Jun 29, 2020

Manitoba Opera Announces Cancellation of 2020/21 Season Opening Production of Sweeney Todd

Manitoba Opera announced today that the 2020/21 season opening production, Sweeney Todd, is cancelled.  The company made the decision to cancel the Manitoba premiere of this Broadway masterpiece scheduled to run at the Centennial Concert Hall November 7, 10, and 13, owing to a number of reasons in response to the pandemic.

“The Board of Trustees and I came to this conclusion based on a number of factors,” explained Larry Desrochers, General Director & CEO. “First and foremost, the safety of our patrons, artists, crew, staff, and volunteers is of paramount importance, and we do not believe that we can guarantee the appropriate level of safety for a full-scale production at this time.

The Province has indicated that it will not be reviewing the re-opening of large venues like the Centennial Concert Hall until September. To prepare a production for November, chorus rehearsals would normally start in August, and rehearsals are not possible with social distancing in place.

Social distancing measures that must be in place for the audience in the Centennial Concert Hall reduces the number of available seats to sell and that means producing large-scale productions is not economically viable at this time.”

Though the fall production has been cancelled, Manitoba Opera will continue to present opera throughout the year. Plans have been developed for a variety of artistic, community engagement, and education programming.  Some events will be online, some live, and others will be a combination of both, depending on circumstances.

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May 28, 2020

A Message from Larry Desrochers

This is the final edition of Libretto for the 2019/20 season.  It’s the season that will go down in the history books as the one with the asterisk beside it, like the prize fighter who changed weight classes to win a championship or the Stanley Cup-winning team in a shortened season.  A special achievement in extraordinary circumstances.

Soon the Government of Manitoba will implement Phase 2 of its re-opening plan, and we will all take cautious, careful, wobbly baby steps towards – what?  That, as Hamlet says, is the question.  Are we going back to the old normal or are we wandering down the path to some undiscovered country?  I wonder if we still think that it is familiarity that breeds contempt.  Perhaps these days, it is uncertainty.

I’m reminded of a principle in Steven Covey’s book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: we “should begin with the end in mind.”  Simply put, an architect imagines a building, then creates the blueprints, and then builds the building.  She/he begins with the imagined “end in mind” first, and then proactively takes steps to make that end a reality.

So, what is the “end in mind” for Manitoba Opera?  Where do I imagine we are six months from now, or a year, or two years?  Does Figaro still have the solutions to everyone’s problems?  Do Rodolfo and Mimi still fall in love over candlelight?  Does Papageno still find his Papagena?  Of course they do, and they always will because no matter how we do it, Manitoba Opera will always be about singing, music, and story.  The “end in mind” is for artists to share the gifts of their talents with audiences, lovingly portraying the pains and joys, the blood and soul of the human experience.

For a little while we might not sit in a darkened theatre together or I might not be able to greet you in the lobby.  But summer is upon us and the smell of lilacs is in the air.  Besides, who wants to go the opera when it’s nice outside anyway?  Unless, of course, it is outside!  In a few weeks, we will be sharing our plans for next season; some of those plans will remain the same and some will change.  What will be a constant throughout next season though is our pledge to provide quality experiences and opportunities to share opera with you that we hope inspires, entertains, and delights.

Finally, I want to thank the hundreds of patrons who’ve donated their Carmen tickets back to the company, as well as the hundreds of donors who’ve renewed their gifts or donated to our year end campaign.  The board, staff, artists, and volunteers are all very grateful for your support.  Your generosity makes the asterisk on this season a little more special.



Larry Desrochers
General Director & CEO

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Mar 16, 2020




MARCH 28, 31, APRIL 3, 2020;


Manitoba Opera announced today that the run of Carmen, scheduled for March 28, 31, and April 3, at the Centennial Concert Hall, has been cancelled following the recommendations of the Province of Manitoba’s public health authorities to limit gatherings larger than 250 in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

“I want to thank our patrons, supporters and stakeholders for their patience as we organized ourselves in preparation for this announcement,” said Larry Desrochers, General Director & CEO.  “Of course, this decision is a disappointment to both patrons who were looking forward to the production and the artists who were eager to perform, but clearly necessary in this time of crisis.”

In the coming days, Manitoba Opera will be in communication with Carmen ticket holders with more information about options for their tickets and appreciate their patience during these unprecedented circumstances.

The company has also postponed the Gala Reception honouring Tannis M. Richardson to the fall and will be providing more information on this event as it is finalized.

The Dinner at DeLuca’s event May 14 is still on schedule to occur, but advisories from public health officials will be monitored over the coming weeks and if necessary, that will be postponed as well.

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