City Opera News / 17 June 2016

  • Fallujah a triumph in Los Angeles. Moves to New York in November
  • Juno-award winning composer Brian Current to write music for Missing Women
  • City Opera and Pacific Opera Victoria to co-pro Missing Women
    6 nights in Vancouver,  followed by 5 nights in Victoria
  • Cathleen Gingrich appointed first City Opera General Manager

FALLUJAH: New York premiere in November


City Opera Vancouver’s first commission will be produced by New York City Opera in November 2016.

With music by Canadian Tobin Stokes, libretto by Iraqi-American Heather Raffo, based on the story of USMC Sgt Christian Ellis, funded by the Annenberg Foundation and of Los Angeles, and originally directed by John Wright, Fallujah is a powerful indictment of war, and its enduring agony in PTSD.

“We are deeply proud of this work,” said City Opera Vancouver president Janet Lea. “It shows the power of chamber opera to tell difficult stories in eloquent and intimate ways. Fallujah is our first commission to be produced in New York.”

THE GLORY OF ITALIAN OPERA rises at Il Centro on 22 June


Please join us at Il Centro: The Italian Cultural Centre, in the Grand Ballroom, 7:30pm on Wednesday 22 June. All seats $20. 3075 Slocan, at Grandview.

Soprano Shadan Saul, mezzo Barbara Towell, tenor Sunny Shams, baritone Andrew Greenwood, pianist David Boothroyd, and host Tom Durrie. A special E-letter in 72 hours with exciting news about this concert.

FALLUJAH a triumph in Los Angeles premiere


“We are delighted by the success of the first American production of a City Opera commission,” said board President Janet Lea. “The reviews were wonderful.”

From 2010 – 2012 City Opera Vancouver created Fallujah. Made possible by $250,000 USD from The Annenberg Foundation and, with another $100,000 USD for a film, Fallujah in March 2016 was produced by Long Beach Opera in California.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Captures with the vividness I recall as a correspondent and the anguish, rage and bewilderment of disparate cultures and lives trapped by larger designs.

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER:Fallujah” has packed a punch… powerful moments… and by the end, a listener’s thoughts and feelings have been stirred… consistently strong cast… For those who want their opera relevant, here it is.

OPERA NOW: The new work is a highly relevant one that strikes fear in the heart of contemporary American consciousness… Composer Tobin Stokes’ score, with a fascinatingly woven and psychologically fraught libretto by Iraqi-American writer Heather Raffo, capitalizes on the unique dimensions and expressive latitude of 21st Century opera.

100,000 of our closest friends joined us last Sunday…


in our 7th annual appearance at Italian Day on the Drive.

They were thrilled to have soprano Shadan Saul, tenor Sunny Shams, pianist Roger Parton, and host Tom Durrie take them on a voyage across the highlights of Italian opera. It was a thrilling event, and the 83rd in our ongoing programme of community concerts.

LOST OPERAS OF MOZART to be found – at Christ Church Cathedral


On 27, 28 and 29 October City Opera presents its first comedy, and a Mozart ‘premiere’. “The trouble starts at eight.”

This premiere is generously supported by Yoshiko Karasawa, the RJ Stern Family Foundation, McLean Foundation, Hamber Foundation, BC Arts Council, BC Gaming, City of Vancouver Cultural Services, Conam Charitable Foundation, Tom Lee Music, numerous private donors, and a $16,000 production grant from the Canada Council. Tickets go on sale after Labour Day. All seats $45. Fund-raising continues.

We gave our seventh concert set at Minoru Chapel / Richmond on 4 May


It featured soprano Chloé Hurst, baritone Samuel Chan, pianist Richard Epp, and narrator Tom Durrie in a concert of repertoire for soprano and baritone. Our thanks to the City of Richmond for inviting us back.


Meet Brian Current: our composer for Missing Women


We are thrilled that Canadian composer Brian Current will contribute his gifts to Missing Women. Brian is an exceptional talent, and a marvelous story-teller in music. He was chosen by a Jury using City Opera’s anonymized process. We thank the Jury for its immense contribution to Missing Women, and to the story that librettist (and jury member) Marie Clements has given us.

“Marie and I hit it off right away,” said Current. “I could sense immediately that we were on the same wavelength. Her writing was so vivid and filled with such longing that it cried out to be set to music. I can’t wait to work with her further.”

“I am extremely excited to work with Brian,” added Clements. “He instantly understood what we are trying to achieve. His music is beautiful and tells a powerful story.”

Added Current, “The story of the missing and murdered aboriginal women of Canada must be told immediately. It is an unspeakable tragedy for our nation that is still largely, and unconscionably, invisible to the wider public. 1250 women. Imagine if 1250 non-aboriginal women disappeared all at once from Ottawa or Quebec City or Victoria.  There would be an urgent and international outcry.

“Our goal in writing this piece is to humanize these women and their families and to show that each and every one of these missing women is deserving of our heartbroken attention. Each death is really one hundred deaths, as it affects all those who have loved and cherished the victim, often since infancy.

“As cultural boundaries have surely played a role in our national silence about these missing women, one of our goals is to use both native and non-native language alongside music to build a bridge between the cultures. I look forward to working with the entire City Opera and Pacific Opera family alongside their First Nations partners in the creation of this work, and I am very grateful for the opportunity to play a small part in bringing this important piece to life. I urge everyone to visit the CBC website devoted to the missing: .”

Brian Current’s professional accomplishments include:

  • BMus (McGill); MA, PhD (UC Berkeley)
  • winner of the $50,000 Azrieli Prize, 2015
  • Juno Award for his second chamber opera, Airline Icarus, 2015
  • Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University commission award, 2012
  • Canada Council, Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award in Music, 2012
  • Premio Fedora (Italy), Airline Icarus – international prize for new chamber opera, 2011
  • Koussevitzky Commission (USA) – work for symphony orchestra, 2007

Pacific Opera Victoria joins in production of MISSING WOMEN

“Pacific Opera Victoria is thrilled to partner with City Opera Vancouver on the creation of this important new chamber opera.  Along with our librettist and composer, and a host of exciting artists, both our companies and communities will come together to explore the tragic story of Missing Women along the Highway of Tears, and to create a compelling art work of national resonance,” said Patrick Corrigan, CEO of Pacific Opera Victoria.

“City Opera is pleased to join with such an esteemed Canadian opera company as Pacific Opera Victoria for this project.  To be able to join the divide between island and lower mainland for an important subject that speaks to us all is an important collaboration. As the Truth and Reconciliation Commission stated: ‘Reconciliation calls for community action.’  We are hoping that our small steps together can create larger action across Canada,” added City Opera General Manager Cathleen Gingrich.

Meet Cathleen Gingrich: our first General Manager


“We welcome Cathleen Gingrich back to City Opera in her new role as our first General Manager,” said City Opera president Janet Lea.

“She is tremendously well-qualified, and has the entrepreneurial spirit we value so highly. Cathleen was manager for City Opera’s first-ever tour when we took Pauline to Québec last October. It was a musical success, an organizational triumph, and paved the way for future City Opera tours,” Lea added.

“I am delighted to join City Opera in this new role,” said Cathleen. “This daring company is showing the way to the future of opera in Canada. Their commitment to new repertoire, to engagement with the community, and to creating new audiences is important to me. I want to contribute as Manager to that success.”

Cathleen holds a Diploma in Human Resources from George Brown College of Applied Arts and Technology, Toronto, and a Masters in Opera from UBC. She has combined her skills in administration and the arts for such Vancouver organizations as Turning Point, the Arts Club, UBC Opera, and the Canadian Music Centre.

Cathleen Gingrich is also an accomplished mezzo-soprano who has worked with Canadian composers John Plant, Tobin Stokes, Michael Park and R. Murray Schafer. In 2014, she created the role of Nurse in City Opera’s premiere of Margaret Atwood’s first opera, Pauline.