Vancouver Opera 2012/13 season

Hey all, I’m still out here, doing fine. I have to admit that I have been working on a couple other projects over the last little while and have been neglecting this poor little blog for the last while. My apologies. So now it is back to work here…with a look at the Vancouver Opera 2012/13 season.

Although I did not make it to a single performance of the Vancouver Opera this season, it is still very much one of my passions. I am hoping (planning?) on attending the 2012/13 season and was more than a little pleased to see the release for the 2012/2013 opera season:

La Bohème – One of the world’s greatest love stories. Puccini’s ever popular masterpiece features a stellar youthful cast in a gorgeous production.

The Pirates of Penzance – Vancouver favourites Christopher Gaze and Judith Forst star in this witty comic opera that will have you laughing out loud!

Yes, I am VERY much looking forward to seeing Christopher Gaze! in a Vancouver Opera performance! (That’s me, Stacey speaking here).

The Magic Flute – VO presents its acclaimed First Nations – inspired production of Mozart’s magical tale, enhanced with new design elements.

Tea: A Mirror of Soul – A Canadian premiere, by the Academy Award winning composer of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Tan Dun’s haunting score and visually stunning staging will be one of the highlights of the cultural season.

Two More Performances of La Traviata in Vancouver

As an FYI, you should know that there are only two more performances of La Traviata scheduled to take place in Vancouver, one on May 10th and the other on the 12th. After that the Vancouver Opera, season, unlike the Canuck’s, season is over.

La Traviata
La Traviata

As my regular followers will know, I attended the opening night of La Traviata and loved the performance. The party scenes were gorgeous beyond belief.

Even though I have been going to Vancouver Opera performances since I was 15 years old I do not consider myself educated enough to be an “opera critic.” What I am is a fan of opera. I love the spectacle of the performance as well as the spectacle of an opening night audience.

With that in mind I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed La Traviata. Particularly the final scene when Violetta and Alfredo are very briefly together.

La Traviata
La Traviata

In this scene Violetta does this thing with her voice where it sounds like she is whispering to Alfredo. Except her whispers can be heard in all their plaintiveness. It is simply heart-wrenching as we sit watching two people who are so obviously in love as one of them dies. Heart wrenching.

Although I have taken a few quality pictures in my time I have to credit Vancouver Opera for allowing me to use the photos in this post. The photos I have posted here were taken by the inimitable Tim Matheson.

If you want to go see one of the final two performances of Vancouver Opera’s season, there are some screaming good deals to be had on tickets. Visit the Vancouver Opera website to find a ticket or two that suits your purpose. I think you will be just as pleased with La Traviata as I was.

Disclosure; the views expressed here are based on my personal opinion. I did not receive any form of compensation from Vancouver Opera or anybody else for writing this blog post. As with all blog entries I do, editorial control remains mine and mine alone.

Vancouver Opera’s La Traviata Back Stage Party

Truly a fabulous evening at Vancouver Opera’s opening night of LA Traviata. I will post more a little later but for now I will just add these photos;

Sir Jonathan Miller
Sir Jonathan Miller

First is this pic of me and Sir Jonathan Miller, yes, “Sir” meaning he has been knighted. However, he much prefers to be addressed as Doctor Miller. So completely gracious when I asked if he would have his picture taken with me! His reply? “Of course, with pleasure .” Imagine that being said with a gentle English accent. I might have been swooning just a little at the time.

I asked how his experience has been working with the Vancouver Opera company and he said that it has been a lovely experience.




David Pomeroy (Alfredo) and Isabella Bywater
David Pomeroy (Alfredo) and Isabella Bywater

And then there is me with David Pomeroy who sang the part of Alfredo, the leading man in La Traviata. And a man who has incredible fashion taste in jackets.

Isabella Bywater, the Scenic and Costume designer decided to add herself to our Kodak moment.

David Pomeroy, like Sir-Dr Miller was very gracious. I can only imagine the emotional high that Pomeroy must be coming down from after singing the lead of opening night of La Traviata and then having all these fawning fans to deal with. He was very gracious and accommodating.

I felt a twinge of sadness knowing that this is the last opera of this season but I will remember it as a fabulous season of opera, fashion and friends. Fabulous.

I give a special thanks to my blogger colleagues Frances Sprout and her significant other, Paul who put up with my constant questions about the politics of west coast fisheries and the ocean environment.

Although it was the first night for me to meet Left Coast Mama and her plus one, Tracey Rossignol we had a great time discussing fashion and opera and our lives at home with our little ones.

This has been a season of fabulous opera experiences. I know I keep saying fabulous but I cannot think of another word to describe the experience. Absolutely fabulous. A season I will not soon forget.

Vancouver Opera’s Performance of La Traviata

On Saturday April 30th I will be attending the opening night of Vancouver Opera’s performance of La Traviata. Yes I am excited about seeing Sir Jonathan Miller direct Guiseppe Verdi’s most popular opera but at this time I have a much more pressing question or concern on my mind; whatever shall I wear to this opera?!

I have an awesome new pair of cowboy boots to wear; all I will say about them for now is that they are black and the hide they are made from is not endangered. The real issue though, I have no suit to wear with my boots. And admittedly, I no longer look as good in my birthday suit as I did in days gone by, so please, do not even go there.

I am thinking of a deep red, maybe a burgundy brocade fabric for my suit. I want something outrageous. Something fabulous. Something wild. Think Don Cherry.

Where to find such a beast of a suit in the next two weeks? Anyone have any help for me? Please?

Exciting Times for Stacey Robinsmith dot com

These are exciting times in the editorial offices of Stacey Robinsmith dot com. First off, April 30th is opening night of the Vancouver Opera performance of La Traviata and as usual, we will be live-blogging the opera.

La Traviata photo by Richard Termine
La Traviata photo by Richard Termine

You can check-in here on the night of the 30th for a sneak peak behind the stage before the opera opens and you can count on a half time (is that what they call the break between periods in opera?) “review” of the festivities. Of course you can always count on the behind the scenes, back-stage-after party dish.

As exciting as this news is, there is more! Yes, Stacey Robinsmith dot com has been added to the Bard on the Beach blogger team! We are still ironing out the details of what this will look like but at a minimum I will be bringing you up-dates as the Bard on the Beach season draws nigh and near. Hie thee hither for a Bard on the Beach ticket giveaway? We will see how that plays out (excuse the pun, I couldn’t resist).

And…yes, one more super, super exciting piece of business is in the works. As a follow-up to our day aboard the Seen Seas Navigator ultra-luxury cruise ship, we are negotiating with a couple other cruise ship companies to get Stacey Robinsmith dot com aboard for another look around two other cruise ship companies to see how they do the cruise business.

Exciting times indeed. Vancouver Opera, Bard on the Beach, and a cruise? These are most definitely the good old days.

After the After Party at Vancouver Opera

Ahh…La Clemenza di Tito…such a beautiful night at the Vancouver Opera performance. So wonderful.

I offer my sincerest thank yous to the Vancouver Opera Social Media Manager, Ling Chan. Ling is the picture of grace under all sorts of pressure. On opening night of the opera she appears calm and peaceful while I can only imagine the myriad things-to-do that are racing through her head. Even so, she accommodates every request that our small group of live-bloggers put to her. Fabulous. Simply fabulous.

And here now, compliments of Nicole Belonio, blogger extraordinaire, are a couple photos of our blogger night at the Vancouver Opera.

Nik, Frances and Stacey at La Clemenza
Nik, Frances and Stacey at La Clemenza

From left to right we have Nicole Belonio, and Frances Sprout and of course, moi.

The three of us were the bloggers at opening night of La Clemenza di Tito.

Following the opera we are invited backstage to join the cast and crew for an after party. This really is the high-light of the night for me. Seeing the cast so relaxed, sipping a glass of wine or beer and munching on appies, is a very cool experience.

Stacey and Wendy Nielsen
Stacey and Wendy Nielsen

I left my camera at the coatcheck (silly me!) so I was very happy when Nik said that she would snap a picture of me with Wendy Nielsen who sang the role of Vitellia in La Clemenza. That is us, in the picture to the right.    —>

I also had the opportunity to chat and have beer with the Director of Production, Terry Harper. Harper is not your typical opera guy. He is from Houston Texas and, like me wears cowboy boots to the opera.

At the next opera, La Traviata, I will be sure to have my camera ready and get a picture of Terry’s and my boots.

A fabulous night. Fabulous. And the opera? I thoroughly enjoyed the step back from the more “modern” operas to a classic, simple and elegant performance. Now I have La Traviata to look forward to!!

La Clemenza di Tito; After the Curtain

Here I thought that Tito had been killed at the end of Act I. In fact, Sesto thought that the fire he had started had killed Tito, but no! Tito, of course lived. Rome was in ruins after the fire but mercifully, Tito lived.

Burned out Rome
Burned out Rome

More about the opera itself a little later. For now, the burning question, heehee, burning Rome, burning question…anyway, what did I wear to the opera?

Opera Suit
Opera Suit

For this opera it was a new Alfred Sung shirt and tie to go with my new blazer. And in the spirit of clothing continuity, I wore my burgundy Boulets.

Funny, I did not have any pics of myself taken with my camera last night so I will wait until my blogger colleagues get their pictures posted. Nicole Belonio was kind enough to snap a picture of me before we wandered off at the end of the evening.

Of course the Vancouver Opera Social Media Manager, Ling Chan, as always has her camera at the ready. You can view her Flickr feed to see many magnificent photos of the set of La Clemenza from backstage. And I might add, there are a couple pics of me in her Flickr feed as well.

La Clemenza di Tito at Vancouver Opera

We are now in the Queen Elizabeth Theatre preparing ourselves for the backstage tour of the theatre.

It is funny to think about  this opera; Mozart wrote it in the last year of his life and completed it in no time at all. His “inspiration” was the fact that he was in desperate need of money. Isn’t it funny to think about an opera writer needing money? Kind of makes me think of an olden times George Michael.

On hold now while we go for a backstage tour.

A sneak peak for you of the stage…

La Clemenza backstage 006
La Clemenza backstage 006

Another interesting note on the financial side of opera now…opera companies buy, sell and rent the sets they create and use. Who would have thought? The set for tonight’s performance of La Clemenza di Tito was bought from the Santa fe opera company.

Also, opera companies are looking five years out to what they are planning to put on. Apparently if you want a quality opera performance you need to be booking performers three to five years ahead. I have to wonder how they manage their daytimers with this kind of off into the future planning.

When we went on our backstage tour we saw the props table. As in every opera, there was the bloody dagger there.

La Clemenza; the Bloody Dagger
La Clemenza; the Bloody Dagger

The bells have begun to toll. It is soon time to enter the theatre. More at intermission.

It is intermission now. Rome is burning. It appears that Tito is dead. But…time will tell.

This is the classic story of act in haste, repent in leisure.

A friend of mine said they do not like opera because of all the screechy women’s voices. The reality of it is that the voices are like birds swirling and swooping around one another on stage. Some soar higher than others before descending to join the other voices.

La Clemenza di Tito is a classic opera. There are no video backdrops, no extensive lighting tricks. There is a simple white stage with the simplest set. This opera is about the voices and the music from the orchestra interacting.

La Clemenza The Gods Looking On
La Clemenza The Gods Looking On

The bells are tolling once again.

Vancouver Opera; Opening Night

Tonight Vancouver Opera opens their run of Mozart’s most magnificent final opera, La Clemenza di Tito. And I will be there, live-blogging for your benefit. Unless you choose to come to the opera and see it with me.

The question of the day then, what boots will I wear this evening when I go to see La Clemenza di Tito? When I saw Lucia di Lammermoor I was wearing my Dayton Drivers with the white heel. For Lillian Alling I wore my understated black Boulets.

Tonight which pair of boots will walk me into the Queen Elizabeth Theatre? I will give you a hint; yesterday I visited Big Mike my suit guy at Moores. He threw his arms around me (with a measuring tape in hand) to get my measurements and said, “C’mon over here.”

In no time at all he had me in a new blazer, shirt and a very striking new tie. I told him I wanted to make a splash at the opera; make it loud. I think he has succeeded.

Pictures tonight from the Queen Elizabeth Theatre!!

Lucia di Lammermoor; the Opera of the Season

It is the morning after opening night of Vancouver Opera’s Lucia di Lammermoor. I felt the need to post a few post-opera thoughts.

First, the Vancouver opera crowded needed Lucia di Lammermoor. Vancouver Opera pushed the creative envelope with Nixon in China and again with Lillian Alling. With Lucia di Lammermoor Vancouver Opera returned to the more traditional. Performed in Italian with soaring voices and buoyed by the chorus, this was opera done the way Vancouver Opera audiences crave. And done perfectly.

Eglise Gutierrez, the coloratura soprana completes a haunting performance of Lucia`s decent into madness and finally death in Act III while the supporting chorus looks on in fascinated horror. Gutierrez`s performance will be remembered by Vancouver audiences for years to come. Simply put, it was breath-taking.

Eglise Gutierrez
Eglise Gutierrez

And then after Lucia’s journey into madness is complete, we are forced to witness Edgardo, Lucia’s true love, (performed by Michael Fabiano) also descend into the darkest of places before succumbing to his broken heart.

Michael Fabiano as Edgardo
Michael Fabiano as Edgardo

The Vancouver audience roared their approval when the final curtain fell. When the lead performers returned to the stage, the Vancouver audience leapt to their feet in the most spontaneous standing ovation I have ever see. The Vancouver audience needed this performance and unequivocally showed their love for the performance. Well done. Very well done.

The bottom line; if you are going to see one Vancouver Opera performance this season, make sure it is Lucia di Lammermoor. This is the opera of the season.

The photos used in this post, shot by Tim Matheson, are courtesy of Vancouver Opera.