One of Canada’s most ambitious student opera companies.
Under the direction of Professor Nancy Hermiston, the UBC Opera program educates and promotes gifted young opera singers and prepares them for international careers.
Founded in 1995 by Canadian lyric coloratura Nancy Hermiston who has built the program into a 90-member company. Every season, UBC Opera performs three main productions, several Opera Tea concerts, and special engagements with local community partners such as Vancouver Opera, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Bard on the Beach, and Vancouver Bach Choir. Ms Hermiston is now Chair of the UBC Voice and Opera Divisions.
WATCH: UBC Opera’s 2020 performs at the J.K. Tyl Theatre in Teplice, Czechia, in February 2020.
Training tomorrow’s opera professionals today
The mission at UBC Opera is to offer our students exposure to a large variety of repertoire, from Baroque to Contemporary, all performed in original sets, costumes, props, wigs, and makeup.
The Vancouver Opera Orchestra frequently performs for our opera ensemble. Through UBC’s work-learn program and volunteer opportunities, we can offer our students the experience of learning about every aspect of producing opera: technical, scenic painting, props, costume creation, box office, front of house, ushering, marketing, public relations working with donors and audience members, event planning, and more. Through frequent inclusion of accompanying symposia, our students learn to conduct academic research in social, cultural, and political topics and engage in interdisciplinary activities, enhancing their opera education.
Past productions have included classics such as Le Nozze di Figaro, Die Zauberflöte, La Bohème, Dido and Aeneas, Manon, Falstaff, and Rusalka. The UBC Opera ensemble has performed contemporary productions such as Robert Ward’s The Crucible, the Western Canadian Premiere of Harry Somer’s Louis Riel, The Consul, Silent Night, The Passenger and most recently Shadowcatch, an opera composed by UBC School of Music composition faculty, students, and alumni set in Oppenheimer Park. This small piece of land has been, and still is, the centre of much social, cultural and political activism, protests, and celebrations throughout Vancouver’s history.
Other highlights of our opera performances include: a CBC Radio broadcast with Canadian Heldentenor Ben Heppner at the Chan Centre of the Performing Arts, and the world premiere of The Dream Healer, a Canadian opera by West Vancouver composer Lloyd Burritt, based on Timothy Findley’s novel Pilgrim. Every year UBC Opera invites renowned international artists to sing in concert and work in masterclasses with our students in our Singer Behind the Song series.
WATCH: Kallie Clayton (MMus’17), Sheldon Baxter (BMus’14, MMus’15), and Alireza Mojibian (BMus’15, Master’s student) describe the amazing opportunities afforded to students in the UBC Opera Program.
An award-winning, touring opera company
The Opera Ensemble regularly tours Czechia, Germany, Ontario, and throughout British Columbia. They have performed at the Usti nad Labem City Theatre, The Teplice Opera House, Prague and in neighbouring cities in Czechia.