Three things to do at the Vancouver Opera Festival this weekend

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      It's the Vancouver Opera fest, so sure, there's opera--big opera, as in Giuseppe Verdi's Otello, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, or Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking.

      But if you've had the chance to walk by the Queen Elizabeth Theatre plaza today, you know there's so much more too. We're talking video installations, tent talks, and a rippin' prop-filled bar.

      Here then is our guide to planning your fest-going this weekend.

      1. Sip cocktails at the Opera Bar 

      You know that never-used ultramod restaurant that sits on the edge of the plaza? Someone's had the brilliant idea to turn it into a place where you can get pre-show drinks and listen to post-show DJs. White draped fabric, sculptural heads, baroque chairs, and vintage opera posters give the space a cool midcentury-meets-Mozart vibe. Happy Hour runs 4 to 7 pm every night of the fest, while the "post-show socials" happen "till late" Thursday to Saturday. And trust us, you'll need a strong one after all hell breaks loose at the end of Otello or Dead Man.


      2. Blow your mind with Paul Wong's Five Octave Range

      With an eerie cacaphony of echoing, overlapping operatic sounds and multiple, disc-shaped projection screens, multimedia master Wong's installation is a head trip that pretty much owns the outdoor plaza space. 


      Festival tent
      Michael Mann

      3. Get deep at Opera Speaks

      Hit the festival tent throughout the event for some provocative public panels. Our pick happens Saturday (April 29) at 4:30, where renowned Dead Man Walking author Sister Helen Prejean joins Shelley Joseph of Truth and Reconciliation Canada and Dr. Brenda Morrison, director of the Centre of Restorative Justice at SFU. Their talk is titled Ethical Justice in the 21st Century.