Otello, 2015. David Cooper Photography


Pacific Opera Victoria Appoints New CEO

Pacific Opera Victoria announces new, but familiar, Chief Executive Officer

Ian Rye

Pacific Opera Victoria has announced the appointment of Ian Rye as Chief Executive Officer, effective September 1, 2016.

Since Patrick Corrigan announced his departure to become General Director of Opéra de Montréal, the Pacific Opera Victoria board of directors has consulted widely with the North American opera community. However, they didn't have to look far from home to find the best candidate.

"We are proud to appoint Ian Rye from within our organization", announced POV Board President, Bob Milne. "Ian's demonstrated depth of experience as an artist and an administrator convinced the Board that Ian was the best person to lead POV in the next phase of its journey, from best-in-class to world-class."

Rye joined POV in 2006 and is currently Director of Artistic Administration. He has been involved in more than 40 POV productions and has been instrumental in the development of a co-production model that has resulted in POV productions being seen on opera stages across the country. He has stewarded youth and education programs, community collaborations, and the commissioning of new works, and was key to the creation and establishment of The Baumann Centre as a community hub for increased participation in opera. In addition, he recently earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Royal Roads University.

POV's founding Artistic Director, Timothy Vernon, remarked that "Ian brings an exceptional range of pertinent experience to this position. My years of collaboration with Ian have been always productive and enjoyable. He is a consummate professional; it is thrilling to see him achieve this pinnacle from within the company. I look forward to continued association in a new key."

Rye is honoured and humbled by his appointment. "POV has established itself as a model of artistic excellence, innovation and community service" he said, "and I'm committed to making a meaningful contribution to its continued advancement. I look forward to ongoing collaboration with Timothy, the board of directors and the many supporters who have given voice to opera in this city, and propelled this organization to the vanguard of art-making in Canada."

Rye's first opera season as CEO opens with the company première of Simon Boccanegra by Verdi (October 13 to 23, 2016), followed by one of Mozart's most beloved classics, The Magic Flute (February 16 to 26, 2017). The season culminates with a newly commissioned opera based on a brilliant Canadian play, Les Feluettes (Lilies) by Bouchard/March (April 20 to 30, 2017).

Posted August 18, 2016


Opéra de Montréal chooses Pacific Opera Victoria CEO Patrick Corrigan as new General Director

Patrick Corrigan

June 29, 2016: Pacific Opera Victoria Board President Bob Milne announced today that CEO Patrick Corrigan will leave the company in September 2016 to take the reins of Opéra de Montréal.

Originally from Montréal, Corrigan joined Pacific Opera Victoria in 2000 as director of Marketing and Development, a position he held until 2010, when he was appointed executive director and then CEO.

During his tenure, POV experienced significant artistic and revenue growth, allowing the company to continuously raise the bar on musical and production values, to develop new work, to present company and world premières, and to expand collaborative efforts with other companies. As well, Corrigan led the company through the creation of the Baumann Centre for Pacific Opera Victoria, POV's new home and a community hub for opera and music making. "Patrick helped build an incredibly strong organization and team, and the company is well positioned for continued growth" said Milne.

POV Artistic Director Timothy Vernon congratulates Corrigan on his new position, remarking, "Patrick's appointment as General Director of Opéra de Montréal is brilliant evidence that POV identifies and develops talent at all levels – not just on our stage. We have worked together for 16 years and I will miss him terribly – he is the best working partner I've ever had – but I wish him every good thing, and know his star will continue to rise and to shine."

"Pacific Opera Victoria's attainments are due to the many people in this community who open their hearts and minds to the power of opera, and to the incredible team of staff, board and artists that Timothy and I work with every day," says Corrigan. "I am extremely grateful to everyone who has supported our work and the company. Together we've made Victoria a leading centre for opera in Canada."

POV's board of directors will meet shortly to establish a process to hire a new CEO.

Posted June 29, 2016


A New Opera Partnership: POV and City Opera Vancouver

A story everyone knows,
   from the vantage of a woman no one remembers.

Pacific Opera Victoria is collaborating with City Opera Vancouver to create and produce a new opera, Missing Women, with première performances planned in Vancouver and Victoria in November 2017.

Librettist Marie ClementsSet in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside and along the Highway of Tears, this new chamber opera is being created to give voice to the story of Canada's missing and murdered indigenous women. Distinguished Métis playwright and filmmaker Marie Clements is writing the libretto. The composer, Juno-award winning Brian Current, was chosen by jury in April 2016.

Pacific Opera Victoria is thrilled to partner with City Opera Vancouver on the creation of this important new chamber opera. Along with our librettist and composer, and a host of exciting artists, both our companies and communities will come together to explore the tragic story of Missing Women along the Highway of Tears, and to create a compelling art work of national resonance, said Patrick Corrigan, CEO of Pacific Opera Victoria.

City Opera is pleased to join with such an esteemed Canadian opera company as Pacific Opera Victoria for this project. To be able to join the divide between island and lower mainland for an important subject that speaks to us all is an important collaboration. As the Truth and Reconciliation Commission stated: 'Reconciliation calls for community action.' We are hoping that our small steps together can create larger action across Canada, added City Opera General Manager Cathleen Gingrich.

Composer Brian Current says of the libretto by Marie Clements, Her writing was so vivid and filled with such longing that it cried out to be set to music ... Our goal in writing this piece is to humanize these women and their families and to show that each and every one of these missing women is deserving of our heartbroken attention. Each death is really one hundred deaths, as it affects all those who have loved and cherished the victim, often since infancy.

As cultural boundaries have surely played a role in our national silence about these missing women, one of our goals is to use both native and non-native language alongside music to build a bridge between the cultures. I look forward to working with the entire City Opera and Pacific Opera family alongside their First Nations partners in the creation of this work.

Composer Brian Current

The Vancouver Foundation has awarded City Opera a grant of $127,000 toward the creation and workshopping of Missing Women, which will continue through 2016 and 2017.

Missing Women will première on November 1, 2017, at a free, invitation-only, private event for the families. Its public run will be at Vancouver's York Theatre November 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11, immediately followed by an additional five nights at Pacific Opera Victoria.

The opera will be designed for small forces, portability, and touring. Pacific Opera Victoria and City Opera Vancouver hope to take it to Prince George, to Winnipeg, to Ottawa, and to other Canadian centres where this story needs to be heard, witnessed and discussed.

Posted June 24, 2016


2016/17 Opera Season

Simon Boccanegra by Verdi.  October 13 to 23, 2016
The Magic Flute by Mozart.   February 16 to 26, 2017
Les Feluettes (Lilies) by Bouchard/March.   April 20 to 30, 2017

Pacific Opera Victoria has announced an electrifying 2016/17 season that opens with the company première of a magnificent Verdi opera, followed by one of Mozart's most beloved classics. The season culminates with a newly commissioned opera based on a brilliant Canadian play.

Director Glynis Leyshon returns to direct the company première of Verdi's Simon Boccanegra. A former pirate, now the Doge of Genoa, grapples with the chaos of 14th century Italian politics and the hatred of the man whose daughter he once seduced. With its compelling, flawed characters, Simon Boccanegra is an arresting portrayal of reconciliation, mercy and the love between father and daughter. This is Verdi at his best – complex characters, intense emotions, and some of the most beautiful music he ever wrote.

Mozart's The Magic Flute is one of the most popular operas ever written. A prince teams up with his unwilling sidekick to rescue a beautiful princess. Like all epic quests, the journey is one from darkness to light, full of peril and magic. Director Oriol Tomas is joined by Cirque du Soleil designer Patricia Ruel to create a fanciful and enchanting world where nothing is as it appears.

Le Feluettes (Lilies) is a new work of uncommon dramatic intensity by a dynamic duo – Quebec playwright Michel Marc Bouchard and Australian composer Kevin March – co-commissioned by Pacific Opera Victoria and Opéra de Montréal. In 1912 a group of boys at a Quebec college rehearse The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian. As a devastating love triangle plays out, one boy dies, one is sent to prison, and another becomes a bishop. Decades later, the bishop is made to watch as prisoners re-enact the past. Based on a celebrated Canadian play by Bouchard, Les Feluettes is a romantic drama of startling beauty. The opera will première at Opéra de Montréal in May 2016 under the baton of POV Artistic Director Timothy Vernon and will conclude POV's season in April of 2017.

For more information about Pacific Opera Victoria's upcoming season, and for season tickets, call 250-385-0222, or visit our web pages on the 2016/17 season.

Posted March 2, 2016


A Midsummer Night's Dream
April 14 to 24, 2016

Pacific Opera Victoria presents A Midsummer Night's Dream, April 14 through 24, 2016, at the Royal Theatre in Victoria.

With music by Benjamin Britten and a libretto adapted by Britten and Peter Pears from the play by William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream is theatre reborn as opera – Shakespeare's most imaginative play, transformed into a topsy-turvy operatic fantasy that is at once otherworldly and hilariously down to earth.

A spat between the king and queen of fairies spills into the human realm, creating a tangle of misdirected spells and misplaced love affairs. Sweethearts fall in and out of love with neither rhyme or reason, bumbling rustics try their hands at amateur theatricals with side-splitting results, and the fairies spread accidental chaos far and wide. Nothing is what it seems in this enchanting collision of worlds, as fairies, country folk, and moonstruck young lovers spin through a single magical night.

The opera's three intersecting worlds – Fairies, Human lovers, and Rustic tradesmen – provide plenty of scope for the imaginations of Stage Director Tom Diamond and Designer Judith Bowden, who in 2010 teamed up for POV's Cinderella. They return to POV to prepare a whimsical production with a masterful cast.

In the roles of the Rustic tradesmen are Scottish bass Brian Bannatyne-Scott (POV's Falstaff) as Bottom, Lawrence Wiliford (POV's Albert Herring) as Flute, a role he has previously performed with the Canadian Opera Company, Bruce Kelly (POV's Madama Butterfly) as Quince, and Giles Tomkins (POV's The Barber of Seville) as Snug, with Andrew Erasmus (POV's The Barber of Seville) as Starveling, and Kaden Forsberg (POV's Mary's Wedding school tour) as Snout.

Canadian countertenor David Trudgen makes his company debut as Oberon, King of the Fairies, and is joined by coloratura soprano Suzanne Rigden (POV's Ariadne auf Naxos) as his wife Tytania. Making his opera debut as Puck is Toronto theatre artist Daniel Ellis. The rest of the fairies are played by a chorus of boy trebles.

Victoria's Susan Platts (POV's Das Rheingold) returns as Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons. Her fiancé, Theseus, the Duke of Athens, is played by Stephen Hegedus (POV's Maria Stuarda). The four young lovers are Adam Fisher (POV's South Pacific in Concert) and Lauren Segal (POV's Così fan tutte) as Lysander and Hermia, with John Brancy (POV's Ariadne auf Naxos) and Betty Waynne Allison (POV's Das Rheingold) as Demetrius and Helena. Pacific Opera Victoria Artistic Director Timothy Vernon conducts the Victoria Symphony, and Giuseppe Pietraroia directs the Children's Chorus.

Benjamin Britten is recognized as the most successful post-war opera composer, and A Midsummer Night's Dream is one of his most enduringly popular works. With Shakespeare's brilliant words and Britten's inspired orchestration and superb vocal writing, this opera is widely considered the greatest operatic setting of Shakespeare.

A Midsummer NIght's Dream is performed at the Royal Theatre, 805 Broughton Street, Victoria, April 14, 16, 22 at 8 pm, with a matinée Sunday, April 24 at 2:30 pm. Pre-performance lectures take place in the theatre lobby one hour prior to each show. The opera is performed in English 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.

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 A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Posted March 31, 2016


The Barber of Seville
February 11 to 21, 2016

Pacific Opera Victoria's 2015-16 season celebrates theatre reborn as opera. Beginning with Verdi's Otello, presented in October 2015, the season continues with Rossini's The Barber of Seville, February 11 through 21, 2016, at the Royal Theatre in Victoria.

The title character is the resourceful Figaro, whose schemes drive the action in Rossini's opera, which was inspired by Le Barbier de Séville, a popular play by the French writer Beaumarchais.

In The Barber of Seville, Count Almaviva and Rosina have fallen in love and will allow nothing to stop them from getting married. Almaviva follows Rosina to Seville, where he runs into his former servant Figaro, who is now a barber with a booming business. Almaviva hires Figaro to help him rescue Rosina from the clutches of her crotchety old guardian, Dr. Bartolo, who has designs on her himself. The enterprising trio devise an arsenal of tricks to outwit Bartolo, proving that the road to true love is paved with theft, lies, bribery, brawling – and wicked comedy.

With its byzantine plot twists and irresistible, earworm-inducing music, Rossini's rollicking farce is an exuberant conspiracy on behalf of youth, hope, and the delirious joy of first love.

Clarence Frazer makes his POV debut as Figaro, a role he performed previously with the Canadian Opera Company. Antonio Figueroa (POV's Così fan tutte) and Sylvia Szadovszki (POV's Carmen) return as Count Almaviva and Rosina, with Peter McGillivray (POV's Albert Herring) as Dr. Bartolo, and Giles Tomkins (POV's Lucia di Lammermoor) as Don Basilio. Geneviève Lévesque makes her company debut as Berta. The cast includes an all-male Pacific Opera Victoria chorus.

One of Canada's most celebrated directors and playwrights, Morris Panych returns to Victoria to direct The Barber of Seville. Panych is a two-time winner of the Governor General's Literary Award for Drama and has collected 14 Jessie Richardson Awards and five Dora Mavor Moore Awards. Panych's real-life and collaborative partner, Ken MacDonald, has designed the set for this production. MacDonald began his career as resident designer for the Belfry Theatre and has since designed for all of Canada's major theatre companies. He has garnered a Gemini, 17 Jessie Richardson Awards, a Betty Mitchell Award, and two Dora Mavor Moore Awards.

In their first opera project for POV, in 2012, Panych and MacDonald created a moody, stylized Macbeth, which became a co-production with Opéra de Québec and was subsequently staged at Kentucky Opera. They have taken a more traditional approach to Barber, but have introduced moments of magic and an all-white Gaudi-inspired set that invites colourful mayhem.

POV Artistic Director Timothy Vernon will conduct the Victoria Symphony. He describes Rossini's score as a sheer delight. One of the glories of bel canto, it's easy on the ear and brimming with tuneful vocal flourishes.

The creative team also includes award winning costume designer Dana Osborne, who worked with Panych and MacDonald on POV's Macbeth and has designed for the Stratford Festival and Soulpepper, among others. Lighting designer Kim Purtell (POV's Ariadne auf Naxos) has credits across Canada, including the Stratford and Shaw Festivals.

The Barber of Seville is performed at the Royal Theatre, 805 Broughton Street, Victoria, February 11, 13 and 19, 2016, at 8 pm, and Wednesday, February 17 at 7 pm, with a matinée February 21 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.

Priced between $25 and $145, 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 our web pages on The Barber of Seville.


For Remembrance
Pacific Opera Victoria presents Mary's Wedding

7pm, November 10, 2015, Victoria High School Theatre

In recognition of Remembrance Day and ongoing commemorations of the WWI centenary, Pacific Opera Victoria is staging an intimate and re-imagined version of the new Canadian opera Mary's Wedding. The production tours regional secondary schools this month, with a special public performance at 7 pm, November 10, in the Victoria High School Theatre, 1260 Grant Street, Victoria, BC.

Set in Western Canada in the aftermath of World War I, Mary's Wedding was commissioned by Pacific Opera Victoria and had its world première in November 2011. Music is by Andrew P. MacDonald with the libretto by Stephen Massicotte, based on his play Mary's Wedding.

On the eve of her wedding in 1920, Mary dreams of her first love, a young farm boy named Charlie. Her reminiscences of their first meeting, their developing attraction, and of his departure for the war blend with Charlie's memories of Mary and loop the action back and forth through time and place, from the Canadian prairie to the battlefields of France. Mary recalls the horror of the trenches – experienced through Charlie's letters – as he remembers her, and longs for home.

The 60-minute performance of Mary's Wedding will be followed by a discussion with Barry Gough, author of From Classroom to Battlefield: Victoria High School and the First World War. The names of 500 teachers and graduates are inscribed on Victoria High School's Great War Roll of Honour.

Mary's Wedding is directed by Glynis Leyshon, with music direction by Giuseppe Pietraroia, and features Caitlin Wood as Mary, Kaden Forsberg as Charlie, Jeremy Bowes as the real-life character, Lt. Gordon Flowerdew, and a small chorus. The opera is performed in English.

Tickets for the public performance are $15 for students and $35 for adults, available in advance from Pacific Opera Victoria, by phone at 250-385-0222, in person at 925 Balmoral Road, Victoria, or online. For more information visit POV's web pages on Mary's Wedding

This project has been made possible in part by the Government of Canada and by the Government of British Columbia through the BC Arts Council.

Posted November 5, 2015.


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