Media

DONIZETTI’S DRAMATIC BEL CANTO OPERA SET FOR ITS ALBERTA PREMIERE

Media contact: Cameron MacRae, Director of Marketing & Communications

780-984-3634; cameron.macrae@edmontonopera.com

 

For the first time in Alberta, audiences will be treated to a royal Tudor love triangle in Donizetti’s bel canto opera, Mary Stuart. Love, betrayal, lies, and anguish come together in the ultimate struggle for power between two famous British monarchs—Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots.

Director Maria Lamont brings an innovative concept to the production of Mary Stuart, one that she and designer Camellia Koo created for Pacific Opera Victoria in 2012. Now, Edmonton audiences will be transported to a present-day Tudor mansion in England, where museum staff are preparing an exhibit of famous British monarchs. As the staff mount grand portraits of Mary and Elizabeth, the two women step out of their frames and come to life, ready to stir up their passionate rivalry from centuries ago. Art imitates life and life imitates art in this visionary production.

Donizetti’s trademark bel canto (literally, ‘beautiful singing’) style of opera takes on an intensely dramatic tone in Mary Stuart. Breaking convention, he creates two lead female characters and ensures both have distinct personalities that clash with one another. This is especially apparent in the famous showdown between Mary and Elizabeth at the end of Act II, where the two sopranos try to one-up each other vocally, resulting in a colourful display of vocal pyrotechnics.

Edmonton Opera brings two internationally acclaimed sopranos to the stage for this electrifying face-off. Renowned as one of the most promising coloratura sopranos of this generation, Kathryn Lewek plays Mary, Queen of Scots. Lewek has performed her signature role, Queen of the Night, at prestigious venues such as the Metropolitan Opera. She is described as “a vocal gymnast” who “fluidly slips from one impossibly high note to another” (Broadway World).

Keri Alkema sings Elizabeth, a role she also recently performed at her Seattle Opera debut, garnering praise for her “incisive, powerful singing” (Seattle Times). Alkema interprets Elizabeth’s complex motivations with poise, and is known to offer a “rich, full vocal presence that caresses the score to perfection” (Toronto Star).

Edmonton Opera’s production of Mary Stuart is part of a growing worldwide interest in this Donizetti piece, showcasing his versatility as a composer. After the success of Lucia di Lammermoor last season, Mary Stuart serves as the perfect way to continue the trend of staging Donizetti’s prolific and thought-provoking operas.

The media dress rehearsal for Mary Stuart will be on Thursday, April 14, 2016, at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, at 7 p.m. Please RSVP your outlet’s attendance to Cameron MacRae, Director of Marketing & Communications, at 780-984-3634 or cameron.macrae@edmontonopera.com.

Mary Stuart will be performed in Italian with projected English translation on Saturday, Apr. 16
(8 p.m.), Tuesday, Apr. 19 (7:30 p.m.) and Thursday, Apr. 21 (7:30 p.m.). Tickets start at $40.

Enjoy a night out at the opera with this special event! “Opera’s a Drag: Meet the Queens at Mary Stuart”, hosted at Earls Campus Towers, gives you a chance to enjoy a drink and appetizers with drag queens from the Imperial Sovereign Court of the Wild Rose. Then, head to the Jubilee to watch the dueling queens of Mary Stuart. Tickets include a drink, bites from Earls menu, and admission to the performance of Mary Stuart. Tickets are $49+Eventbrite fees. 

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