21 June 2010

Sumidagawa and Curlew River

This has been such a great quarter for City Opera Vancouver, and its many artistic and community partners. We gave the Canadian event premiere of Sumidagawa & Curlew River, co-produced with UBC Theatre and Film, and Blackbird Theatre. It received remarkable reviews, and an overwhelming audience response.

Like to download the actual programme book? Here it is.

Our thanks also to the many groups that helped us present this double bill: explorASIAN, Nikkei Place, the Japanese Language School and Hall, The Bulletin of the Japanese-Canadian Citizens’ Association, the Powell Street Festival, UBC Asian Studies, the UBC Alumni Association, and the Vancouver International Song Institute / VISI. A special thanks to Accent Inns for providing artist accommodation.

Sumidagawa and Curlew River Photos

View many more on our Facebook page, which features plenty of inside information. Not on Facebook? Now you have an excellent reason to join!

Opera Prevents Drowning…

On June 6 we appeared in Italian Day on Commercial Drive, with soprano Mariana Valdés and tenor Nicolas Rhind, joined by City Opera staff pianist Greg Caisley. This free set was organized by Tom Durrie. Two hundred people stayed and cheered in the downpour. Amazing.

Italian Week Opening Celebrations

We were then asked to participate in a major event at the Italian Cultural Centre. On June 20 City Opera Vancouver presented soprano Mariana Valdés and tenor Andrzej Jeziorski, accompanied by our staff pianist Greg Caisley, in a programme of Italian operatic highlights at the ICC on Slocan Street. Tom Durrie was our producer and narrator.

News Flash!

And because these events were so successful, we were just asked by the City of Richmond to participate in an opera series at their beautiful Minoru Chapel this fall. Yes, of course. Opera belongs everywhere.

Membership in City Opera Vancouver Society

Are you a City Opera member? Current memberships in the City Opera of Vancouver Society expire June 30th. Please consider renewing your membership this month.

Not a member yet?  Please join us.

The modest membership fee of $25.00 per year offers advance information and seating privileges. Membership fees also help support the company’s day-to-day operations as it prepares for new productions. Cheques may be made out to ‘City Opera Vancouver’, PO Box 88393, Vancouver V6A 4A6.

City Opera Vancouver aims to be as affordable as possible. This year, although we presented a double bill at Sumidagawa/Curlew River, we did not raise ticket prices. Please consider making a donation in addition to your membership. Every bit of support helps. We issue tax receipts for gifts over $25.00.

City Opera’s Next Production:

An Art Auction

A fundraising art auction to benefit City Opera Vancouver will be held this fall. We are looking for auctionable art. Can you help? Do you know anyone who might? If so, please contact us at info@cityoperavancouver.com. More details to come in a Special Edition of this E-letter.

Pauline rolls ahead…

Pauline, the new chamber opera by Margaret Atwood and Christos Hatzis,  starring Judith Forst as Pauline Johnson, is well underway. Our story is set at Vancouver in March of 1913. An excerpt from Act One is now available on DVD, and online at our website. www.cityoperavancouver.com

VISI / Wonderful concerts ahead

Our friends at VISI are offering one of their strongest public concert lineups in years. We strongly urge City Opera folks to consider enjoying…

TUESDAY 22 June / 10:30 am

Silk Purse, 1570 Argyle Avenue, West Vancouver

Emerging Artists take the Stage!

The next generation of extraordinary Art Song performers.

$12 • 604.925.7292 • silkpurse.ca

More information about the entire VISI Calendar at www.songinstitute.ca

Finally… audience and media reviews for Sumidagawa and Curlew River

“Almost unbearably beautiful.”

“Tenor Isaiah Bell, as the Madwoman, sang fervently with a varied palette and much eloquence.”

Elissa Poole, The Globe and Mail


Hilary Clark, Opera Canada

“Magical, very enriching, captivating, mesmerizing…”

Joy Coghill

What a fantastic show. A delight to see, a delight to hear. Bravo orchestra. In a way, a grim evening, but so powerful that it didn’t matter… I am hardly a dance enthusiast, but Sumidagawa worked fabulously, too.”

George Zukerman

“Juro Motomasa’s Noh play featured the Toronto butoh artist Denise Fujiwara, whose modern performance was freighted with an intense, ritual, hieratic slowness designed as if to delay time down to speeds and meanings beyond temporal reality.”

“This was a powerful telling of the story with a uniformly strong cast of singers…”

Lloyd Dykk, The Georgia Straight

“I enjoyed the performance last Friday night thoroughly, thoroughly, it was a great treat for me – and such inspiration.  Thank you so much.  Seeing the performances of the two artists performing the madwomen was a deeply moving experience – tremendously sad but of such beauty I wished it would never end.  The images are planted deeply into my heart. I am so glad, glad, glad you are doing the work you are doing.”

Savannah Walling, Vancouver Moving Theatre

“This is an honest production grappling with a complex and enigmatic work.”

…confident playing from flute, horn and percussion made Britten’s detailed, difficult score shine out with all the pathos and power latent in this remarkable fusion of East and West.

Tenor Isaiah Bell is up to almost everything Britten throws at him in the pivotal role of the Madwoman, from stark passages with only a glimpse of instrumental support to extravagant descants floating over complex ensemble numbers that mark critical points in the often austere score.”

David Gordon Duke, The Vancouver Sun

“I almost hesitate to write for fear my words of praise will be inadequate to describe last night’s production. I think I should just say it was one of the most powerful, moving experiences I have ever had in the theatre, and I so admire City Opera Vancouver for its vision and courage in staging a presentation that bridged such an enormous cultural gap so successfully.”

Rosemary Cunningham, author, Bravo! The History of Opera in British Columbia

“Tenor Isaiah Bell as the Madwoman was breathtaking. He sustained an intensity of emotion which never toppled into hysteria. His restrained gestures, like the Madwoman’s simple, haunting curlew motif in the music, slowly built suppressed tension and let Britten’s music work its magic.”

Elizabeth Paterson, Review Vancouver

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