Chamber Opera Workshops

The Board of City Opera Vancouver is committed to identifying and supporting new Canadian chamber opera. The engine of new opera is the workshop. The libretto and piano-vocal score are tested to clarify strengths and weaknesses, enhance narrative pulse, and further the unity of music and story.

Workshops bring the power of the human voice to sound and vision.

On 29 May 2009, City Opera’s first New Canadian Chamber Opera Workshop took place in Vancouver. Rena Sharon donated her home and Dunbar Heights United Church its facilities. The event was a co-production of the Vancouver International Song Institute, Dunbar Heights United Church, and City Opera Vancouver.

‘Sea Change’, created by Constantine Caravassilis and Nora Kelly, was brought to life by Melanie Kreuger, singing the role of Eleni; Megan Morrison, as Justina; Bob Sampson, as Thodoris; and Stephen Aberle, as Panos. They were joined by choristers Erin Palm, Vicki Richardson, Janel Snider, Rachel Aberle, and Cheryl Mullen. The event was filmed by Sid Chow Tan, and a DVD made for study and analysis. André Gerard served as lead volunteer.

Dr Greg Caisley worked as pianist, and Charles Barber as music director. The distinguished stage director John Wright led the afternoon’s staging.

NB at 1 October 2009: Because of funding cuts afflicting City Opera (and every other arts group in British Columbia), our second round of workshops has been postponed while we work to obtain financing from other sources. We very much regret this delay.

NB at 21 February 2011: Today City Opera announced that we have resumed our commitment to workshopping new chamber opera. Thanks to the tremendous gift of $250,000 from the Annenberg Foundation / Explore of Los Angeles, we are now undertaking a 4-workshop sequence over the next year. Please check the AUDITIONS page for details. Our librettist is Heather Raffo of New York City, and composer Tobin Stokes of Vancouver. The workshop director is John Wright.

The first Annenberg/Explore chamber opera workshop is now set for 15 and 16 May 2011. Five professional actors (Gabrielle Rose, Craig Erickson, Aslam Hussain, Medina Hahn and Camyar Chaichian) will work the text only. It's opera:  words always come first. We'll keep you posted on these exciting developments in Canadian music.

NB at 15 December 2012:  Workshops for Pauline will take place in September and October 2013. Details to come.