About City Opera

Welcome to City Opera Vancouver

We are a professional chamber opera company. We produce opera. We create new opera. Year-round, we present recitals and concerts. We work in a metro area of 2.5 million people, and in a culture of tremendous creativity.

The Company is a registered non-profit society with federal tax status, governed by an elected Board of Directors. Our creative vision is guided by an Artistic Committee and Director, whose work is complemented by a General Manager, committed volunteers, and the artists we engage for performances.

City Opera Vancouver was organized in 2006 in tandem with efforts to restore the century-old, 650-seat Pantages Theatre in the Downtown Eastside. We are a member of the Community Arts Council of Vancouver, and a Community Partner of the Canadian Music Centre.

What We Do

We commission and create, re-discover and present, chamber opera. We specialize in small forms, intimate eloquence, Canadian themes and artists. We tell stories in music that are relevant to our time and people. We emphasize stories that are bold and vivid and memorable. We believe opera can tell any story, in any time and place.

Throughout the year, we also give concerts and special events – 106 to date. About one-third of them have been presented in the Downtown Eastside. These events build our brand, widen our audience, and take our music to people where they live.

What We Have Done So Far

2007 • Sing-Along Carmina Burana. St Andrew’s-Wesley Cathedral

A Canadian event premiere, it attracted 800 singers and the creation of a new company.

2009: The Emperor of Atlantis. Norman Rothstein Theatre

A British Columbia premiere, in co-production with the Holocaust Education Centre, this unique and powerful opera was written in a Nazi camp.

2010: Sumidagawa & Curlew River. Frederic Wood Theatre

A Canadian event premiere, this double-bill told the story of a woman and the murder of her son: first, in dance as fifteenth century Butoh, and then as Britten’s twentieth century telling of the identical story in opera.

2012: Fallujah. Frederic Wood Theatre

A world premiere, funded by a $350,000 USD grant from the Annenberg Foundation of Los Angeles, this anti-war story tells of one incident from two perspectives. In 2016 it was produced at Long Beach Opera in Los Angeles, and by New York City Opera.

2014: Pauline. York Theatre

The world premiere of Margaret Atwood’s first opera, it is the story of the writer, performance artist, and proto-Canadian Pauline Johnson, and a meditation on identity. It was also given in 2015 at Le Festival Québec en toutes lettres.

2016: The Lost Operas of Mozart. Christ Church Cathedral

An event premiere, our first comedy, set in Limbo, and starring Vancouver Symphony conductor Bramwell Tovey as The Impresario, ours was a re-construction of three brilliant operas Mozart began but never finished.

2017: Missing. York Theatre, Vancouver. Baumann Centre for Opera, Victoria

The world premiere of a story everyone knows, about a woman no one remembers. Libretto by Marie Clements, music by Brian Current, directed by Peter Hinton. Its creation was made possible by an award of $127,000 from The Vancouver Foundation. Missing is a co-production with Pacific Opera Victoria.

COMING IN NOVEMBER 2018Nigredo Hotel, a bizarre, dark, and comic operatic thriller, by Nic Gotham and Anne-Marie MacDonald.

How We Pay For It

  • Year-round, we raise money for mainstage productions, special events, ongoing operations, and the invention of new work.
  • We are the grateful beneficiaries of support from the Canada Council, the BC Arts Council, the City of Vancouver, numerous foundations and businesses, and hundreds of individual donors. We thank them all.
  • Our mainstage projects typically cost between $200,000 - $400,000. The latter figure includes commissioning, work-shopping, and related new work costs.
  • City Opera Vancouver has never run a deficit.

The Future

We believe that chamber opera is a significant part of the future of all opera.

Our affordable advantage, agility, low overhead, and commitment to powerful and relevant stories makes it so.

Thank you for reading this.

info@cityoperavancouver.com