City Opera News for 17 May 2021

City Opera Vancouver announces
one-year postponement of Chinatown

Was September 2021
Now September 2022

“Regretfully, City Opera Vancouver must postpone its world premiere of CHINATOWN to September 2022,” City Opera president Ethel Whitty announced today.

Chinatown is a new chamber opera by librettist Madeleine Thien and composer Alice Ping Yee Ho, with Hoisan translations by Paul Yee, scenic design by Camellia Koo, and lighting design by John Webber. It has been in development and workshop since 2017.

“The cause is COVID. In order to mount this show, install sets and props and costumes, rehearse in ensemble for a month, sell tickets, build the lobby museum displays, prepare the orchestra, manage the Finding Chinatown July and August workshops in Maple Ridge, Richmond, and Vancouver, and organize the Opening Night community dinner and Memorial March, we need a clear 120 days.

“Our audience – especially elders – must be and feel entirely safe in a large theatre. City Opera respects the Public Health Orders in effect. They are likely to require masking, hand-sanitizing, and social distancing until the end of this year.

“The solution is postponement. A year ago, we expected this measure might be required. We double-booked the Vancouver Playhouse, and all of our artists. We are grateful to Vancouver Civic Theatres for consenting to this unusual solution, and to all of our donors for supporting it.”

Chinatown will now run 13-17 September 2022 at the 668-seat Vancouver Playhouse.

Chinatown is generously supported by The Vancouver Foundation, Canada Council, BC Arts Council, City of Vancouver, Vancity Credit Union, Wuchien Michael Than Foundation, Doretta Lee Memorial Fund, The Illahie Fund, Heller Memorial Fund, Quan Family Fund, R&J Stern Family Foundation, McLean Foundation, Leon Judah Blackmore Foundation, Edith Lando Charitable Foundation, Hamber Foundation, Griffin Foundation, Museum of Vancouver, and our many individual donors.

Songs for Better Days

On 15 May, we joined one hundred of our colleagues in the performing arts across British Columbia. The occasion? Day of Music, a great celebration of the art organized and supported by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. All of it was necessarily and safely online – and free. We are grateful to the VSO for inviting us to join.

If you would like to enjoy the entire event, visit the Day of Music website.

For ourselves, we offered nine singers in nine songs from around the world. In them, a community sings music of hope and recovery, memory and gratitude. Starring Kat Norris / Watswema • Anastasia Pyshna • Turgut Akmete • Michelle Koebke • Sergio Augusto • Yuhui Wang • Bahareh Poureslami • Melody Courage • Chloé Hurst • Roger Parton, arranger and pianist

Watch Songs here on our YouTube channel.

City Opera Online auditions

We are looking for well-qualified singers to participate in PoPUpOpera this summer. 35 paid mini-concerts around Vancouver. Simple, safe, succinct and COVID-compliant. Interested? Please visit

Coming next to City Opera Online...

Terence Dawson and Robyn Driedger-Klassen

At the Statue of Venus, a romance by Jake Heggie and Terrence McNally.

Starring soprano Robyn Driedger-Klassen, and pianist Terence Dawson.

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