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Vancouver Opera Offstage

Author: Vancouver Opera

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Vancouver Opera Offstage is an audio podcast with host Les Dala, chorus director and associate conductor with Vancouver Opera. Join Les for this podcast as he chats with opera experts, artists, Vancouver Opera staff and others to explore the world of opera on and off the stage. This podcast offers an insider’s glimpse into the artistry, experiences, and perspectives of the talent involved in taking breathtaking opera productions from the page to the stage. For more information and to access each episode's special features such as guest Spotify lists, visit vancouveropera.ca . Continue the conversation on social media with hashtag #VOffstage.
31 Episodes
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"Success is what music does to the human spirit. If audiences come out of a concert feeling better than when they went in, that's success." – Leila Getz.   In the season finale of Vancouver Opera Offstage, Les talks with Leila Getz, C.M., O.B.C., D.F.A., founder and Artistic Director of the Vancouver Recital Society. Leila has presented Canadian and Vancouver debut performances of some of the world’s most brilliant and respected young musicians over the past 40 years, building a diverse and loyal audience for the recital concert form that had once been labeled out-of-vogue. She is a member of the Order of Canada, the order of British Columbia, and a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal for her contributions to Canada's musical landscape. Check out our episode at www.vancouveropera.ca/offstage.
In this very important episode, Les turns the stage around to talk with an illustrious audience member. Our guest is Canadian track and field icon, granddaughter of Canada's first Black Olympian, sister of Canadian track legend Harry Jerome, educator and teacher, social justice and environmental advocate, patron of the Arts, and long-time opera fan Valerie Jerome. Valerie talks about her experiences with racism growing up on the North Shore in the 50s and 60s, the similarities between athletes and musicians, and the power of having inspirational heros of colour in opera and in the arts. Valerie and Les also discuss the important work still to be done as people of Canada in changing preconceptions and challenging prejudices about people of colour.Check out our episode at www.vancouveropera.ca/offstage.Support the show (http://tickets.vancouveropera.ca/dev/contribute.aspx)
In this episode, meet the brand-new Artistic and Executive Director of Early Music Vancouver! Suzie LeBlanc, C.M., is a prolific Canadian soprano and recipient of the Order of Canada in 2015, with four honourary doctorates for her work. A performer and scholar in Baroque repertoire, she is also accomplished in classical and modern repertoire and improvisation. Her 2011 album, I am in need of music, won an ECMA for Best Classical Recording, and her original work has lent voice to her Acadian heritage.Check out our episode at www.vancouveropera.ca/offstage.#VOffstage is also available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Buzzsprout - subscribe to the feed today!Support the show (http://tickets.vancouveropera.ca/dev/contribute.aspx)
Meet Mike Southworth, who was responsible for the camerawork and videography behind Vancouver Opera's 2020–2021 Digital Season, on #VOffstage with Les Dala. Listen Now! www.vancouveropera.ca/offstageSubscribe to the season now: digital.vancouveropera.ca #VOGoesDigitalIn this episode, Les takes us on a glimpse behind the camera lens to get a perspective of what it takes to bring opera from the stage to the screen. Our guest is Mike Southworth, president of Collide Entertainment, who is responsible for the camerawork, videography, and video editing behind Vancouver Opera's 2020-2021 Digital Season productions. In addition to his work on VO's season, he is also highly in demand for his talents as an editor, sound designer, composer, sound recordist, camera operator, and director.Don't forget to buy your digital tickets to Vancouver Opera's Digital Season at digital.vancouveropera.ca !#VOffstage is also available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Buzzsprout - subscribe to the feed today!Support the show (http://tickets.vancouveropera.ca/dev/contribute.aspx)
In our official Preview Podcast for Vancouver Opera's new production of Carmen: Up Close and Personal and the 26th episode of Vancouver Opera Offstage, meet Brenna Corner, director and mastermind behind this brand-new digital opera. Brenna has worked as a director, actor, singer, choreographer, and fight director across Canada, the United States, and Europe. An alumnus of Vancouver Opera's Yulanda M. Faris Young Artist Program, she most recently directed VO productions of Hansel and Gretel and L'Elisir d'amore.  Tickets and subscriptions are now available for Carmen: Up Close and Personal, premiering May 1st at digital.vancouveropera.ca.Check out our episode now at www.vancouveropera.ca/offstage.Support the show (http://tickets.vancouveropera.ca/dev/contribute.aspx)
This very special 25th episode of Vancouver Opera Offstage is also the official Pre-Show talk for Vancouver Opera's The Music Shop, which premieres online Saturday, March 13. We're delighted to welcome Richard Wargo, composer of The Music Shop to talk about his creative inspirations for the opera and to share some tips for aspiring composers. Richard joins us from his home in Scranton, Pennsylvania.Check out our episode at www.vancouveropera.ca/offstage, and don't forget to subscribe to Vancouver Opera's Digital Season to see The Music Shop at digital.vancouveropera.ca !Support the show (http://tickets.vancouveropera.ca/dev/contribute.aspx)
In this episode, Les chats with prolific Canadian Stage Director Michael Cavanagh. No stranger to Vancouver Opera audiences, Michael has staged numerous productions over the years including–most recently–Otello, Madama Butterfly, and Nixon in China. We're thrilled that Michael has recently been appointed as Artistic Director of the Royal Swedish Opera. Les talks with Michael about his journey, his deep connection with VO, and the honour of being appointed to lead a major European opera company with hundreds of years of history.Check out our episode's special features including Michael's Spotify Playlist and Les' Pick of the Week at www.vancouveropera.ca/offstage!Support the show (http://tickets.vancouveropera.ca/dev/contribute.aspx)
In our first episode of 2021, host Les Dala is joined by celebrated Canadian baritone Brett Polegato. Brett has sung on the most important stages of the world and is also a three-time Grammy Award recipient. VO Audiences will remember him last as Belcore in 2018's L'Elisir d'amore (The Elixir of Love). Brett tells us about some of his favourite roles over the year and talks about the special importance of art, literature, and poetry in the current times.Check out our episode, special features like Brett's listening playlist, Les' pick of the week featuring composer John Estacio, and more at www.vancouveropera.ca/offstage.Support the show (http://tickets.vancouveropera.ca/dev/contribute.aspx)
In this special seasonal episode, our last podcast of 2020, Vancouver Opera Offstage has a holiday treat for our listeners: Les shares over 40 minutes of music recorded specifically for this podcast! Inspired by Menotti retracing his childhood memories of Christmas in Amahl and the Night Visitors, Les performs some solo piano music by Hungarian composers Franz Liszt, Béla Bartók, and Ernő Dohnányi, inspired by Christmas carols. Les also explores some of the history behind each composer and their work, with a guest appearance by Vancouver Opera Offstage co-producer and editor Vincent Wong, Senior Marketing and Sales Manager at Vancouver Opera.Check out our episode at www.vancouveropera.ca/offstage, and don't forget to subscribe to Vancouver Opera's Digital Season to see Amahl and the Night Visitors at digital.vancouveropera.ca !This episode has clickable Music Selections: (available under "CHAPTER MARKERS" - tap the icon in the player with the three lines)Selection 1 (09:18): Franz Liszt, "In dulci jubilo: Die Hirten an der Krippe" (In dulci jubilo: The Shepherds at the Manger)Selection 2 (12:26): Franz Liszt, "Adeste fideles: Gleichsam als Marsch der heiligen drei Könige" (Adeste Fideles: March of the Three Holy Kings)Selection 3 (16:17): Franz Liszt, "Glockenspiel" (Carillon)Selection 4 (18:48): Franz Liszt, "Schlummerlied" (Slumber Song)Selection 5 (22:27): Franz Liszt, "Altes provençalisches Weihnachtslied" (Old Provençal Christmas Song)Selection 6 (24:12): Franz Liszt, "Abendglocken" (Evening Bells)Selection 7 (28:46): Franz Liszt, "Ehemals" (variously trans. as In Days Gone By, Old Times, Long Ago, Formerly) Selection 8 (38:44): Béla Bartók, "Romanian Christmas Carols"Selection 9 (55:39): Ernő Dohnányi, "Pastorale" (based on the carol "The Angel came down from heaven")Music recorded at Monarch Studios on December 5, 2020.Support the show (http://tickets.vancouveropera.ca/dev/contribute.aspx)
In this episode, Les takes us on a behind the scenes glimpse into the creation of Vancouver Opera's next digital opera: Amahl and the Night Visitors. This new take on a delightful holiday classic has its digital premiere on Saturday December 12th, featuring an exciting BC cast alongside members of the Vancouver Opera Chorus. This podcast's guests include Stage Director Sarah Jane Pelzer, Andreas Dala (Amahl), and Stephanie Tritchew (Mother), alongside Les (Music Director).Check out our special features for the episode, including Les's Spotify Pick of the Week and more at www.vancouveropera.ca/offstage, and don't forget to subscribe to Vancouver Opera's Digital Season to see Amahl and the Night Visitors at digital.vancouveropera.ca !Support the show (http://tickets.vancouveropera.ca/dev/contribute.aspx)
In this, our 20th episode, Les chats with two of Vancouver Opera's fabulous stage managers, Marijka Asbeek Brusse and Theresa Tsang. We'll go on a virtual tour of what goes on in opera in the rehearsal hall and from backstage of a major opera company. Theresa and Marijka will share experiences and challenges from their unique perspective and give us a unique glimpse of what some of their favourite productions look like from behind the curtains.Check out our special features for the episode, including guest Spotify playlists, Les's Spotify Pick of the Week and more at www.vancouveropera.ca/offstage!Support the show (http://tickets.vancouveropera.ca/dev/contribute.aspx)
In this episode, Les speaks with Jim (James) Wright, former General Director of Vancouver Opera who led the company from 1999-2016. As the longest-serving General Director in the company's history,  Vancouver Opera presented a wide range of repertoire during his tenure including the world premieres of Lillian Alling, Stickboy, and the Canadian premiere of Nixon in China. Jim also oversaw the creation of our community engagement program Opera Speaks and the appointment of Jonathan Darlington as Music Director. Join us as Jim shares some of his personal highlights during his tenure.Check out our special features for the episode, including Jim's Spotify playlist, Les's Spotify Pick of the Week and more at www.vancouveropera.ca/offstage!Support the show (http://tickets.vancouveropera.ca/dev/contribute.aspx)
In this episode, Les chats with Canadian mezzo-soprano Mireille Lebel, who will be starring in Vancouver Opera's Digital Season Opening Production, La Voix humaine. Last appearing as Siébel in Vancouver Opera's 2019 production of Faust, Mireille grew up in Vancouver and was a member of the Atelier Lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal before making critically successful debuts with opera companies and orchestras in Europe and North America. Check out our special features for the episode, including Mireille's Spotify playlist, Les's Spotify Pick of the Week and more at www.vancouveropera.ca/offstage!Don't forget to subscribe to our fabulous digital season to see Mireille and be ready for La Voix humaine  when it premieres October 24th at digital.vancouveropera.ca/la-voix-humaine !Support the show (http://tickets.vancouveropera.ca/dev/contribute.aspx)
In this episode, Les chats with J. Patrick Raftery, who is professor of voice and opera at UBC and who has had an illustrious singing career as both a tenor and a baritone. Recipient of the Richard Tucker Music Foundation Prize, Patrick has appeared on the world's greatest stages including the Metropolitan Opera, Covent Garden, La Scala and the Paris Opera to name a few. He has shared the stage with some of the greatest operatic legends including Luciano Pavarotti and Mirella Freni.Check out our special features for the episode, including Patrick's Spotify playlist, Les's Spotify Pick of the Week and more at www.vancouveropera.ca/offstage!Support the show (http://tickets.vancouveropera.ca/dev/contribute.aspx)
In this very special video and audio episode, Les is proud to feature a series of introductions from the talented participants of our 2020–2021 Yulanda M Faris Young Artists Program. We’ll be meeting Toronto-based stage director Dana Fradkin, Vancouver-based baritone Luka Kawabata, Toronto soprano Jonelle Sills, tenor Ian Cleary who hails from Chatham, Ontario, Vancouver-based pianist Amy Seulky Lee, and mezzo-soprano Amanda Weatherall, originally from Cranbrook, BC.The Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists program was created to offer a bridge between formal academic educational programs and the professional world in a supportive and encouraging environment. It provides artists–singers, pianists and stage directors–with the opportunity to train with industry leaders through master classes, one on one coachings and performance opportunities as part of a residency program. Be sure to catch these wonderful artists in action by subscribing to our 2020–2021 Digital season, where they will star in The Music Shop and La Tragédie de Carmen.We'd love to hear from you if you have any feedback or suggestions for upcoming guests. You can reach us via email at online@vancouveropera.ca, and don't forget to check out this episode's special features, including Spotify playlists from each of our Young Artists on our website at We'd love to hear from you if you have any feedback or suggestions for upcoming guests. You can reach us via email at online@vancouveropera.ca, and don't forget to check out this episode's special features, including Spotify playlists from each of our Young Artists on our website and the video version of this episode at vancouveropera.ca/offstage.Support the show (http://tickets.vancouveropera.ca/dev/contribute.aspx)
In this episode, Vancouver Opera's Director of Learning and Engagement, Colleen Maybin brings you an uplifting story about music, connection, and community. The Can You Hear Me? Project is an unique choral video from Vancouver Opera and longtime community partner, The Kettle Society, conceived as a way to shine a light on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the members of The Kettle Choir and Writers Guild. Run out of The Kettle on Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver, these two unique programs provide Kettle members with weekly singing rehearsals, one-on-one songwriting lessons, and writing workshops by lead teaching artists from Vancouver Opera. When the Phase One lockdown was announced in mid-March, the weekly rehearsals and writing sessions were cancelled for the foreseeable future. The sudden lack of access to the programs and services used by Kettle members was devastating, replacing a routine of connecting with others and creating with isolation and uncertainty. The Can You Hear Me? Project emerged out of a desire to find a way of bringing singing and connection back into their lives. The result is a new song written by and for the singers of the choir, transforming adversity into creative inspiration. Guests speaking on behalf of the project are Composer and Music Director Lesley Sutherland, actor and singer Jerry LaFaery from The Kettle Choir, and Project Producer Coreen Douglas from The Kettle Society.Check out our special features for the episode, including Colleen, Jerry, Coreen, and Lesley's Spotify playlist, Les's Spotify Pick of the Week and more at www.vancouveropera.ca/offstage!Support the show (http://tickets.vancouveropera.ca/dev/contribute.aspx)
In this episode, Les chats with we're speaking with Hungarian-Canadian mezzo-soprano Krisztina Szabó from her home in Toronto. Highly sought after in North America and Europe on both opera stages and concert halls, Krisztina has an impressive repertoire ranging from Bach to Claude Vivier as well as several world premieres, including George Benjamin's opera Lessons in Love and Violence which was nominated for a Grammy award. She last appeared at Vancouver Opera as Donna Elvira in the 2014 production of Don Giovanni. We are thrilled to welcome Krisztina to Vancouver, who has recently been appointed Assistant Professor of Voice and Opera at the UBC School of Music.Check out our special features for the episode, including Krisztina's Spotify playlist, Les's Spotify Pick of the Week and more at www.vancouveropera.ca/offstage!Support the show (http://tickets.vancouveropera.ca/dev/contribute.aspx)
In this episode, Les catches up with internationally respected conductor David Agler. David was Music Director of Vancouver Opera from 1992 to 1999 and recently stepped down after a 16-year tenure as Artistic Director of the prestigious Wexford Festival. David has held leadership positions in opera companies throughout the world and guest conducted across Canada, the US and Europe. David joins us from his home in Vancouver.Check out our special features for the episode, including an interview with David by Radio-Canada's Sylvia L’Écuyer and Les's Spotify Pick of the Week at www.vancouveropera.ca/offstage!Support the show (http://tickets.vancouveropera.ca/dev/contribute.aspx)
In this episode, Les chats with Teiya Kasahara & Asitha Tennekoon, co-founders of Amplified Opera. Teiya 笠原貞野 (they/them) is a queer, gender non-binary, multi-disciplinary performer/creator, and first-generation Nikkei-Canadian settler of Japanese and German roots. Teiya comes from a background of over a decade of singing both traditional and contemporary operatic roles across North America and Europe. VO audiences last saw them as the Queen of the Night in our 2013 BC First Nations inspired production of The Magic Flute. Sri Lankan tenor Asitha Tennekoon was winner of the 2016/17 Dora Award for Best Male Performance in Opera for his depiction of Paul in Tapestry Opera's Rocking Horse Winner and was last seen at Vancouver Opera in The Overcoat as The Manager. Asitha is also the creator of the blog Wandelprobe, in which he provides a platform for meaningful discourse on the state of opera.Check out our special features for the episode, including Teiya & Asitha's Spotify playlists, Les's Pick of the Week and more at www.vancouveropera.ca/offstage!Support the show (http://tickets.vancouveropera.ca/dev/contribute.aspx)
In this episode, Les chats with Nancy Hermiston, Director of the University of British Columbia Opera Ensemble, and Chair of the UBC School of Music's Voice and Opera Divisions. Nancy's prestigious career has taken her across the globe. She is the inspiration and mentor to many local artists including our recent guests Rachel Fenlon and Simone Osborne, and is an Officer of the Order of Canada for her achievements as an opera singer, stage director and educator.Check out our special features for the episode, including Nancy's Spotify playlist, a couple of Nancy's favourite historical YouTube videos, Les's Pick of the Week: a full streaming video recording of UBC Opera's The Passenger, and more at www.vancouveropera.ca/offstage!Support the show (http://tickets.vancouveropera.ca/dev/contribute.aspx)
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