Chair, Voice and Opera Divisions | Director, UBC Opera Ensemble: Nancy Hermiston

2016-2017 season single tickets will be on sale in September.

As of September, tickets for all UBC Opera performances including those at the Old Auditorium, Chan Centre, and the Botanical Garden are available through UBC Opera by telephone (604.822.6725), online at ubcoperatickets.com or in person at the Old Auditorium or Freddy Wood Box Office.

To purchase a subscription, details and order form available in the UBC Opera Brochure (pdf) or contact 604-822-6725 or email info@ubcopera.com for more information about the season or if you would like a brochure mailed to you.

2016/2017 Mainstage Season

The Consul

Opera in Three Acts // Sung in English
Gian Carlo Menotti // Composer & Librettist
November 3, 4, 5 // 7:30 pm
November 6 // 2:00 pm
Old Auditorium

Norbert Baxa Conductor
Nancy Hermiston Director
Members of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra

Consul_iconWritten in 1949, this topical opera was awarded the 1950 Pulitzer Prize for Music and features a melodic score along with a gripping narrative story lightened by some magical touches. Gian Carlo Menotti was moved by events during and after World War II, when many nations would not admit refugees. The work has been produced on Broadway to great acclaim as well as in opera houses in Milan, London, Paris, Berlin, Zurich and Vienna.

The Consul is set in an unspecified European country under totalitarian rule. Dissident John Sorel is on the run from the secret police and is hidden by his wife Magda and his mother. After their home is searched, the family make a plan to cross the border, with Magda, their child and John’s mother applying legally to leave first. John will stay in hiding somewhere near the border and reunite with them when they are safe. Magda joins several other applicants waiting for an exit visa at the consul’s office. The process is long and Magda is still being questioned by the police while she fights the bureaucracy. As the months drag on, both John’s child and mother become ill and pass away. With the visa application stalled Magda contemplates suicide to prevent John risking his life for her. Meanwhile, unable to make plans together, John returns from hiding and is captured in the consul’s office. Despondent, and with visions of her past crowding her mind, Magda prepares to kill herself. Her telephone rings as the secretary finally tries to reach her. For the Sorel family, once again it is too little too late.

The Consul Symposium: Breaking the Cycle: Canada’s Refugee Record on the Global Stage

Join the UBC Opera Ensemble, the Liu Institute for Global Issues, and partners for a multi-day symposium alongside an opera and art exhibit titled The Consul in order to stimulate discussion on the various aspects of the global refugee crisis.

Through opera performances, art works, panel presentations, video storytelling, and conversations, we aim to advance a deeper understanding of different aspects of the global refugee crisis and Canada’s role in the resettlement of refugees. We hope to foster networking among UBC students, faculty and staff, refugees, refugee service providers, community members, professionals and volunteers.

The Consul, an opera by Gian Carlo Menotti, charts the perils of those fleeing persecution. Menotti was moved by events during and after World War II, when many nations would not admit refugees. Also on display is an art exhibit courtesy of the Penticton Art Gallery featuring the 45 works of Judith Foster called ‘The Consul’. The Penticton Gallery has also lent UBC paintings by Syrian artists.

Program Schedule

Events are free and open to the public but registration is required.
Further details http://liu.arts.ubc.ca/event/refugee-symposium/

Venue: St. John’s College, UBC – Fairmont Social Lounge
Mobile Opera & Discussion with UBC Opera Ensemble

Venue: Green College, UBC – Piano Lounge
Mobile Opera & Discussion: The Refugee Crisis in Global Perspective with Asha Kaushal, Assistant Professor, Allard School of Law and Kirby Huminuik, Liu Scholar

Venue: Old Auditorium,
UBC Opening Event: Refugee Journeys
Moderator: Moura Quayle, Professor, Strategic Design; Director, Liu Institute for Global Issues
Panelists: Robbie Waisman, Holocaust survivor; Tima Kurdi, refugee advocate; Chris Friesen, Director of Settlement Services, Immigrant Services Society of BC; Catherine Dauvergne, Dean, Allard School of Law

Panel: Finding Refuge: Refugee Resettlement and UBC Student Engagement
Venue: Liu Institute for Global Issues – Multipurpose Room
Panelists: Lisa Brunner, PhD Student, UBC Migration Network; Kuol Deng Biong, WUSC-UBC Club Ambassador; Sarah Cameron, Assistant Director, Arts Academic Advising overseeing WUSC-UBC; Katie Rosenberger, ED, Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Service Agencies; Elizabeth Dunn, Associate Professor, Psychology

Panel: The Fate of Women and Marginalized Refugees and Asylum Seekers
Venue: Liu Institute for Global Issues – Multipurpose Room Moderator & Speaker: Efrat Arbel, Assistant Professor, Allard School of Law
Panelists: Kerstin Walter, Director, Settlement Orientation Services; Chris Morrissey, Advocate, Rainbow Refugee Committee; Malcom Atia, Former refugee from Uganda; Fadi Yachoua, Refugee lawyer and advocate

Panel: Public Opinion on Migration
Venue: Liu Institute for Global Issues – Multipurpose Room
Moderator & Speaker: Rima Wilkes, Professor, Sociology
Panelists: Dr. Shayna Plaut, Research and Project Manager of the Global Reporting Centre, Liu Scholar Alumna; Zdravko Cimbaljevic, LGBT refugee and activist from Montenegro The “Seeking Refuge” video series will be shown at each panel event.

The “Seeking Refuge” video series will be shown at each panel event.

Art exhibit accompanying the opera and symposium
Behind the Lines: Contemporary Syrian Art
Judith Foster/ The Consul

BEHIND THE LINES: Contemporary Syrian Art
Room 100, Old Auditorium
Wednesday, November 2: 3:00 – 7:30 pm
Thursday, November 3 – Saturday, November 5: 4:00 – 7:30 pm


Artwork credit: Poster of The Consul
Judith Foster
mixed media on paper

Accompanying the opera and symposium is an art exhibit courtesy of the Penticton Art Gallery featuring the 45 works of Judith Foster called ‘The Consul’. This collection was created in the 1950s after the artist had attended the premiere of Menotti’s opera. She was so taken by the compelling music, plot and the sheer raw emotion of the story that she revisited the performances roughly 33 times. The message of the opera inspired Judith Foster to create this incredible series of paintings. Along with her art work, the Penticton Art Gallery has also lent us a selection of works from their recent exhibit “Behind the Lines: Contemporary Syrian Art” which consists of paintings by 19 Syrian artists. Most of the artists are still living in Syria , although 6 have left Syria and are now living in Europe and the Middle East.

These works were shown in Penticton from July – September this year and we are grateful to the Penticton Art Gallery and curator, Mr. Paul Crawford, for their collaboration in preparing the display at UBC.

Download rack cards about The Consul Opera, Symposium and Art Exhibit (pdf)

Eugene Onegin

Opera in Three Acts // Sung in Russian with English surtitles
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky// Composer
Konstantin Shilovsky// Libretto (based on novel by Alexander Pushkin)

February 2, 3, 4 // 7:30 pm
February 5 // 2:00 pm
Chan Centre for the Performing Arts

David Agler Conductor
Krzysztof Biernacki Director
UBC Symphony Orchestra

Onegin_iconThis lyric and dramatic opera was composed in 1878 and first performed at the Moscow Conservatory in 1879. Now a staple of the repertoire and widely performed, the opera contains a wonderful variety of Russian folk music, grand party scenes along with intimate family scenes and dramatic encounters.

The story is that of a selfish hero – Eugene Onegin of the title, who rejects the love of a young woman and fatally confronts his best friend in a duel. Many years later, older and wiser he meets the woman, now the wife of a wealthy aristocrat and their roles are reversed as she rejects him.

The action begins in the countryside near St. Petersburg where the Larin family live. We meet Madame Larina and her two daughters, Tatyana and Olga, along with their guests, Lensky and Onegin. Tatyana is lovestruck by Onegin and spends the evening writing love letters. At her birthday dance the following day, Onegin rejects her and flirts instead with her sister Olga. Olga’s fiancé, Lensky, is annoyed and challenges Onegin to a duel. Remorseful after inciting the duel, Onegin leaves Russia and travels for several years. Upon his return he is invited to a ball at the grand palace of Prince Gremin. He recognises the prince’s beautiful wife – Tatyana, but while she still remembers her love for Onegin, she remains faithful to her husband.

Unrequited love, duelling friends, passion and despair are set to glorious music.

Ariadne auf Naxos

Opera in Two Parts // Sung in German with English surtitles
Richard Strauss // Composer
Hugo von Hofmannsthal // Libretto

June 22, 23, 24 // 7:30 pm
June 25 // 2:00 pm
Old Auditorium

Jonathan Darlington Conductor
Nancy Hermiston Director
Members of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra

Ariadne_iconOriginally intended as a 30 minute divertissement to be performed in 1912 after a production of Molière’s Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, Strauss ended up composing a 90 minute work. Since this required both a company of actors and singers and ran over 6 hours, in 1916 von Hofmannsthal suggested composing a sung prologue instead of mounting the play and this is the version which is regularly performed today. It is a work which examines the role of Art in society, with a Prologue showing the backstage antics and preparations for the “opera within an opera” which comprises the second part.

A rich patron has commissioned a new opera from a brilliant young composer based on the Greek myth of Ariadne and has invited his friends to dinner for the premiere. No one has told the composer that his work will be followed by a comedy sketch performed by an Italian commedia dell’arte troupe and the evening will end with an impressive fireworks display. When dinner runs late and the patron decrees that both the opera and the comedy sketch must be performed simultaneously we see the backstage mayhem that this involves.

The performance begins – Ariadne and the nymphs are abandoned on Naxos. In the midst of their despair who is there to cheer them up but Zerbinetta and her clown friends, Harlekin, Brighella, Scaramuccio and Truffaldino.

When the God Bacchus arrives, love transforms everyone …