Spring is well underway, and so is Canada’s opera scene. June offers an exciting lineup of events for opera lovers, many in celebration of Pride Month. Whether you’re looking to enjoy an in-person production, a virtual livestream, an intimate outdoor concert, or hear a Canadian voice in an opera house abroad, there are plenty of exciting shows to look forward to in June.
Pull out your calendar, and get ready to add these events to your watch-list:
1. June 2, 3 & 4 – Canadian Opera Company, The Queen in Me
Co-presented by the COC, Amplified Opera, Nightwood Theatre, and Theatre Gargantua, this exuberant opera by interdisciplinary artist Teiya Kasahara 笠原貞野 (they/them) features music from La Bohème, Lucia di Lammermoor, Macbeth, Madama Butterfly, Manon Lescaut, Rigoletto, Salome, and The Magic Flute. Andrea Donaldson & Aria Umezawa co-direct this groundbreaking piece that explores the ways race, gender, and sexuality are enforced in the opera industry as seen through the lens of The Magic Flute’s iconic Queen of the Night. The show reclaims space for women, trans, and non-binary individuals excluded from the stage.
Don’t miss this dramatic and comedic show that dares to imagine new narratives and possibilities for the art form – get your tickets here.
2. May 31 – June 9, 2022 – Concours musical international de Montréal (CMIM), Voice 2022
One of Canada’s most anticipated musical events, CMIM’s Voice competition draws over 6,000 spectators to its concert halls and reaches even more listeners over radio & webcasts. Canadian soprano Adrianne Pieczonka and PENTATONE VP Renaud Loranger are among this year’s jurors, and competitors include Sarah Dufresne, Adanya Dunn, Natalie Image, Deepa Johnny, Hugo Laporte, Lauren Margison, Simone McIntosh, Rose Naggar-Tremblay, Anna-Sophie Neher, Sophie Naubert, and Karoline Podolak. You can follow each stage of the competition for free, live or on demand, here.
3. June 1-18, 2022 – Pacific Opera Victoria, Voices in Nature
If you’re in Victoria, BC don’t miss this intimate outdoor performance series from Pacific Opera Victoria that stars artists from a range of artistic disciplines performing in the some of the province’s most vibrant parks. Discover artists at different locations around each park, enchanting your senses and immersing you in a deeply-rooted feeling of place. Featured voices include Kate Braid, Simon Chalifoux, Rebecca Gray, Mike Fan, and Ryan McDonald among others. Performances are free – more details here.
4. June 3 – Barocktage Stift Melk, Dido and Aeneas
Livestream, or go in-person, to this beautiful performance of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas starring two busy Canadian artists: tenor Michael Schade and mezzo soprano Wallis Giunta. Concentus Musicus Wien orchestra is conducted by Austrian Stefan Gottfried. The livestream starts at 8pm CET (details here); for in-person tickets to the Stift Melk, Stiftskirsche, in Austria click here.
5. June 2, 5, and 10 – Metropolitan Opera, Akhnaten
Canadian mezzo Rihab Chaieb stars as Queen Nefertiti alongside countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo’s Akhnaten in this mesmerizing modern masterpiece by Philip Glass. Karen Kamensek, a noted master of Glass’s music, conducts at the podium. Don’t miss this unforgettable production that brings ancient Egypt to life with vivid stage tableaux and a stellar cast. Get your tickets here.
6. June 4 – Metropolitan Opera Live in HD, Hamlet
Canadian director, translator and librettist, Matthew Jocelyn, crafted texts sourced from Shakespeare in this impressive collaboration with Australian composer Brett Dean. The Guardian raved after it premiered: “New opera doesn’t often get to sound this good … Shakespeare offers a gauntlet to composers that shouldn’t always be picked up, but Dean’s Hamlet rises to the challenge.” English tenor Allan Clayton stars in the title role in this Neil Armfield production. Canadian bass-baritone John Relyea plays the ghost of Hamlet’s father. Australian Nicholas Carter conducts. Find the theatre closest to you and get your tickets here.
7. June 11-August 14 – Glyndebourne Festival, La bohème
Canadian maestro Jordan de Souza opens Dutch director Floris Visser‘s production of Puccini’s La bohème at the Glyndebourne Festival in Lewes, UK. He conducts the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Get your tickets here.
8. Streaming until June 24 – Opera de Montréal, Riders to the Sea | Le Flambeau de la nuit
Ballet Opéra Pantomime (BOP) and I Musici de Montréal Chamber Orchestra have joined forces with Opéra de Montréal for a double bill in which the sea has a starring role. Composed by Hubert Tanguay-Labrosse, with libretto by Olivier Kemeid, the productions star Canadians Allyson McHardy, Andrea Núñez, Sarah Dufresne, and Lucie St-Martin among others. Both shows echo the same themes of motherly love, loss and despair as both operas weaves together a unified dramatic structure that looks both to the present and to the past. Viewers can stream the opera for free until June 24.
9. June 22 at 8pm – Against the Grain Theatre (AtG), Opera Pub: Queens of the Night
Don’t miss this Pride event of operatic proportions! AtG’s Queens of the Night marks the return of acclaimed pianist and host David Eliakis, and features 12 stellar voices from the 2SLGBTQQIA community singing favourite opera arias and ensembles. A fantastic event that supports and celebrates the queer community – get your tickets here. All profits will go to AtG’s designated charity, Friends of Ruby.
10. June 23, 25, and 28 – Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Un ballo in maschera
Canadian soprano Joyce El-Khoury will perform the role of Amelia in a concert version of Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera with maestro Riccardo Muti on the podium.
11. June 29, July 1, and 2 – Welsh National Opera (WNO), Migrations
Opera Canada depends on the generous contributions of its supporters to bring readers outstanding, in-depth coverage of opera in Canada and beyond. Please consider subscribing or donating today.