Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Operabot 2.0 Update: New Judge

Welcome Rainmaker Entertainment to the Operabot 2.0 revolution!

Rainmaker Entertainment joins Electronic Arts, Rival Schools, Nerd Corps Entertainment and Bardel to be judges for Operabot 2.0 animation contest.

That's one impressive panel of judges.

~ Ling Chan

Lillian Alling: The Manga

A mysterious woman on a journey across North America, in search of a man who is the key to unlocking her past.

Who was the larger-than-life Lillian Alling?

Here's Lillian Alling as seen through the eyes of manga artist Sarah OuYang and editor Roy Husada.

To supersize, double click on the images.

~ Ling Chan

Meet Our 2010-2011 Manga Artists

Say hello to this season's opera manga artists Sara OuYang, Lily Dai, Rafaella Ryon and Betty Kwong!

Fiona Meng, our illustrious manga artist for the past 3 seasons, is currently furthering her training at the Academy of Art University Graduate Illustration program in San Francisco. Although we were sad that she wasn't available to work with us this year, we're super excited to introduce these four up-and-coming talents.

Let's get acquainted, shall we?

Sara OuYang

Sarah is an animation student at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. From a young age, she was interested and inspired by Japanese manga. Besides illustrating, she also enjoys studying, designing, and constructing costumes.

Sarah will be illustrating Lillian Alling

What’s your favourite manga?
That is a hard question considering there are so many great ones out there! I would have to say that Yami no Matsuei and Count Cain would be one of my favorites while growing up, currently I am into Kuroshitsuji.

Which manga artist do you admire?
Kaori Yuki and Yana Toboso. I like artists whose drawings and stories possesses slightly historic or Gothic characteristics.

How did you get interested in the manga artform?
I believe I first started reading manga in grade 1, and have been hooked ever since. I love all the different stories available out there, and how each manga's individual art style contributes to their own story. With this, I wanted to create character and stories of my own. That's when I began drawing manga.

What kind of schooling/training did you receive in order to be a manga artist?
I don't think I've had "proper" training to be a manga artist... (does illustration and animation courses count?) However, reading lots of instruction books and referencing manga itself really contributed to my learning.

Ever dress up as a manga character?
Haha, yes! Cosplaying is my all time favorite hobby. Right now I'm doing a series as Ciel Phantomhive from Kuroshitsuji. If theres something I enjoy more than drawing, it would be making costumes.

Are you a fan of comic books? If yes, which one(s)?
I haven't read a lot of comic books, but my favorite would probably be Batman.

Lily Dai

Lily will be illustrating Lucia di Lammermoor

What’s your favourite manga?
Definitely Card Captor Sakura.

Which manga artist do you admire?
Yukiru Sugisaki

How did you get interested in the manga artform?
It's fun, simple and quick to illustrate what is in my mind.

What kind of schooling/training did you receive in order to be a manga artist?
I would say with passion, nothing is impossible. Other than that, basic art training (such as human anatomy) could be helpful too.

Ever dress up as a manga character?
Yes, cosplay is fun.

Are you a fan of comic books? If yes, which one(s)?
Comic books? I used to read Superman alot...but after that, I realize that I am more into Mangas.

Rafaella Ryon

Brazilian born Rafaella received a BA in Art and Media from Federal University of Campina Grande in 2006. Since 2001 has been professionally developing artworks, mostly as an illustrator. In 2009, she received an honorable mention in the 3rd International Manga Award, established by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. Rafaella oves fashion design, action figures collection, Puzzle Bobble, Demis Roussos, Death Wish III and Venger.

Rafaella will be illustrating La clemenza di Tito

What’s your favourite manga?
I do not know, actually. A manga that I really loved and did raise my desire of being a manga artist was a volume of Vampire Princess Miyu when I was 15 or16 years old.

Which manga artist do you admire?
Ayami Kojima and Yoshitaka Amano are my all-time favorite Japanese artists.

How did you get interested in the manga artform?
I grew up playing video games and I think most of the blame are from this stuff.

What kind of schooling/training did you receive in order to be a manga artist?
That was something spontaneous, unplanned. I grew up wanting to be a designer, manga emerged in the way and helped me grow as an artist. I kind of self-learned to draw, then I absorbed other styles, from realistic to the most cartoonish. About the manga style I did the basics, a lot of observation and training.

Ever dress up as a manga character?
No. I tried dress up as the Count of Monte Cristo (Gankutsuou series) but never did. I bought everything from his outfit, hahah.

Are you a fan of comic books?
Of course! I love horror comics like Dylan Dog, the fabulous wordless Gon series, the incredibly beauty from La Guerre des Sambres, Death: The High Cost of Living and many more comics.

Betty Kwong

Betty is a 4th year Emily Carr University student majoring in Animation. In her free time, she enjoys drawing, playing video games, hanging out with friends and watching animation. This is her first experience publishing a manga project, so she is very excited!

Betty and her avatar will be illustrating La traviata

What’s your favourite manga?
Monster by Naoki Urasawa

Which manga artist do you admire?
I have a lot of favorites, but Takeshi Obata amazes me.

What kind of schooling/training did you receive in order to be a manga artist?
I am a self-taught artist. The majority of my inspiration comes from the online art community.

Ever dress up as a manga character?
I cosplayed as game characters and my original character, but not manga haha. A lot of my inspiration also comes from games.

Are you a fan of comic books?
I don't read a lot of comic books. I mostly just browse for random short webcomics, although I did enjoy American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang.

Four manga artists for four operas. We can't wait to share their visions of our operas with you!

Poster artwork by Leonard Dente

~ Ling Chan

Friday, September 24, 2010

VO Gets QR Coded

What in pixelated heck is THAT and what's it doing on the VO blog?

For the uninitiated, this is what's called a QR code aka quick response code. Made up of black or coloured modules on a white square background, the information that's embedded in a QR code will direct you to a website, a contact number or other data.

In order to read a QR code, you must have a smartphone such as the iPhone, Blackberry or Android, a newer model mobile phone with a camera or a QR scanner. Some smartphones already come installed with QR code readers, while others just require a simple and free download of a reader such as Neo, Mobio, among a slew of other options.

For example, once scanned, the above QR code will link you to the www.vancouveropera.ca website. Neato!

QR codes have been in use in Japan since 1994. You can find them practically everywhere and on most everything: from magazines to posters, billboards, food wrappers and menus.

And QR codes are making their way to North America. In fact, you may have already seen our transit posters with our QR code around the city. Posted earlier this month, you can find them at:

Cambie Street and W. 54th Avenue
Clark Street and E. 3rd Avenue
E. 49th Avenue and Victoria Street
E. Broadway and Prince Edward Street
E. Hastings Street and Windermere Street
E. 41st Avenue and Windsor Street
E. Hastings Street and Princess Street
Kingsway and Knight Street
Fraser Street and E. 35th Avenue
Main Street and E. 36th Avenue

If these transit stops are nowhere near you, don't worry. Starting Monday, we'll be blanketing Metro Vancouver with 2500 street posters, all of which will have the same QR code on them.

So what's behind our mysterious QR code?

Exclusive behind-the-scenes access to all things Lillian Alling, including photos, audio tracks and video. Fresh content will be posted weekly, so be sure to check back regularly.

For those who don't have smartphones, not to fear, we will be re-posting all the content on the VO blog at a later date.

Vancouver Opera is excited about using this technology to enhance your experience at our operas. We hope you enjoy this new feature.

~ Ling Chan

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Best Arts Web Site

Oh happy day!

Vancouver Opera landed in the Georgia Straight's Best of Vancouver 2010 issue. Under the Arts category, Vancouver Opera was named Best Arts Web Site.

Here's what the Georgia Straight contributors had to say:

It may specialize in a centuries-old art form, but the Vancouver Opera is ahead of the times when it comes to its Web presence. Head to www.vancouveropera.ca and you can watch videos of rehearsals and audience responses, listen to podcasts, or, funkiest of all, check out the Opera Manga—illustrated versions of the pieces on its seasonal roster. The VO also has its own blog, plus a phalanx of live bloggers covering its shows; it sponsors a video contest via YouTube called Operabot; and it ranks as one of the few arts organizations in North America to employ full-time staff dedicated to social media. Yes, the team even tweets from backstage on opening night.

Thank you Georgia Straight for this amazing honour!

Now if you'll excuse us, we're going to run out and empty all the newstands for this week's issue to paste up on our office walls.

~ Ling Chan

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Lillian Alling In Your Glass

Photo credit: Four Seasons Hotel

A romantic dinner. Drinks after work. A girls night out. A business lunch meeting.

What do they all have in common?

There are all great occasions to try out the new Lillian Alling cocktail drink at YEW Restaurant and Bar in the Four Seasons Hotel!

Heard on last weekend's Saturday Afternoon at the Opera, YEW bartender extraordinaire Justin Taylor concocted this utterly original cocktail. FYI, Justin also came up with the 2010 Winter Olympic Cocktails for YEW last winter.

As for the Lillian Alling cocktail, Justin says it's "dramatic looking for the opera crowd and refreshing & delicious for a journey like Lillian's."

Lillian Alling cocktail:

2 oz vodka

1/4 tsp red cayenne pepper sauce

1/4 tsp peach bitters

3/4oz elderflower cordial

1 oz fresh lime juice

1 oz fresh cucumber

pinch of fresh cilantro

Top with seltzer water and serve in an oversized wine goblet with a tied cucumber slice.

YEW Restaurant is open everyday from 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm for dinner.

YEW Bar is open Sunday through Wednesday 11:00am - midnight & Thursday through Saturday 11:00am - 1:00am

Perfect times for a pre-show drink to get you in the mood for Lillian Alling or as a nightcap after our world premiere.

Enjoy. (but please drink responsibly).

~ Ling Chan

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Nightfire On Gallery Walls

Photo credit: Rival Schools

Hundreds of spectators came out to the Vancouver Art Gallery on September 10th and 11th to feast their eyes on Rival Schools' Project Nightfire.

Rival Schools utilized the art gallery's facade like a canvas, projecting onto it an animated story, which was accompanied by a recording of José Carreras singing Nessun Dorma from Turandot.

It is the story of a fallen angel. She’s found broken by a lone man and with love he takes her on a journey back to her home. - Rival Schools

For those of you who were not able to make it downtown, here's a video of Project Nightfire.

Video credit: Rival Schools

The Rival Schools team are in the throes of planning their next public art installation event. Not only will it be fun to see what they come up with, it's anyone's guess where it's going to pop up next.

~ Ling Chan

Grind For Kids

As part of last week's Grind for Kids fundraising event for BC Children's Hospital, VO's orchestra concertmaster Mark Ferris rode his bike from downtown Vancouver across the Lions Gate Bridge and to the foot of Grouse Mountain.

That was just phase I.

For phase II, he had to ascend the infamous Grind by foot. Starting at the base of the mountain, which is already 300m/985ft above sea level, Mark hiked up an additional 500m/1640ft and in an impressive 45 minutes, made his way to the top.

Once the peak was reached, Mark had to complete the challenge by descending by gondola and biking back across the Lions Gate Bridge.

Not an easy feat but our orchestra concertmaster beat the challenge and raised money for this amazing cause. Well done, Mark!

Oh, and just how awesome is Mark Ferris? Last year, for VO's participation in CIBC's Run for the Cure, Mark was one of the fastest runners in the entire race, finishing the 5K challenge in just 20 minutes.

~ Ling Chan

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Project Unto Me II

The Lillian Alling production crew is hard at work in Banff right now. Here are more video projection goodness from designer Tim Matheson.

An award-winning projection designer, photographer, videographer, Tim Matheson has used the projection of imagery as an element of the set design in over 100 designs for theatre, opera and dance.

Scene 1: home

Scene 3: tenement stairs

Scene 8: at the park

Scene 8: telegraph wires I

Scene 8: telegraph wires II

Scene 9: Oakalla Prison

Scene 10: Vancouver streets

Scene 13: green screen climb

Scene 14: down by the river

Photo credit: Tim Matheson

~ Ling Chan

Friday, September 10, 2010

Welcome Operabot 2.0

Operabot 2.0 has invaded the opera world!

Last season's Operabot animation contest was so successful, we decided to build another Operabot. Watch out world - Operabot 2.0 is slicker, faster and more cunning then its predecessor.

Animators from across North America will again be challenged to create a 4 minutes or less animated short, but this time of an interpretation of VO's season closer, Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata.

The top three winners will be chosen by a panel of judges from Vancouver-area animation studios including EA, Rainmaker Entertainment, Rival Schools, Nerd Corps and Bardel. Prizes up for grabs will include Wacom Cintiq 21UX (first prize), Toon Boom Animate Pro (second prize) Adobe Creative Suite 5(third prize). One prize per winner.

Submissions will be uploaded to Vancouver Opera's Youtube channel. Music for Operabot 2.0 can be found here and are courtesy of EMI Music Canada.

Selections include:

* Libiamo ne’ lieti calici
* Sempre libera
* Ah! Dite alla giovine
* Parigi, o cara, noi lasceremo

The contest runs September 1, 2010 to February 28, 2011 and is open to all residents of the US and Canada, 18+ years or older. Official rules can be found at www.vancouveropera.ca. Everyone who enters will receive 2 tickets to La Traviata, so everyone is a winner!

To give you an idea of all the amazing and inspirational talent that is out there, here are the top 3 winners from last season's Operabot contest.

Created by: Brandon Cathey, Art Institute of Colorado

Created by: Gabriela Meijia and Chris Holbrow, Vancouver

Created by: Arron Robinson, Olaf Miller and Curt Spurging, Vancouver

We can't wait to see all the mind-blowin' brilliance this year. Good luck, Operabot-ers!

9/28 Update: Rainmaker Entertainment joins the panel of Operabot 2.0 judges

11/5 Update: Here are the updated prize packs for Operabot 2.0:


First Prize (1) Wacom CINTIQ 21UX (value: $1,999 USD), (1) Toon Boom Animate PRO (value: $1,999 USD)

Second Prize (1) Toon Boom Animate (one license value: $699 USD), (1) Wacom Intuos4 Wireless (value: $400 USD)

Third Prize (1) ToonBoom “Animate” (value: $499 USD)

Sponsored by:

Illustration by Roy Husada

~ Ling Chan

Project Nightfire Tonight!

Tonight is the night!

Rival Schools' Project Nightfire will be projected onto the Georgia Street exterior facade of the Vancouver Art Gallery, starting at 9pm.

Roy Husada and the Rival Schools team has worked for months on Project Nightfire. They created the project completely from the ground up: design, implementation, lighting, and animation.

Setting up for Project Nightfire

A miniature cardboard model of the VAG was constructed for lighting tests

Project Nightfire will be a first of it's kind in North America. Expect light and shadow to change the form of the VAG; walls will appear to fall away, columns will distort and surfaces will displace. If you've seen videos of the Samsung 3D art installation in Amsterdam, you'll no doubt agree, this will wow the crowds.

Nightfire - Sept 6 Test at the Vancouver Art Gallery from Rival Schools on Vimeo.

Project Nightfire will be projected tonight and tomorrow, starting at 9pm. Over one hour on each night, the animation will play every 10 minutes to the music Nessun Dorma from Giacomo Puccini's Turandot. A single animated sequence will last approximately 5 minutes and will be played about 6 times per night.

So come down tonight and tomorrow to see Rival Schools inspire people across the country to experiment with digital storytelling and explore new forms of narrative art. Vancouver Opera is pleased to support this event with logistical assistance.

See you there!

Photos & video credits: Rival Schools

~ Ling Chan

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Project Nightfire

Our friends at Rival Schools are planning something pretty spectacular. You know them as the super talented and creative bunch who designs all of our opera mangas. But mangas are just the tip of the iceberg. Rival Schools are also a much in-demand strategic design and content firm, having created campaigns for Puma, Xbox 360, YVR and Translink.

For their most ambitious project to date, Roy Husada and his team at Rival Schools will present Project Nightfire, a one-of-a-kind animation meets public art installation event projected on the exterior walls of Vancouver Art Gallery.

The 3D building manipulation piece tells the story of a fallen angel and will be set to the music of Giacomo Puccini's Nessun Dorma.

So come down Friday and Saturday and be visually amazed as animation, architecture and opera blend together to create an unforgettable work of art.

September 10th & 11th 9pm
Vancouver Art Gallery (Georgia St. side)

~ Ling Chan

Lillian Alling Set Models

Our Director of Production, Terry Harper, came back from Banff a couple of weeks ago and instead of bringing us touristy t-shirts, he bought us pictures of the Lillian Alling set models.

Terry returns to Banff this week and the next time he returns, he'll be bringing the real life sets back with him!

~ Ling Chan

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Lillian Blogs

Not only does Lillian Alling tweet, she also blogs! Starting tomorrow, we'll be posting Lillian's journal entries as she walks across North America and into the treacherous foothills of Telegraph Creek, in search of a mysterious man named Jozéf.

Go behind the scenes and into the mind of Lillian Alling. She will be blogging about arriving amidst the chaos of Ellis Island in the 1920s, hopping trains, befriending Norwegians in the North Dakota prairies, spending time in Oakalla Prison Farm and her hopes and dreams of a new life.

Follow Lillian's adventures on Twitter and here for weekly journal updates.

*journal entries may not reflect what will be seen onstage.

~ Ling Chan

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Lillian Alling Idea Boards

Here's a couple of idea boards sketched by Lillian Alling designer Sue LePage.

The first illustration shows Act 1, Scene 8: Scotty Macdonald appears in his cabin on Telegraph Trail tapping out messages to his fellow linemen.

The second illustration depicts Act 2, Scene 1: Vancouver waterfront, spring 1928. Vancouverites take shelter under umbrellas and awnings.

Double click image for full-size drawing.

~ Ling Chan