire to and achieve world class festival standards. Experienced artists are able to take risks in a nurturing environment, through professional debuts, major role debuts, and in repertoire that they may not otherwise have the chance to explore. Directors and designers can create original productions rather than adapt to existing ones. Young artists grow as they develop their own unique artistic voices. Students and educators can learn through opera while discovering the joys of performing arts. The entire community will be able to explore how the arts reflect and affect our lives today. In our vision, everyone will have the opportunity to make opera a part of their lives.
Her Honour, The Honourable Judith Guichon, OBC
Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia