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.


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

London, ON Audition Times added for Tuesday October 29!

We are now scheduling auditions for our 2020 Summer Opera Festival program for London ON. Auditions will be at the Faculty of Music on Tuesday October 29 from 2 pm to 5:30 pm.

Our 2020 Season will feature Poulenc’s Les dialogues des carmélites, Kurt Weill’s The Three Penny Opera and a double bill of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and Blow’s Venus and Adonis, plus an Art Song Intensive.

Learn more about How to Apply

Application form online

Casts announced for 2019 Halifax Summer Opera Festival

All casts have now been posted on the website! Visit TicketHalifax.com for advance tickets!

DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE by MozartFriday August 2, 7:30 pm
Thursday August 8, 7:30 pm
Saturday August 3, 7:30 pm
Saturday August 10, 2:00 pm
TaminoAlexander CappellazzoAlexander Cappellazzo
PapagenoLuke NoftallLuke Noftall
PaminaMeghan Jamieson (NS)Lindsay Heyland (NS)
Queen of the NightKatherine MaybaAnastasia Pogorelova (Russia)
SarastroDuncan StenhouseDuncan Stenhouse
First LadyJulie GateSkylar Cameron (NS)
Second LadySerena YeungCorinne James (ON)
Third LadyLaura CurialeNatalie Vong
MonostatosMehdi Mikaeilzadh Mehdi Mikaeilzadh
PapagenaGrace HakalaEmily Wang
First SpiritOlivia Charlebois-BrandvoldEmilie James (ON)
Second SpiritJulia KennificRhian Merritt (NS)
Third SpiritRaelyn Davis (NS)Keira Davis (NS)
SpeakerSteven DeWittSteven DeWitt
Little PaminaAva Frail (NS)Billie Kent (NS)
Little PapagenoCharlie Fournier (NS)Charlie Fournier (NS)
Little MonostatosDylan Chang (NS)Dylan Chang (NS)
Little PapagenaJulia Velasco (NS)Julia Velasco (NS)
LES CONTES D'HOFFMANN by OffenbachSaturday August 3, 2:00 pm
Wednesday August 7, 7:30 pm
Sunday August 4, 7:30 pm
Saturday August 10, 7:30 pm
Hoffmann, a poetKoosha Khorramian (Iran/NS)Koosha Khorramian (Iran/NS)
Lindorf, Coppélius, Miracle, DapertuttoMarKo Hubert (NS)MarKo Hubert (NS)
Nicklausse, his friendMairi Demings (NS)Lissy Meyerowitz
Olympia, a dollMeggie MacKayLoren Graziano
Antonia, a young girl Olivia LaPointeKelsey Lee
Giulietta, a courtesanLeslie HigginsOlivia Spahn-Vieria
Nathanael, Frantz, Pitichinaccio, SpalanzaniEli Aronson (USA)Eli Aronson (USA)
Crespel, Antonia's fatherDuncan StenhouseDuncan Stenhouse
SchlémilSteven DeWitt (NS)Steven DeWitt (NS)
LutherJim Horne (NS)Steven DeWitt (NS)
CochenilleLoren GrazianoMeggie MacKay
HermannLissy MeyerowitzMairi Demings
AndresRhian Meritt (NS)Rhian Meritt (NS)
Stella/WaitressOliva Spahn-VieriaLeslie Higgins
ALCINA by HandelSunday August 4, 2 pm Friday August 9, 7:30 pmTuesday August 6, 7:30 pm
Sunday August 11, 2 pm
Alcina, a sorceressJodie MillerVictoria Vass
Morgana, her sisterSevan KochkarianAbigail Sinclair (NS)
Oberto, a boyEmma BattelAlyssa Hildebrand
Bradamante, Ruggiero's loverLaurel CoddingtonZoë Gotziaman
RuggieroSean JordanSean Jordan
Orontë, Morgana's loverJustin LiJustin Li
Melisso, Ruggiero's tutorCamilo Rodriguez-CuadradoCamilo Rodriguez-Cuadrado

Alcina, Opens August 4th!

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For Immediate Release
July 24th, 2019

Handel’s final great London success, Alcina opens in Halifax August 4th.

Alcina was originally composed for Handel’s first season at the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden in London. However, like other great operatic works composed by Handel, Alcina (1735) actually fell into obscurity until 1928. The production by Halifax Summer Opera Festival features a rich, updated plot and thrillingly beautiful Baroque music!

Alcina is sung in Italian with projected translations, so audiences won’t miss any of the drama. Fully-staged and costumed and performed with keyboard, cello continuo and violin, it opens August 4th and runs through the 6th, 9th, and 11th at the Lillian Piercey Concert Hall, at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts.

Set on a mysterious and beautiful island, Alcina’s paradise was actually created to lure her unsuspecting lovers into her grasp. One of these unfortunate men is the warrior, Ruggiero, who while under Alcina’s magical spell had forsaken his duty as well as his betrothed, Bradamante. Not only does Handel’s Alcina feature the unique tale of a powerful enchantress, but the entire opera is filled with music of extraordinary beauty and grace.

Alcina is by Handel, who composed the Christmas and Easter hit Messiah,” said stage director Erin Bardua, who directed last year’s sold out hit Poppea. “If you love the music of Messiah, you’ll love this. And the plot of our version has everything: wicked witches, mistaken identities, a ton of flirting, and pyramid schemes.” Bardua went on to say the cast of Alcina is stellar. “These young singers arrived fully prepared to mount a professional-sounding and entertaining show. I’m laughing and crying in rehearsals. I’ve even had chills a couple of times. We’re having a great time, even while we’re working hard.” The opera, which premièred in 1735, has undergone an update. Halifax Opera Festival’s version, staged by Bardua with music direction by Markus Howard, takes place at the headquarters of an eerie cult-like business that scams the vulnerable out of their freedom. The twist is that the wicked Alcina is doing it all for love.

Tickets for the festival are on sale online at TicketHalifax.com, by phone at (902) 422-6278 (ext. 500), in person at The Coast’s offices, 2309 Maynard Street, or at the venue an hour before the show, payable by cash, credit card, tappable debit, ApplePay or cheque. Audience members can also buy season passes, which will get them into every performance of every show (which can be quite interesting since there are two casts for each opera, providing two quite distinct interpretations).

Halifax Summer Opera Festival and Workshop educates and develops both singers and audiences through the performance of operatic repertoire. For fourteen seasons, HSOF has presented fully staged operas each summer, giving singers from university undergrads to professionals opportunities to learn roles in the context of performing an entire, full-staged opera. Participants are selected from live or recorded auditions and participate in rehearsals and master classes on everything from auditioning techniques to dramatic and musical interpretations by seasoned pros. HSOF is a not-for-profit society with a volunteer Board of Directors, based in Lunenburg and Halifax. You can find out all the details at www.halifaxsummeroperafestival.com.

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Information / interviews: 
Bodhi Anders: mobile: 902-293-0264 or email: 

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