Monday, November 30, 2009

To love thy enemy

Photo by Tim Matheson

Norma may be a bit park and bark-ish, what with the uber-dramatic hand raising with fingers splayed and the Gloria Swanson bulging eyes from Sunset Boulevard, but that's because it's ALL about the singing.

photo by tim matheson

I think we got a hit, kids.

"Here we find the operatic archetypes: a stout tenor of formidable volume; the diva...who has long owned the title role; the young mezzo-soprano on the rise." - The Globe and Mail

"Norma is all about a trio of principals— soprano Hasmik Papian, in the title role, mezzo Kate Aldrich as her rival Adalgisa, and tenor Richard Margison as the object of both their affections." - Vancouver Sun

"People think Celine D. puts lots of extra and difficult notes into the song line! Ha! They should listen to Bellini. Lots of technical work here—for the females especially. Always in Bel Canto." - The Vancouver Observer

"The backdrop was transformed via projected images a number of times during the performance, and by the end of the opera became a decimated forest, and, ultimately, a funeral pyre." - Review Vancouver

"Not only does it look great, it sounds great, thanks to some masterly acoustical redesign. The sound blooms with presence. I couldn’t believe my ears." - Georgia Straight

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Norma: The Manga

What you surely have been waiting for...

Feast your eyes on the Norma Manga, illustrated by the brilliance that is Jerry Cai and Roy Husada.

To supersize the manga, see it on

~ Ling Chan

The Opera Ninja Army Is Growing!

Ninjagirl is off at a secret location training more ninja warriors for the upcoming season.

But don't you worry, dear readers! You'll still get all the backstage secrets with our newest member, Ninjaboy Ami, as he utilizes his skills of espionage while stealthly scaling up to the rafters and hiding in the shadows.

So follow along tomorrow night at the Norma dress rehearsal with Ninjaboy Ami on Twitter: Operaninja.

But don't get in his way or you may see of shower of shurikens coming right at you.

~ Ling Chan

Saturday We Blog!

Meet our bloggers for Blogger Night at the Opera this Saturday!

clockwise from top left: Kelsey, Gus, Emme and John.

And a special guest blogger who's flying in all the way from Ottawa to join us - Crew Mantle of Command Opera. We are most thrilled to have such a well respected authority on ALL things opera joining us for our Golden Anniversary opener!

Stop by and say hi to our bloggers on opening night in the main lobby of the QET! Or follow along the sidebar to the right here as we post their thoughts on the evening.

~ Ling Chan

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Brand New Seasons, Brand New Theatre

We are just about to burst, we're so excited for everyone coming to see Norma at the newly renovated Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

Last week, the staff went on a tour of the QET and were delighted by the changes, mainly to the lobby and the mezzanine.

When you're at the theatre, you'll notice:

~ the lobby ceiling has been removed completely! instead, there's now a 3 story atrium and white seashell-like chandeliers
~ there are 12 more stalls in the women's restroom (always a good thing)
~ a bar on the mezzanine and the balcony levels
~ HDTV screens throughout the lobby

Inside the house, you'll notice:

~ dark wood stepped floors in orchestra seating area (instead of the concrete decline)
~ brand new staggered seats WITH more leg room
~ 100 wide bodied seats along the aisles
~ handicapped seats and companion seats have doubled
~ fabric rolldowns sound reflectors on the ceiling
~ bamboo sound reflectors on the wall that will bounce music back to the audience

The biggest change would be that to the mezzanine seating. Patrons will have to get to the mezz seating from the mezzanine level only. No longer can you access through the lobby stairs inside the house. Not that people would mind, as sitting in the new mezzanine will make one feel like they're watching a performance in the royal box.

Of course, pictures don't do it justice. You'll just have to come down to the opera and see it for yourselves!

~ Ling Chan

Hear What The Stars Have To Say About Norma

If the stars have this to say about Norma, imagine what it'll be like to WATCH it!

I just think it’s absolutely gorgeous music. It’s something not to be missed because Bellini is not done that often and I don’t think done often enough. - Richard Margison

I think the singer who can sing this role is blessed because it’s a wonderful part-dramatically, musically, vocally. There’s everything there. - Hasmik Papian

It’s got the greatest singing minds. It’s got wonderful orchestral score. It’s got great drama. It’s something which moves people. - Maestro Richard Bonynge

Oh, the anticipation! Have you got your ticket yet?

Video by Bombshelter Productions & Mike McKinley

~ Ling Chan

Monday, November 23, 2009

Golden Anniversary Gala: The Photos

Photos by Brian Dennehy Photography

On November 6, Vancouver Opera's Golden Anniversary Gala reflected the past, present and future of opera in BC with a special concert and dinner at the Orpheum Theatre and Commodore Ballroom. Internationally renowned artists and special guests enthusiastically shared in this once in a lifetime event.

The evening highlights included performances from Sally Dibblee, Brett Polegato, Kathleet Brett, Kimberly Barber, Tracy Dahl, Benjamin Butterfield, Alain Coulombe, Yulan Zhang, John Arsenault, Barb Towell and Heather Pawsey, as well as Sawagi Taiko and Tiqilap drummers and a silk artist aerialist.

When it came down to dinner, the evening's delicious menu was created by Chef Oliver Beckert from the Four Seasons Hotel, while the wines were provided by Mission Hill Family Estate.

It was definitely a night to remember!

Vancouver Opera would like to thank everyone for coming out to celebrate the start of what will sure to be an exciting and memorable season.

A special thank you to Scotiabank Group, Martha Lou Henley, Couverdon, Goldcorp for their extraordinary support of our Golden Anniversary season.

~ Ling Chan

Friday, November 20, 2009

Operabot Winners!

The Operabot screening party was held at Rainmaker Studios this past Tuesday evening and for those of you who missed out, it was a great screening in Rainmaker's 50 seater HD theatre!

The 15 Operabot submissions came in from Vancouver, Eastern Canada and the US and can be viewed on our Youtube. Of course, nothing beats viewing the shorts on the big screen.

clockwise: Laura Charlton's The Marriage of Figaro, Kristie Nutter's Madama Butterfly, Stephanie Basque's Madama Butterfly, John Landry's The Marriage of Figaro

clockwise: Brad Lamey's Madama Butterfly, Christine Cornell's Madame Boterfly and Arron Robinson, Olaf Miller & Curt Spurging's Fragile (Madama Butterfly)

After the screening, guests got to enjoy platters of sushi and bevvies in Rainmaker's staff lounge.

huge picture windows, 2 balconys with a view of downtown and yes, that is a foosball table!

After careful deliberation between the judges, here are the winners for our first Operabot contest!

First place: Brandon Cathey, Art Institute of Colorado

Second place: Gabriela Meijia and Chris Holbrow, Vancouver

Third place: Arron Robinson, Olaf Miller and Curt Spurging, Vancouver

Public vote: Brad Lamey, NBCC Miramichi New Brunswick

Thanks to the judges, Rainmaker Studios for hosting the party and our sponsor, The Georgia Straight!

And a BIG thank you to all the talented artists who made Operabot such a success!

~ Ling Chan

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Listen, Watch and Read with Maestro Darlington

Can't get enough of VO's Music Director Maestro Jonathan Darlington?

Well then, tune in tomorrow at 11am PST to listen to the live broadcast of the 3rd Philharmonic Concert on German radio station WDR3.

Click on the link "Stream" under the right hand column, sit back and be swept away.

And if that's not enough, (and we know it's not) watch the Maetro interview organist Wayne Marshall:

Last but certainly not least, read Jonathan Darlington’s programme notes for the 3rd Philharmonic Concert with the Duisburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Wayne Marshall and the Mercatorhalle concert hall’s new organ.

Photo by Christoph Müller-Girod

~ Ling Chan

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Operabot Screening Party

Operabot Screening Party, presented by The Georgia Straight and hosted by Rainmaker Studios will take place Tuesday, November 17.

If you would like to come for the screening, have some bevvies and eats, shoot me an email at and I'll add you to the guestlist. But hurry, seating is limited!

~ Ling Chan

Can You Spot The Difference?

If you've been to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in the past year+, you'd of course notice the renovations going on in and around the 50 year old building.

On November 12, Vancouver Civic Theatres director Rae Ackerman was happy to report that all renovations are now completed!

So what are our opera-loving friends in for when they join us for Norma on November 28?

We don't want to ruin the surprise just yet, but we CAN tell you that the acoustics grading have now be raised from "a D to an A", thus rivaling the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto.

Check out the Georgia Straight video for more details:

Video by Matthew Burrow

~ Ling Chan

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Dress You Up

We got a local celeb in our midst!

Our very own wardrobe supervisor, Parvin Mirhady, is getting featured in BC Business Magazine!

Every month BC Business Magazine spotlights a full page on different businesses or industries at work. For the November issue, Vancouver Opera was selected!

The Assistant Art Director, Ben Oliver met Parvin at the wardrobe department and spent half a morning taking pictures on the preparations for the upcoming Norma production.

Here are a couple of shots taken of the photoshoot:

Thanks to Parvin who's makes sure that the outfits everyone wears on stage stand out and look absolutely amazing!

~ Ling Chan

Friday, November 6, 2009

Vote Now For Operabot

Vote Here on the blog for your favorite Operabot video!

Through midnight, November 13th, we'll be hosting the Operabot popular vote contest right here on our blog.

View all the entries HERE ON OUR CONTEST SITE.

Then come back and choose your favorite!

One of four prizes will be given to the video with the most votes. Another three videos will be awarded prizes based on the choices of our judges from the animation industry here in Vancouver.

Big thanks to Wacom for a donation of a Intuos 4 Tablet! Wacom rules!

News on our Operabot screening party to come.

Vote now for your favorite!

Operabot sponsored by The Georgia Straight

~ Ling Chan

Big Norma Is Watching You

If you happen to be on the corner of Robson and Granville, take a look skywards at the giant screen of the Future Shop building.

And wait for it...wait for it...

Vancouver Opera's flaming Norma head looking out at you! Oh, the wonders of technology!

Illustration by Edel Rodriguez / Video by Tim Matheson

If you like that, you're going to LOVE our Norma opera!

Tickets to Norma can still be purchased online or call our box office at 604-683-0222.

~ Ling Chan

Monday, November 2, 2009

7 More Operabots. All in a Row.

Just as the clock struck midnight on November 1, Operabots #10, #11, #12, #13, #14 and #15 made like stealth ninjas, storming the Vancouver Opera office and making their presence known.

A big thank you to the final Operabot submissions:

The Marriage of Figaro by Amanda Pierce, Beverly De Moss and Kim Chang Fatt

Madama Butterfly by Brandon Cathay at Art Institute of Colorado

Madama Butterfly by Irene Ha

Madame Boterfly by Christine Cornell

Madama Butterfly by Olaf Miller, Curt Spurging and Arron Robinson

Madama Butterfly by Gabriela Mejia and Chris Holbrow

Madama Butterfly in a Nutshell by Mary & Sacha of

Operabot has now officially closed! Vancouver Opera would like to thank everyone for their Operabot submissions. Really, we are totally amazed at all the creativity and effort.

Three winners will be chosen by a panel of judges from Vancouver's leading animation studios. One winner will be chosen by popular vote. The judging will take place at a special screening party we'll be hosting! (details to come!)

So tell your friends and make sure to vote for your favourite animated shorts!

Operabot contest is sponsored by The Georgia Straight

~ Ling Chan