City Opera news for September 19, 2019

New Music, New Singers, And New Board Members

In the season ahead, City Opera presents a dramatic new work, Berlin: The Last Cabaret. We welcome five new singers in it. We bid a fond and grateful farewell to three long-serving members of our Board. And, we announce new concerts and special events – including our first co-pro with Early Music Vancouver.

Our 12th AGM

On September 17, at the Canadian Music Centre, we renewed our Board, our mandate, and our commitment to telling the stories of people who cannot speak for themselves.

Shamsh Kassam, Janet Lea, Derwyn Lea and Doug Berg.

With gifts, jokes, and profound thanks, we said farewell to Doug Berg (13 years service), Shamsh Kassam (7 years), and Janet Lea (12 years, the last five of them as our tireless President and Co-Producer). Each gave extraordinary devotion to our company. We also thanked our bookkeeper, Derwyn Lea, for his outstanding volunteer labour. Janet was named President Emerita.

Ethel Whitty, Daniel Cairns, Krista Isberg, and Daphne Rodzinyak.

Janet, Shamsh, Doug, and Derwyn cannot be replaced personally, but stepping into their shoes will be Daniel Cairns, Krista Isberg, and Ethel Whitty, joined by new bookkeeper Vanessa Tetangco. Returned to the Board are Jaap Hamburger, Daphne Rodzinyak, Helen Song, and Jennifer Yong. We are grateful to all of them.

Singalong In Great Opera Choruses / BC Culture Days

Saturday 28 September / 1-2pm at CBC Studio 700 / free, of course

With words projected onscreen, ringers Tamar Simon, Martina Govednik, Thomas Lamont, and William Liu to help, and Roger Parton on keyboard, we will perform O Fortuna, Anvil Chorus, Habanera, Va Pensiero, and Libiamo. Please join us. It’s free, and like singing in the shower – without the water.

Berlin: The Last Cabaret

23-25 January 2020, Performance Works
It is 1934. Berlin. Members of a cabaret troupe gather one last time to perform for their friends. Some have already gone missing.

Berlin is a powerful new work and a modern parable about hate and ignorance, the manufacture of chaos and consent, and the flux of lies that go uncontested. We introduce five remarkable singers new to City Opera, and repertoire authentic to the Weimar Republic. Alan Corbishley, stage director. Charles Barber, music director. Joanna Garfinkel, dramaturge. Roger Parton, music preparation. Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg, movement. John Webber, set and lighting design. Jayson McLean, production. Dr Lauren Faulkner Rossi, historical advisor. Tickets go on sale mid-November.

Dido And Aeneas & Dido

November 2020, The Vancouver Playhouse
In fourteen months, we present our first co-production with Early Music Vancouver. It is a double-bill featuring the 17th C masterwork by Henry Purcell, followed by its 21st C inversion, Aeneas and Dido, by the Canadian composer James Rolfe. This is a British Columbia premiere.


September 2021, The Vancouver Playhouse
Chinatown is our fifth commission in nine years, and a look at one of our most important neighbourhoods and peoples. With libretto by the award-winning writer Madeleine Thien, it tells the story of one family, and raises questions of identity and belonging.

Susan Ma, Janet Lea and Madeleine Thien at the 1903 Lim Benevolent Association building.

Watch for your invitation! Workshops begin on November 29. Maddie will be in attendance. We thank our principal funders — The Vancouver Foundation, and City of Vancouver Cultural Services – and all of our private donors.

And We Give Concerts…

Italy vs France


Opera Goes to Hell


  • Thursday 26 September. On The Table, from The Vancouver Foundation
  • Saturday 28 September. Singalong to Great Opera Choruses. 1 – 2pm. Studio 700, CBC Building
  • Friday 4 October. Gala Fundraiser at Il Centro
  • Saturday 26 October. Berlin: a sneak preview. 7pm. DTES Carnegie Centre
  • Thursday 14 November. Carnegie Newsletter Fundraiser. 7pm. St James Community Square
  • Friday 29 November. Chinatown Workshops begin