Join us for our 17th Season of supportive opera training on the East Coast of Canada!
We offer an artist-centred approach that teaches and strengthens your stage skills in the context of rehearsing and performing an entire role in an opera.
We’ll be hearing all auditions digitally this year, and as long as your materials are in by November 6, 2022, you’ll be considered in the first round of singers.
The application form is live now!
How to apply for HSOF 2023
What does HSOF cost?
The fee for the 2023 workshop will be $1900 Canadian per person. The fee includes all artistic costs, including coachings, acting/movement and audition classes, rehearsals and masterclasses.
This does not include housing and travel.
We have a small amount of bursary/scholarship money we can award, and you must apply for this support at the time you apply for the program.
Who can apply?
The Halifax Summer Opera Festival is open to all performers, regardless of nationality or age.We are committed to diverse, inclusive casting. For every role we seek qualified performers, without regard to race, age, color, national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity, within the confines of voice types (and sometimes not even then!) We strongly encourage trans singers to apply.
Depending on COVID conditions in the summer of 2023, we can anticipate a COVID policy similar to our 2022 policy — daily rapid testing, staying masked during rehearsals and isolating when ill.
How to apply
1. Fill in the application form and pay $25 application fee via PayPal.
2. Upload your audition materials (three contrasting pieces, one in English plus covering letter, c.v./bio, headshot and letter of recommendation) by November 6 to be included in the first round of casting. We will accept applications until all roles are filled.
“A magical show” says the Opera Canada review of our 2022 opera, Armide! Thanks to reviewer Daphna Levit and congratulations to all our participants!
Read the entire review at the Opera Canada website
“The production was double-cast and although it was the same production, same staging, some of the same singers and the same orchestra—each cast produced a spectacularly different outcome. On August 13, Armide was performed by Megan Cullen, a dramatic soprano with an enormous voice, who clearly controlled the full range of her vocal power to suit the capacity of the hall. Her Armide was an imperious warrior, commanding and unbreakable. Tenor Colin Frotten as Renaud in both casts was superbly and completely diminished by the spells and the force of Megan Cullen’s Armide. Released from the spell, Renaud became the haughty, glory-seeking hero he had been before meeting Armide. His character changed, but his voice was constant.”Daphna Levit, Opera Canada
Originally from Québec, baritone, MarKo Hubert is now based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. A frequent collaborator with HSOF, MarKo made his debut with us in 2017’s Carmen as Moralez and le Dancaïre, and returned in 2019 to sing all the villains in Offenbach’s Les contes d’Hoffmann. We’re thrilled to have him back with us, bringing both his beautiful and powerful voice and his extraordinary acting skills.
Interview with MarKo Hubert, baritone
What role are you singing with HSOF this year?
Ubalde, one of the crusaders who rescues Renaud.
Tell us where you’re from and how you first got interested in opera or musical theatre. Did anyone in your family listen to opera?
I was in my first year at college studying trumpet. That Christmas I went to visit my uncle who was a opera lover and that day Aida by Verdi was on the television. I didn’t like opera and he kind of forced me to see it with him. He was explaining all the action, singing the beginin.g of all arias. I became like an opera junky since then.
Introduce us to the character you’re playing in Armide. Who are they? What are their wants/desires? What are their obstacles/challenges? Do you have anything in common with them?
Ubalde is a soldier who is in charge to bring back with his colleagues one of their heroes who is under the magical art of Armide’s influence. For him the glory is paramount and way more important than love. While at Armide’s palace we came under a spell where we see our mistresses and we’re tempted to stay, enjoying a soft and disgraceful idleness until the charms we received to protect us broke the magic. I’m very close to Ubald. Like him I distrust love and it’s negative influence. Glory is more important for me than any human love which is irrelevant and not real.
What is the best part of starting a new operatic project for you?
Creating my version of the character I’m working on.
Who is your biggest inspiration in the opera world?
Maria Callas for her interpretation. She brought the emotions and the character as none before her were able to bring. Even sacrificing the beauty of the music for the reality of the emotions.
Who is your biggest inspiration in the non-opera world? Why?
Tina Turner because with all the difficulties she had in her life, she was able to believe in her and be the queen of her musical genre.
Opera in the modern world: How should we as interpretive artists deal with standard works that are racist and/or sexist?What can be done to make opera both contemporary and relevant to the next generation?
Write new operas without the offensive contents. We see this in pop culture after all. Those opera of the past show how things were at the time they were written and the time shows in the action. They should be as they are and be examples of what we wish to not replicate. The new fashion to change everything for the sake of anti racism, and slavery, anti murder, anti sexism is just hiding things we don’t want to see and believe we are so much better than that. But we aren’t. Black people are still mistreated in many countries, murdered, live in poverty. They fill prisons more than any other people only because they are black. Gays are still beaten to death. The number of gay teens who commit suicide is still more then any straight kids. Those actions to make opera more socially acceptable just hide the reality and stop the social reflection about who we really are. The same as our ancestors.
The return of opera!
On behalf of all of us at HSOF, I’m so happy to let you know that the Festival will be back with public performances in July and August, after two years of pandemic cancellations!
For 2022 we will present just one production: Christoph Willibald Gluck’s Armide (1777), sung by a cast of wonderful young singers from Canada, the United States and France, all of whom are thrilled to be back performing for live audiences.
Gluck was a pioneering opera composer, who sought to strip away the ornamentation and artifice of Baroque opera and restore the balance between words and music. Gluck is perhaps best-known for his Orfeo ed Euridice, was admired by Mozart, and he died just four years before his much younger colleague.
Armide was Gluck’s fifth opera for the Parisian stage. Set in a fantastical Damascus during the First Crusade, the opera explores the line between love and hatred and the struggle between East and West, masculine and feminine, reality and illusion.
We start reherasals on July 23 and have a few concerts in town (two at Halifax Central Library and our Opera Backwards show at the Bus Stop Theatre). Then we present four fully-staged and costumed performances of Armide at the LIllian Piercey Concert Hall at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts. The opera will be sung in French, with projected English translations, and will be accompanied by piano and small orchestral ensemble.
Conductor: Melissa Doiron
Stage Directors: Nina Scott-Stoddart and David Mosey
Accompanist: Giancarlo Scalia
Costumes: Andrew Pelrine
Performances August 11-14 (7:30 pm except for a 2:00 pm matinee on Sunday)
More details of the opera and the production are available on our website.
Please join us as we celebrate opera in person once again!
Tickets are available now at Eventbrite.
But first, on June 23, Maritime Concert Opera presents a special in concert performance of Lehar’s The Merry Widow, in English, at Lillian Piercey Hall in Halifax at 7:30 pm. This stars Nova Scotian soprano Meghan Jamieson as Hanna Glawari, Toronto baritone Justin Welsh as Count Danilo, with supporting singers Maureen Batt, Colin Frotten, Patrick Simms and MarKo Hubert, the MCO Chorus all under the direction of Tara Scott at the piano. A frothy evening of some of the most tuneful operetta music ever written! Tickets available at the door.
Join the Halifax Summer Opera Festival for 2022 and rehearse and perform a role in Gluck’s Armide.
We’re an artist-centred and supportive program which has grown over 16 years into one of the two largest opera training programs in the country. We offer an encouraging environment, hands-on training and real performance opportunities.
The workshop runs from July 23 to August 14, 2022.
It’s been a tough time for those of us studying live performance. We know that over the last two years that getting the practical experience of performing onstage and adding credits to your operatic resumé has been hard to come by. Let’s change that!
We’ve got a small, one-opera, three-week season planned for this year, in light of the pandemic that cancelled opera and opera programs across the world for the last two year. We’re committed to keeping ourselves, our artists and our audience safe as we all explore public performances again.
Armide is a mid-Classical operatic gem about a powerful sorceress who wants to conquer her enemy through love, not hatred. We’ll be working on it in French, with conductor Eszter Horvath and stage directors Andrew Pelrine and Nina Scott-Stoddart. There are lots of roles, especially for sopranos, each of which has at least one featured arioso. It’s a great piece to collaborate on with an enthusiastic and experienced creative team and a vibrant cast.
Extra classes this year will include Alexander Technique, acting, auditioning and the business of opera.
There are no age or citizenship limits for HSOF, and we welcome students who are newer to opera performance as well as experienced performers looking for larger roles. We remain committed to diversity in casting at all times and in all ways. Always.
It’s important that you’re able to commit to whatever quarantine or testing requirements may be in place for Nova Scotia in July, or for Canada in general if you wish to come from outside Canada. All participants and staff must be fully vaccinated agains Covid.
The fee is $1900, which doesn’t include travel, housing or food. We do have some limited partial scholarship money and you can apply for. We will have full refund policies in place if we have to cancel the program because of covid restrictions.
We will accept digital uploads until all roles are cast. To be considered in the first wave, please send us your materials by Feb. 26, 2022.
1. Scroll to the bottom of our website main page to learn the details of our online application process. There are no age or citizenship limits for HSOF, and we welcome students who are newer to opera performance as well as experienced performers. As long as you commit to any necessary travel restrictions needed for this summer.
2. Fill in the Application Form and pay your $20 Canadian fee, all done online.
3. You will be sent instructions to send in your digital audition materials.
I can’t wait to hear you and for us all to make music together again!
Artistic Director, HSOF