Vancouver Opera sets Carmen, The Flying Dutchman, and Dr. Sun Yat-Sen in its sights as part of ambitious new strategic plan
The Vancouver Opera has unveiled an ambitious new long-term strategic plan that entails premiering the first production in Canada to be sung entirely in Mandarin, a full-scale presentation of Wagner's The Flying Dutchman, and debuting programs and shows in new venues spread across the region.
"This strategy draws on our proven capacity for innovation to entice more people, and more new people, to experience opera. We want to change how and where we produce it, and even how we define it,” general director James Wright said in a press announcement. "This new direction reallocates a significant portion of our resources to programming outside the traditional venue of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, in order to make our productions more accessible, while serving the dedicated opera lovers who have faithfully supported us for more than 50 years."
The recently announced commission of Stickboy, by slam poet Shayne Koyczan and BC composer Jordan Nobles, which debuts at the Vancouver Playhouse (instead of the traditional Queen E. venue) in October 2014, is part of the plan. The VO announced today that it will join Georges Bizet’s popular Carmen, Johann Strauss Jr.’s Die Fledermaus, and Stephen Sondheim’s musical Sweeney Todd in the 2014-15 season (with the rest of the shows at the Queen E.)
The company also hinted at plans for 2015-2016 and beyond, including full-scale productions of Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman, Puccini’s Turandot, Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann (for the first time in more than 30 years), and the Canadian premiere of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, by New York-based composer Huang Ruo. The last one is based on the life of the revolutionary and founding father of the Republic of China. Dr. Sun Yat-Sen will be sung entirely in Mandarin (with English translations projected above the stage.)
For the production of Stickboy, the company will offer “U-19” seats, at $19, to youths under the age of 19. This joins the the expansion of VO's "Get OUT" (Opera Under Thirty-five) ticket program, which makes affordable seats available for younger adults.
Beginning this spring, the VO will also offer new programming in communities south of the Fraser River and will concentrate its long-running school touring program largely in Metro Vancouver.
"The cultural landscape of our community has changed since Vancouver Opera was founded 55 years ago. The population has tripled, but new generations are not as prepared to see opera as previous ones were," said Wright. "Opera companies across North America are seeing similar changes. We believe now is the time to redirect some of our resources to reach more people in more ways and new places. We are an innovative company in an innovative city. Anticipating change, and adapting to it, are part of life for all cultural organizations in Vancouver. We are excited to be embarking on a new era for Vancouver Opera."