Opera

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 inspired by events during World War II when neither Austria nor Hungary would admit refugees and also dramatized scenes based on immigrant experiences in America. 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

The UBC Opera Ensemble, the Liu Institute for Global Issues, the Faculty of Arts, the Peter A. Allard School of Law, Green College, St. John’s College and other partners have come together to host a Refugee Symposium at UBC in October and November, 2016. The Symposium will feature The Consul, an opera by Gian Carlo Menotti that charts the perils of those fleeing persecution. Menotti was inspired by events during World War II when neither Austria nor Hungary would admit refugees and also dramatized scenes based on immigrant experiences in America.

The goal of the Symposium is to stimulate discussion on the global refugee crisis. Through Mobile Opera performances, panel presentations, storytelling, and conversations, we aim to foster networking among UBC students, faculty and staff, people who arrived as refugees, refugee service providers, community members, professionals and volunteers.

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 …