Jul 9, 2019


Manitoba Opera (MO) announced this evening at its 2018/19 Annual General Meeting (AGM), held at the McKim Building in Winnipeg, that the 2018/19 season, which ended May 31, 2019, was the company’s most financially successful season in its 46 years of operation, resulting in the elimination of a decades’ old accumulated debt.

The company posted an operating surplus of $86,312 on a budget of $2,585.965. An additional $374,755 was raised towards the elimination of the debt of $450,652, accumulated since the 1980s. MO’s accumulated debt had reached $654,000 by year end June 30, 2000.

The debt was retired by a matching gifts challenge issued by a donor who committed $150,000 to the campaign. In total, more than 190 individuals, corporations, foundations, and governments rose to the challenge with gifts from $5 to $150,000.

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Jun 13, 2019

The Best Opera Gifts for Dad

Father’s Day is this Sunday! It can be hard to find a gift that Dad will like. To help you out, here’s a few gift ideas sure to have Dad singing.

Night at the Opera

Double the experience for Dad with a subscription so that he can see two operas this season – Susannah and Carmen!

Saturday & Friday Nights $71 – $261

Add a special treat to the Saturday performance of Susannah with the Opening Night Dinner.
The Opening Night Dinner is catered by Bergmann’s on Lombard and includes complimentary parking all for just $150 per person.

Tuesday Nights $46 – $241


Enhanced Opera Experience

Does your dad already have a subscription? Not to worry, we have just the thing to enhance his opera-going experience – OPERA GLASSES ($50 – $75)


Visit our Box Office or call us at 204-944-8824 to inquire.


Let Dad Choose

Not sure what Dad would enjoy? Let him choose by gifting him with the freedom to build his own opera experience.

Manitoba Opera gift cards never expire and can be used to purchase Subscriptions, Single Tickets, Opera Glasses, Merchandise, and more.

There is no set amount for a gift certificate. No matter the budget, this is a gift that Dad will love.

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May 22, 2019

Kelly Robinson to direct Manitoba Opera’s Susannah

Award-winning director, dramaturge and choreographer Kelly Robinson has been secured as the director of Manitoba Opera’s premiere of Susannah which opens the 2019/20 season this November. He last directed for the company in the 1990’s when he was at the helm of The Marriage of Figaro (1992), The Dialogues of the Carmelites (1993), The Pearl Fishers (1994), and The Turn of the Screw (1998).

With a career that spans theatre, opera, and film, Kelly’s work has been seen at the Stratford and Shaw Festivals, the National Arts Centre, CanStage, the Palace Theatre in New York, the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Centre, Theatre Royal in Plymouth, England, and in London’s West End. His work in opera includes the companies of Vancouver, Calgary, Portland, Dallas, Minnesota, Montreal and Québec City. Film and television credits include choreography for Columbia Pictures, CBC, NBC, and ABC Television.

Recent work as a director includes the world premiere of the dance musical, VIDA! for The Luminato Festival and Mirvish Productions at Toronto’s Royal Alexandra Theatre, The Inventor for Calgary Opera, High Society for the Shaw Festival, Guys And Dolls for the Stratford Festival, and Dead Man Walking for Calgary Opera. Kelly’s production of Evita broke the record for highest tickets sales in Vancouver Opera’s history; his West Side Story at Stratford and High Society at Shaw both set new attendance records as well.

He is a former artistic and executive director of theatre arts for The Banff Centre. Kelly holds a law degree from York University, and continues as Director of New Work Development for Toronto’s Mirvish Productions.

For more information on Kelly Robinson, go to http://kellyfrobinson.com/biography/

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May 17, 2019

Carlisle Floyd

Carlisle Floyd is one of America’s most celebrated composers of opera. His operas are rooted in America, both in subject and in style, and are widely performed in the United States and abroad. They include Susannah (1955), The Passion of Jonathan Wade (1962; revised, 1990), Of Mice and Men (1970), Bilby’s Doll (1976), Willie Stark (1981), and Cold Sassy Tree (2000).

As he celebrated his 80th birthday in 2006, he told the Houston Chronicle he considered the acclaimed Cold Sassy Tree to be his professional finale. However, he went on to write another opera, Prince of Players, which received its premiere at Houston Grand Opera in March 2016.

“With a commitment that rivals Smetana’s in Bohemia or Britten’s in Britain, Floyd has striven to create a national repertory … He has learned the international language of successful opera in order to speak it in his own accents and to enrich it with the musical and vernacular idioms of his own country.”  – Andrew Porter, The New Yorker

Born in 1926 in Latta, South Carolina, the son of a Methodist minister, Floyd earned both a bachelor and master of music degree in piano and composition at Syracuse University. He began his teaching career in 1947 as part of the piano faculty at Florida State University (FSU), eventually becoming a professor of composition. It was at FSU that he wrote his first nine operas, including Of Mice and Men (1969) and his most popular, Susannah (1953–54).

Aside from composing, Floyd is also his own librettist, having written the libretto for all 12 of his operas. His works are among the most performed operas by American composers. He is said to speak in a uniquely American voice, capturing both the cadences and the mores of that society.

“It is my opinion that Susannah and the Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess mark the two finest American operas ever composed. It brings me great joy and satisfaction to bring Carlisle’s important work to San Francisco Opera’s main stage season where it rightfully belongs.” – David Gockley, General Director, 2006 – 2016

Carlisle Floyd taught at Florida State University from 1947 to 1976, and in 1976 became the M. D. Anderson Professor of Music at the University of Houston. In Houston, he and David Gockley established the important Opera Studio, which for more than three decades has helped train young artists in the full spectrum of opera. Graduates include Erie Mills, Denyce Graves, and Joyce Di Donato.

A 2001 inductee of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Floyd has received numerous honors, such as a Guggenheim Fellowship and the National Opera Institute’s Award for Service to American Opera. He was the first chairman of the NEA’s Opera/Musical Theater Panel, which the agency created in 1976. In 2004, he received a National Medal of Arts. In 2008, Floyd was the only composer to be included in the inaugural National Endowment for the Arts Opera Honors.

“When I began writing my operas, there was no American opera, and there were very few American opera companies, and just to see what has happened in my lifetime is just… extraordinary.” – Carlisle Floyd

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Mar 28, 2019

Stage Director’s Notes: The Barber of Seville

Stage Director’s Notes: The Barber of Seville

By Alain Gauthier


‘’What on earth is all this love which makes everyone go mad?’’

– Berta’s Aria, Act II


Berta’s commentary summarizes perfectly the whole atmosphere of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, one of the most beloved works in the repertoire. Nothing in this opera goes the way it should be (just like every good comedy, no?) and the intrigue is, on purpose, jubilantly entangled and crazy.

The challenge with directing this opera is to make sense out of the inextricable chaos originally created in 1775 for the theatre by Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais, son of a clockmaker. Beaumarchais was also a clockmaker prior to becoming one of the greatest writers of his time. And one must admit that it helps to have a watchmaking mind (not to mention a twisted one!) to imagine such an intricate plot, for under this apparent chaos lurks the mechanisms of relentless clockwork.

For me, comedy is like a clock mechanism. It has to be very precise to work. My goal when directing a piece like The Barber of Seville is to make sure that all the elements of this mechanism work perfectly together. In the opera version of this story, the music adds an even more accurate degree of preciseness. One of my tasks is to try to illustrate visually how this crazy machine works and how it affects the characters on stage. Maybe Rossini, with his notorious sense of humour, deliberately alluded to Beaumarchais’ clock-making background when he wrote the brilliantly silly finale of the first act where the orchestra and the singers seem to imitate the sound of a screwy clock!

Supported by a genius libretto, the opera is filled with bewildering, dazzling, and inventive music. What’s more, the arias and ensemble appear to be packed with a kind of humorous craziness. In The Barber of Seville, madness is contagious, and the common disease making all the characters go a little crazy seems to be love.

As a starting point of many classic comedies, love (ideally an impossible one) leads the action. Here, the ardent and youthful Almaviva falls for the sparkling Rosina, unapproachable pupil of Doctor Bartolo. We witness, throughout this joyful adventure, a passionate love obstructed, of course, by countless difficulties. And it’s precisely those obstacles, brilliantly orchestrated by Rossini, that make this opera such a thrilling piece of art.

In this world completely disturbed by love, Figaro alone seems to be sane. Adept at managing the craziness, he takes an amused look at those disrupted characters. With our barber’s lucidity, combined with his wit, and his obvious excitement for handling this craziness, he becomes the audience’s accomplice and turns out to be our guide throughout this crazy journey.

The Barber of Seville’s energetic music and witty plot has no other purpose than to charm you and make you laugh. In this same candid and unpretentious way, we’ll try to give life to this masterpiece, hoping  – if it’s not already happened – to make you mad about Rossini!

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Mar 12, 2019

2019/20 Season to Feature the Iconic Carmen & the Company Premiere of the American Classic Susannah

Manitoba Opera will present an iconic opera and a company premiere in its 47th season. Susannah, American composer Carlisle Floyd’s third and most well-known opera, opens the season November 23, 26, 29, 2019. This opera will be paired with the most popular of all operas, Bizet’s Carmen, March 28, 31, April 3, 2020. Both productions will be staged at the Centennial Concert Hall.

Winner of the New York Music Critic Circle Award for best new opera in 1956, Susannah is the most-performed American opera after Porgy and Bess. This “powerfully emotional piece is among the finest achievements in American opera.” (Nashville Music Scene 2015) and was chosen by the United States to represent American music at the 1958 World’s Fair in Brussels.  (more…)

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Feb 27, 2019

Shave and a Haircut…and LEECHES?!

At the time that The Barber of Seville was premiered, the role of the professional barber was changing throughout Europe. Up through the 1700s, barbers – then called barber-surgeons—performed a wide range of tasks relating to caring for the personal needs of others. These tasks included trimming hair and shaving beards, cleaning and pulling teeth, and even rudimentary surgery and blood-letting (for centuries it was believed that “bad blood” was a cause of many maladies, and needed to be periodically drained from the body). (more…)

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Feb 19, 2019

Personal Care Products Drive at The Barber of Seville

Whether it’s just-washed hair, a shave, or the feel of freshly brushed teeth, we all want to take care of ourselves and look our best. For the homeless in our community and others who are down on their luck, this is not always an option.

Manitoba Opera is asking patrons to consider bringing much-needed personal care products and toiletries to The Barber of Seville. Donations will be distributed to Lighthouse Mission, Siloam Mission, and the Main Street Project. (more…)

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Feb 14, 2019

A Real Manitoba Opera Love Story

It was the fall of 2004. Dawn had returned home to Winnipeg earlier that year from her studies at McGill in Montreal. She entered the post baccalaureate program at the University of Manitoba’s School of Music (now known as the Marcel A Desautels Faculty of Music)

Enter Paul who was in his second year of his Bachelor of Music and feeling quite adventurous after having finished a Bachelors of Commerce at the Asper School of Business.

While Paul and Dawn met at the School of Music, they rarely talked until their time together on the stage at Manitoba Opera’s 2004 production of Rigoletto. Paul, the oblivious one, was standing in for Gaétan Laperrière – Rigoletto – as he was not arriving until later in the rehearsal period. Dawn, Ms. Va Va Voom, was Countess Ceprano. (more…)

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