City Opera Concert Series

On August 24 2008, City Opera gave another DTES recital, this time in our second year as participants in the Fearless Festival. This Festival is organized annually by the Community Arts Network of the Community Arts Council of Vancouver, with support from many fine people and organizations.

It was conceived by Sharon Kravitz in response to a massive story in the Vancouver Sun, ‘Four Blocks of Hell’. And it was conceived to show the city what progress is actually being made through the redemptive power of art and music.

Vancouver’s lovely weather drove us from Pigeon Park to the InterUrban Gallery where, dryness and many friends in attendance, we again offered our music for residents of the Downtown Eastside. It will was later telecast in rotation on Shaw Cable by Fearless TV, thanks to producer Sid Tan.

Soprano Melanie Krueger, joined by pianist Michael Onwood, offered a wonderful program of Tesori, Puccini, Gilbert & Sullivan, Rogers & Hammerstein, Offenbach, Lehàr, and Thomas. The audience joined them in singing ‘Climb Every Mountain’, as great an anthem of hope and optimism as the DTES deserves.


Melanie Krueger, soprano

Michael Onwood, pianist

On 20 February 2009, City Opera participated in the first Homeground Festival at Oppenheimer Park in the DTES. Pianist Michael Onwood and soprano Jamie Onwood presented music from well-known opera and operetta to a wonderfully receptive audience of DTES residents.

"It is an ongoing honour for our company to take part so often in the cultural life of the DTES," said artistic director Charles Barber. "The poor have been cheated of so many beautiful things. Why must they also be cheated of the chance to hear Mozart, Brahms, or Schubert?"


On Saturday 3 October 2009, City Opera gave its first recital in the West End, at historic Roedde House. Soprano Melanie Krueger and pianist Greg Caisley were featured in music that could have been -- and very likely was -- heard in this mansion 100 years ago.

This beautiful Victorian was full, and rang to the songs of its era -- including The Songster, by Pauline Johnson herself. All thanks to Anthony Norfolk and his Board at Roedde House for making us welcome.


On Friday 19 February 2010, beginning at 4:15pm, City Opera participated in the second Homeground Festival at Oppenheimer Park in the DTES.

City Opera was proud to present soprano Caroline Jang, and pianist Michael Onwood, and to once again bring our music to the neighbourhood. An audience of 70 joined us for light classical and popular repertoire appealing to all. Photos at


And on Sunday 6 June 2010, at the Mainstage on Commercial Drive at Second, we were pleased to participate in a long-overdue revival of Italian Day on The Drive. Produced by Tom Durrie, we presented soprano Mariana Valdés and tenor Nicolas Rhind, joined by City Opera staff pianist Greg Caisley, in a hour-long programme of Verdi, Puccini, Cilea, Donizett and Mozart. More than 200 people braved the rain, and loved it.

Opera prevents drowning!

Photos at


And causes happiness!

On 20 June, we were invited to appear in the opening ceremonies for Italian Week, at the Italian Cultural Centre. Soprano Mariana Valdés, tenor Andrzej Jeziorski, and City Opera staff pianist Greg Caisley were joined by producer-narrator Tom Durrie in a programme of Verdi, Rossini, Puccini, Donizetti, Cilea, di Capua, and De Curtis. Their work was exceptionally well-received. Photos of the happy occasion may be seen on our FaceBook page:

This is all part of City Opera's continuing outreach into the greater community. Opera belongs everywhere.


Next recital? Minoru Chapel, behind the Gateway Theatre in Richmond, Wednesday 3 November, 7:30 to 9:00pm. $20 / $18 students and seniors / $15 for groups of ten or more.

We will feature Mariana Valdés, soprano, Nicolas Rhind, tenor, pianist Dr Greg Caisley and narrator Tom Durrie in a wonderful evening of music from Puccini, Verdi, Donizetti and much more. Bring your friends. They will bless you for it.

The historic Minoru Chapel, a beautiful heritage building rarely open to the general public, is located just behind the Gateway Theatre, and Richmond General Hospital, at 6540 Gilbert Road near the Westminster Highway. Ample parking. Details to come here, and on our FaceBook page.



May 2008

Four more free recitals in the DTES.