Manitoba Opera


Apr 3, 2024


Considered to be one of the world’s most popular operas, Carmen, the sexy thriller that seduces the audience with every note, will be presented by Manitoba Opera at the Centennial Concert Hall Saturday, April 13 (7:30 pm), Wednesday, April 17 (7 pm), and Friday, April 19 (7:30 pm).

The opening night performance, Saturday, April 13, is sold out. Good seats are still available for the Wednesday, April 17 and Friday, April 19 shows.

For tickets, call 204-944-8824, go online at, or in person at the MO Box Office, lower level, Centennial Concert Hall (9:30 am – 4:30 pm, Monday to Friday). Seniors, students, and youth discounts are available.

Set in Spain in the 1930s, Carmen tells the story of a passionate, free-spirited woman who can have any man she wants, but when she seduces the young soldier Don José only to cast him aside for the handsome bullfighter, she seals her tragic fate. Carmen will be sung in French with French dialogue and projected English projections.

Carmen is unrivalled in its hit list of melodies and recognizable music, including Carmen’s smoky Habanera, Don José’s Flower Song, and the rousing Toreador Song. Over 140 years after its premiere in Paris, composer Georges Bizet’s opera continues to captivate audiences around the globe.

“Who can resist the sensuous music of Bizet? With its lavish score and brilliant orchestration, Carmen is an irresistible theatrical event. Last performed by the company in 2010, we are very pleased to bring this opera to the stage for an entirely new audience,” explains Larry Desrochers, General Director & CEO.


Acclaimed American mezzo-soprano Ginger Costa-Jackson makes her company debut as the fiery temptress, with the celebrated Canadian tenor David Pomeroy reprising his role as the obsessive corporal Don José. Internationally renowned Canadian baritone Daniel Okulitch will be appearing as Escamillo the dashing bullfighter.

Two Winnipeg favourites will also be featured: sopranos Lara Ciekiewicz, who will be singing the role of Michaëla and Lara Secord-Haid as Frasquita. Jacques Arsenault (Remendado) will be making a company debut. Giles Tomkins, who appeared in 2019 with the MO as Basilio in The Barber of Seville, will sing Zuniga, with Johnathon Kirby singing the dual roles of Moralès and Le Dancaïre. Barbara King will sing Mercédès.

Brian Deedrick will direct the production. Deedrick last directed La Bohème for the company in 2014. Tyrone Paterson will conduct the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and the Manitoba Opera Chorus. Lighting is by Hugh Conacher. Set, properties, and costumes provided by Edmonton Opera.


As the workers at a Seville cigarette factory enter the city square on their lunch break, the sensual and seductive Carmen teases her many admirers. Only the corporal Don José is resistant to her charms. Piqued by his disinterest, she playfully tosses a flower at him.

Later, Carmen is arrested for wounding a co-worker in a rowdy fight. Don José is to take her to prison but has fallen under her spell and lets her escape. He later deserts the army to join Carmen and her band of smugglers, disregarding his life-long sweetheart and his dying mother. Carmen has tired of the jealous José however, and decides to take on a new lover, the bullfighter Escamillo. Jealousy ignites and José’s rage leads to shocking, murderous consequences.

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Mar 27, 2024


2024/25 Season Productions Overflow with Young Love, Laughter & Loss

Manitoba Opera (MO) will present two crowd-pleasing productions in its 2024/25 Season. The season will kick off with the Donizetti comedy that is sure to win everyone’s heart, The Elixir of Love October 26, 30, and November 1, 2024. The timeless tale of love and loss, Puccini’s La Bohème will close the season April 5, 9, and 11, 2025. All performances take place at the Centennial Concert Hall.

“We have two lovely vintages on the list, so I invite you to join us in uncorking a season of delicious opera next year,” commented Larry Desrochers, General Director & CEO. “First off, we have The Elixir of Love, a sparkling champagne of an opera, effervescent with charm and laughter. If The Elixir of Love is champagne, then La Bohème is surely a rich and velvety red, swirling with passion and pathos.”

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Mar 25, 2024

Opera & Reading A Winning Combination

Every February Manitoba Opera participates in “I Love to Read” Month by bringing opera singers into classrooms to read some of our favourite children’s stories about opera-loving animals. This year, mezzo- soprano Keely McPeek and bass-baritone Stephen Haiko-Pena visited 27 classrooms at 14 schools, reading to over 800 students. As part of each workshop, students learned some Italian opera vocabulary and were treated to a short performance by the presenter.  

Opera Cat and Encore, Opera Cat! translated to Anishinaabemowin 

Additionally, students in several Ojibwe Language Program classrooms in the Louis Riel School Division received a very special visit. John McLean, who has translated the book Opera Cat into Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe), visited these classrooms to read his translation to the students. John shared a bit of his own story, telling students how he was forced to learn English and reprimanded for speaking Ojibwe when he was younger, how lucky they are to be learning the language in their schools, and how happy it makes him to share his language with them. He even mentioned that in translating the story he had to come up with new words for words like “limousine” and “pizza” that didn’t have a preexisting analogue in Ojibwe! Keely McPeek accompanied John to these classrooms and sang in Anishinaabemowin, performing the “Mending of Violence” aria from Li Keur: Riel’s Heart of the North 

Video recordings of John’s translations of Opera Cat and Encore, Opera Cat! are now available as part of our Opera Storytime online video library. These videos can be viewed at using the password: OperaStories21! 

We extend our gratitude to Councillor Brian Mayes and the City of Winnipeg for their generous support of our Opera Storytime program, including funding for the Anishinaabemowin translation.


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