UPDATE re: COVID-19 and the 2020 Halifax Summer Opera Festival

Dear Artist:
I want to update our plans for the 2020 Halifax Summer Opera Festival in light of the ever-changing conditions surrounding COVID-19.

Other local arts organizations have been cancelling events up to the end of April or May. Because of the unprecedented situation, it’s not clear to anyone what the reality will be for mid-July. 

Our Board of Directors and I have decided to leave the season open for the time being. We still hope we can have the Festival and will continue to plan for it, while reassessing things as conditions change. We will send updates in April and May, by which time we hope to have a clearer idea of what the situation in July will be. 

If you’ve already been cast, we want to assure you that any money paid to us from now on will be totally refundable if we have to cancel the Festival. We’re not going to actively collect money, but if you do send it in it will be refundable from now on.

I will be leaving the application form up, and taking off the fee. Please feel free to apply for roles if you like — I will go ahead and cast as if we’re going ahead.

If we do end up having to cancel the 2020 Festival, we will plan a regular season for 2021. We will also make special arrangements with any of our artists who accepted offers for this year who choose to return in future years. We are very grateful for your support!

I want to thank you all for your patience. You are why we run an opera training program and your talent and passion make everything possible. Please stay safe, take care of your precious respiratory systems and we’ll make a decision about the season by the end of May.

Sincerely,

Nina
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Nina Scott-Stoddart
Artistic Director
Halifax Summer Opera Festival

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Halifax Auditions December 7 for Halifax Summer Opera Festival 2020

Handel’s Alcina, 2019

The first round of Halifax auditions for the 16th annual Halifax Summer Opera Festival will be held on Saturday December 7 at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts.

Please review the How to Apply page then fill in the Application Form. You’ll be given details on how to schedule your time slot. If you have any problems, let Nina know and she’ll sort things out!

We’ll also be hearing auditions by FaceTime/Skype or you can send your materials in digitally. Nina will review all applications.

For 2020 we’ll be rehearsing and performing four full lengths musical works (Les dialogues des carmélitesDido and Aeneas/Venus and Adonis and Weill’s The Threepenny Opera). Staff for these operas include directors David Mosey, Erin Bardua and Andrew Pelrine, music directors Nicholas Gilmore and Chuck Homewood and vocal coaches Rose Naggar-Tremblay, Maureen Batt and Jason Davis.

We’re also starting a new Art Song Intensive program to help young performers get ready for full opera roles through language study and acting technique classes built around art song repertoire. These participants will also sing chorus in Carmélites. Staff for this program include Gregory Myra, Lucy Hayes Davis and Nina Scott-Stoddart.

Contact Nina directly with any questions: nina@halifaxsummeroperafestival.com



Women Composers of Opera: July 24th

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Women Composers of Opera: July 24, 7:00pm at the Halifax Central Library

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This lecture-recital by Dr. Jane Gordon and Nicholas Gilmore will feature arias and ensembles performed by participants of the 15th annual Halifax Summer Opera Festival.

Join us on Wednesday, July 24 at 7:00PM for Women Composers of Opera! Check out the teaser below, and we will see you there.

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Laurel Coddington: 2019 Performer Highlight

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Born in California, Coddington is a mezzo-soprano who has had a very musical upbringing. Both her grandparents are professional musicians, and she went into her first opera in the fourth grade! This year, she joins HSOF as Bradamande in Alcina. Find out more about Alcina here:

Alcina (1735)

 

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This year, HSOF welcomes over 50 performers from around the world, including many from Nova Scotia and the Maritimes, all of whom underwent competitive auditions. We are excited to introduce Laurel Coddington as a performer this summer!

Buy your tickets here:

https://www.tickethalifax.com/54495769/operafestival 

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Q:  What has been your onstage experience or role that has been the most meaningful, exciting or successful for you? What do you long to do next?

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A:  Playing Cherubino in Marriage of Figaro this past February was extremely exciting for me! Lyric mezzo-sopranos (the highest of the voice type) generally play a lot of different pants roles, so dressing up as a teenage boy was nothing new for me; however, in the opera, Cherubino has to disguise himself as a woman to hide from the Count. How do I, a female, act as a cis boy who’s wearing Susanna’s dress and bonnet? It was a super fun acting challenge! 

My school, Biola University (La Mirada, California) is putting on The Music Man next fall, so I would LOVE to play Marian. In terms of opera, though, La Cenerentola, Carmen, Il barbiere di Siviglia, and Cosí fan tutte are on my “wish list!”

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Q:  What is the best part about starting a new opera?

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A:  I love opening a new, clean score. There’s something so exhilarating about flipping through it, looking for my character’s lines, and dreaming about having it all memorized. 

I enjoy a good challenge!

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Q:  What has been the most challenging thing about performing or preparing an operatic role for you so far? How are you dealing with it?

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A:  “First of all, I’ve never been in a Handel opera, so Alcina is entirely new to me. Secondly, melismas (the really long vocal runs) are intimidating! Bradamante has some of the most complex, unintuitive melismas in the opera, so learning and making them sound clean has definitely been a challenge.”

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Q:  Which non-operatic artwork or piece of culture or history would you like to see become an opera?

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A:  “Ooooh – such a good question! There are a lot of U.S. history events that would be really interesting to see as operas: the Great Depression, industrialization, the civil rights movement, 9/11… to name a few. 

I think opera is such a unique platform to 1) bring awareness to a historical or cultural event, 2) share someone’s story, and 3) convey the emotions connected with the event to the audience. As historical events begin to repeat themselves in our world, we need reminders of our past. We need to be emotionally moved by and connected to tragic events in order to move forward.”

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Sevan Kochkarian: 2019 Performer Highlight

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Kochkarian is an Armenian soprano who got her entrance into music when her mother and grandmother sang classics from the likes of Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables to her. This year, she is teaming up with HSOF as both Morgana and Alcina (Cover). Find out more about Alcina here:

Alcina (1735)

 

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This year, HSOF welcomes over 50 performers from around the world, including many from Nova Scotia and the Maritimes, all of whom underwent competitive auditions. We are excited to introduce Sevan Kochkarian as a performer this summer!

Buy your tickets here:

https://www.tickethalifax.com/54495769/operafestival 

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Q:  When did you start studying voice? Where are you studying now?

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A:  I started the Vancouver children’s choir when I was 8, then at the age of 11 I started my private vocal lessons in classical music. I’m studying now at McGill University getting my Masters!

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Q:  What is the best part about starting a new opera?

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A:  The best part is of course highlighting the score! Okay no in all seriousness: for me it’s figuring out my character, my objects, what I want, what my story arch is. I also think it’s just listening to the opera and falling in love with the music!

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Q:  Who is your biggest inspiration in the opera world?

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A:  “That is an impossible question. I think I have multiple inspirations for different things. I mean Anna Netrebko, Nadine Sierra, Danielle de Niese, Joyce DiDonato…. they all have taught me something different and I think that’s the beauty of this art form! Different people can inspire you in different ways.”

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Q:  Who is your biggest inspiration in the non-opera world?

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A:  “My parents are my biggest inspiration. They came from poverty, and they turned their lives around by working hard. They immigrated, they learned English, busted their tails off and now they are business owners and live happy lives. I mean they showed me if you want something with work hard you can accomplish anything. Even when things get hard you cannot give up. I hope to become like them because they made so many sacrifices just to help me achieve my goals and dreams. I hope to be just like them when I am a parent someday!”

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