Jul 23, 2021

Manitoba Opera Returns to the Stage With Mainstage Premieres of Two One-Act Operas and Family Favourite La Cenerentola (Cinderella) in 2021/22 Season

In its 49th season, Manitoba Opera (MO) returns to the stage to present two one-act operas: The Telephone and La Voix Humaine in November and a family favourite, La Cenerentola (Cinderella) – pronounced La Chen-erentola – in April. The productions will mark Manitoba Opera’s first return to live performance at the Centennial Concert Hall since November 2019. All live programming was cancelled at the Centennial Concert Hall when the COVID-19 pandemic struck in March 2020.

“Everyone associated with Manitoba Opera – the board of trustees, staff, the artists, crew, and patrons -are so excited at the prospect of our return to the stage with a live audience. We have all missed sharing an artistic experience together, and we can’t wait for that curtain to rise once again,” commented Larry Desrochers, General Director & CEO.

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Jun 1, 2021

Manitoba Opera Closes 2021/22 Season with launch of The Solo Sessions Video Series

A Cinematic Showcase of Manitoba Talent

Manitoba Opera closes the 2021/22 Season with a five-episode cinematic series celebrating the breadth of Manitoba’s musical talent. From Mozart to Marvin Gaye, The Solo Sessions presents a virtual buffet of musical treats from opera, musical theatre, art song, folk, and popular music interpreted by five exciting singers and talented musicians. The videos are available to view anytime on Vimeo on Demand for $31.50 (just $6.30 per episode!) beginning June 1 at 1pm CST.  Go to mbopera.ca for more information.

The series, designed and directed by award-winning Winnipeg filmmaker Deco Dawson, was recently shot on the stage of the company’s mainstage production venue, the Centennial Concert Hall in Winnipeg.  Featured vocalists are Lisa Bell, Lizzy Hoyt, Aaron Hutton, James McLennan, and Stephanie Sy.

“The Solo Sessions was a unique opportunity for Manitoba Opera to bring together a wide range of exciting Winnipeg artists and present them in a very different way from our normal productions or concerts,” commented Larry Desrochers, General Director & CEO. “The singers’ distinctive musical styles combined with director Deco Dawson’s insight and vision has resulted in a series that is fresh, eclectic,  and features performances that merge beautiful singing with music video, film, and theatre. With video on demand viewing, we will provide programming for our existing patrons, but also hope to reach new audiences as well.”

This is the first time that Manitoba Opera has collaborated with the filmmaker who has worked in both theatre and film for nearly two decades. Dawson’s 15 short films have garnered numerous awards worldwide including a two-time win of the Best Short Film Award from the Toronto International Film Festival for his films Keep a Modest Head and FILM(dzama). The New York Times described his latest work on Broadway as “jaw dropping.”

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May 7, 2021

Manitoba Opera Announces Second Digital Emerging Artists Program To Be Held This August

Applications are now being accepted for Manitoba Opera’s second Digital Emerging Artists Program (DEAP) which will be held August 3-27, 2021. This four-week intensive online professional development program is open to emerging operatic artists between the ages of 18 to 35. Four participants will be selected to hone their artistic skills while developing the tools necessary to create online content.

“The past year has shown that artists who are equipped to collaborate and perform in digital spaces or for distanced audiences are increasingly better positioned for success,” says Larry Desrochers, General Director & CEO.

“We are grateful to RBC Foundation and The Gail Asper Family Foundation for their support of the Digital Emerging Artists Program, which not only helps to ensure that the rising stars of Canada’s opera scene are prepared for a rapidly changing industry, but also provides earning opportunities for Canadian artists and arts professionals at a time when traditional revenue streams have all but evaporated.”

The core faculty from last year’s first DEAP are returning for this year’s program. They are four widely acclaimed professional singers/instructors: sopranos Tracy Dahl and Monica Huisman; mezzo-soprano Marion Newman; and tenor John Tessier. These artists will be joined by a stellar roster of coaches and guest teaching artists including directors Ann Hodges and Katherine Twaddle; pianist and vocal coach Michael McMahon; life coach Rebecca Hass; and web designer/videographer Stephen Bell.

The core faculty will be curating four weeks’ worth of daily educational and professional development activities for participants. These activities will include masterclasses and workshops on topics such as diction, audio and video production, acting for the camera, and career development. Additionally, each participant will leave the program with a professionally recorded video to be used to help launch the next phase of their careers.

“I have never been part of a program where the range of topics covered was so wide. Living in our digital age, and especially with current gathering restrictions, having the skills to create digital content is vital to maintaining artistic outlets for both artists and companies. Having the chance to explore some of those possibilities through this program was very valuable,” commented Lizzy Hoyt, 2020 DEAP participant.

To apply and for more information, go to https://mbopera.ca/deap

Supported by
RBC Foundation and
The Gail Asper Family Foundation

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Mar 12, 2021

Manitoba Opera presents The Barber of Seville as styled by Al Simmons

Comedy & Close Shaves Free Streaming on Demand
March 20-28

Figaro! Figaro! Figaro! In need of a few laughs? It’s the world’s most famous barber to the rescue, courtesy of Manitoba’s most famous comedian of invention, Al Simmons. Manitoba Opera is pleased to be presenting a digital version of The Barber of Seville as styled by Al Simmons which will be available to stream on demand for free at www.mbopera.ca from March 20 to 28.

Roll over Rossini! Al has translated the story of this popular comic opera from Italian to English and condensed Rossini’s comical look at love, greed, deceit, and close shaves. In this 45-minute rendition of the madcap comedy, Al plays all 10 characters and even audience members!

“I love to sing and tell stories; I also love opera and The Barber of Seville is one of my favourites. In this adaptation of my school show, I portray all of the main characters in the opera, plus I now take on the role of numerous other eccentrics. Most importantly, I sit in the audience and occasionally make comments about what’s going on onstage!” explains Al. “Thanks to the magic of video, my characters are able to interact with each other. I’m very proud of how this has turned out and hope Rossini (the composer) would appreciate my take on it.”

Commissioned by Manitoba Opera in 2009 for in-school presentations, Al has performed his one-person show, to rave reviews, for thousands of students in schools all across the province for over a decade.

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Jan 29, 2021


Saturday, February 6

See the Movie Based on the International Best-Selling Novel
Available for viewing any time between 12:01am and 11:59pm February 6
Can be viewed on computer, tablet, smartphone, or internet-connected TV

To Watch the Movie Online: Register at mbopera.ca/bel-canto/ by noon on Friday, February 5

Join the Zoom Discussion about the Film: Saturday, February 6, 3 pm
Led by Alison Gillmor, Winnipeg Free Press pop culture columnist.

PLOT:  Released in 2018, this film is based on the best-selling novel by Ann Patchett.
Bel Canto is s dramatic love story. It follows a famous American soprano (Julianne Moore with singing by Renée Fleming) who travels to a military dictatorship in South America to give a private concert at a party for a wealthy Japanese industrialist (Ken Watanabe). She and the other guests are taken hostage.

RUNNING TIME: One hour, 40 minutes
RATING: Suggested for audiences 14A; contains scenes of violence

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Jan 7, 2021

Former Winnipegger’s career hits new high note – WFP

“When locally born director Michael Cavanagh packs his bag for Stockholm next summer, he’ll be living out his dreams while marking a major career milestone.

Now based in London, Ont., the 59-year-old artist, who grew up in River Heights, has recently been appointed the new artistic director for the venerable 248-year old Royal Swedish Opera (RSO), regarded as one of the world’s greatest opera houses.

“It’s a huge honour and I just feel so much gratitude, and also this enormous sense of responsibility for this job, which is really fantastic,” says the effervescent director, who assumes the reins from retiring artistic director and CEO Birgitta Svendén this August for a  five-year tenure.

“It’s not just a national opera company, but it’s a royal opera company with all this incredible history,” he says, anticipating the opportunity to put his own creative stamp on what he calls this “big, beautifully run organization.”

As one of Canada’s most sought-after directors, the prolific Cavanagh has helmed more than 150 productions at more than 30 companies across North America and parts of Europe, including Vancouver Opera, San Francisco Opera, L’Opera de Montreal, Kansas City Opera, Opera Philadelphia, and naturally, Manitoba Opera, as well as serving as artistic director for Edmonton Opera between 1998 and 2001.”

Click here to read the full Winnipeg Free Press article.

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