For immediate release: October 16, 2017

Edmonton Opera opens its 2017/18 season with the Alberta premiere of Lilies, a new opera based on the iconic Canadian play Les Feluettes by Michel Marc Bouchard. Set in a men’s prison in early 1900s Quebec, Lilies tells the story of forbidden love between two young men against the backdrop of the Catholic Church. Innocence quickly turns into deception and murder as the star-crossed lovers struggle through their feelings with tragic consequences.

Often regarded as the Canadian Romeo and Juliet, Bouchard’s celebrated work has been adapted into an award-winning film and was then commissioned as an opera by Opéra de Montréal and Pacific Opera Victoria. Perfect for the operatic stage, Lilies includes a vibrant array of characters including a young pyromaniac, an exotic Frenchwoman who arrives by hot air balloon, and a chorus of vengeful prisoners that act out this play-within-a-play.

At its Montreal world premiere in 2016, Lilies was hailed as “a pure masterpiece” (Boucle Magazine), receiving standing ovations from sold out houses each night. Lilies opened in Victoria in spring 2017 and was declared a “powerful, poetic, unforgettable” new opera by the Times Colonist.

Composer Kevin March’s lavish and cinematic score is an eclectic mix of French Romanticism, Quebecois folk tunes, and quotes from Claude Debussy’s Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian. The music has been praised as “lyrical and dramatic, written in a musical language accessible to a wide audience” (Toronto Star).

Lilies features an all-Canadian cast including Met Opera veteran and Grammy-winning baritone Gino Quilico and renowned Albertan tenor Gordon Gietz. Promising young singers Jean-Michel Richer and Zachary Read star in the roles of Vallier and Simon, the opera’s romantic leads.

Lilies will be sung in French with projected English translation. Performances are on Saturday, Oct. 21 (8 p.m.), Tuesday, Oct. 24 (7:30 p.m.), and Friday, Oct. 27 (7:30 p.m.) at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium. Tickets start at $40, and special pricing for patrons under 40 is available.

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