Mainstage productions, anniversary projects announced for Edmonton Opera’s 50th season

January 23, 2013
Media Contact Jelena Bojic, Director of Community Relations

Next season, Edmonton Opera’s presence will be felt equally on and off the stage.

The opera company announced its 50th anniversary season on Jan. 23, which includes productions of Richard Strauss’ Salome, Johann Strauss’ Die Fledermaus and Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly.

In addition, anniversary-specific projects have been announced for 2013/14: an Edmonton Opera chorus concert in November 2013, a Canadian new work competition known as Opera Next and an education partnership called DIY Opera.

“Our programming for 2013/14 is a combination of new concepts for classics, great Canadian talent and a return to the production we started with 50 years ago,” said Sandra Gajic, Edmonton Opera CEO. “Plus, each of our anniversary projects encompasses a different aspect of community — recognizing the chorus members who add so much on stage, exploring new Canadian work and having students be part of the opera process from beginning to end.”

A biblical re-telling, Edmonton Opera’s production of Salome will have a new concept designed by Canadian Yannick Larrivée, with Maida Hundeling returning to the capital city to sing the title role. Her real-life husband, Jan Vacik, will sing the role of Salome’s stepfather. In Die Fledermaus, the role of the mysterious Prince Orlofsky — usually a trouser role — has been cast to countertenor Gerald Thompson, who has done the role before. Finally, the same production that opened Edmonton Opera in 1963 will close the season: Madama Butterfly. Directed by the world-renowned Tim Albery, the concept features classic Japanese design with beautiful contemporary, post-Second-World-War aspects.

Specific to the 50th anniversary, the chorus concert will be held on Nov. 23, 2013, and is intended to celebrate all the members who have been a part of the onstage drama in the past five decades. The Opera Next competition will have three parts: a call for scores in 2013, followed by workshops in early 2014 and then a night of performances. The whole process is intended to encourage Canadian work by young composers and librettists. Students will also get a chance to create their own opera, with DIY Opera. Through online submissions, one local school will be chosen and will work through each part of the opera process, meeting Edmonton Opera staff members who work in all capacities to put a production on stage.

These anniversary events both celebrate Edmonton Opera’s history and give the organization opportunities for the future. Combined with its mainstage season of Salome, Die Fledermaus and Madama Butterfly, the Edmonton Opera will continue to contribute to the arts and culture scene in the city and throughout northern Alberta during its 2013/14 season.

Consider this just the overture. Edmonton Opera, 50 years.

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