This evening at 8 pm MST Calgary Opera unveiled their first new season under recently-appointed General Director & CEO Keith Cerny. Of all the recent 18/19 season announcements by Canadian opera companies, this was perhaps the most anticipated, with many curious to see what Cerny’s impact might be, if any, given his recent installment as GD this past January. Well, the proof is in the (deliciously rich-looking) pudding which includes new works, fascinating collaborations and beloved repertory staples.
Calgary Opera presents Canadian premiere of Everest
Highlights include the Canadian premiere of Joby Talbot and Gene Scheers’ Everest which Cerny commissioned while at the helm of Dallas Opera. I saw this piece in Dallas at last year’s Opera America conference, and Calgary audiences are in for a treat. The Leonard Foglia production is visually stunning and Talbot’s score, completely of its time and aurally-striking.
Community collaborations are dotted throughout the CO season: a presentation of the animated film, Magic Piano & The Chopin Shorts with live music by Chopin at the Calgary International Film Festival in conjunction with the Honens International Piano Competition. Composer Veronika Krausas and librettist André Alexis’ Ghost Opera will be mounted with Calgary’s Old Trout Puppet Workshop and The Banff Centre for Arts & Creativity.
Restoring ballet to 19th-century opera
The company hasn’t neglected the more standard repertoire either. Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette will be appear in a production by the Artistic Director of Alberta Ballet, Jean Grand-Maître. This will allow for the incorporation of the extended ballet sequences, so much a part of the French 19th-century grand opera tradition, but usually completely cut in modern performances.
Rigoletto returns to the CO repertoire with Canadian opera stars Gregory Dahl and Nikki Einfeld as the jester and his over-protected daughter, Gilda.
Outdoor Carmen at Calgary Opera summer festival
The season is rounded-out with performances of Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors during the Christmas season, and then in the summer of 2019, a unique abridged version of Bizet’s Carmen at the Calgary Stampede’s ENMAX Park—the site of Canada’s only outdoor summer opera festival.
With this intriguingly varied line-up, CO’s new leadership has swiftly served notice that it means to build on the company’s historic status as a leading light in Canada as a producer not only of the tried-and-true, but also, innovative programming.
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