Riders to the Sea: 2012 repertoire for Halifax Summer Opera Workshop

The third of our three programmes for the 2012 HSOW will be an evening of One Act Operas in English,and the centerpiece of that evening will be Ralph Vaughan Williams’s opera Riders to the Sea, based on the play by J.M. Synge.

Within only about forty-minutes of music, Riders to the Sea lays bare the most frightening of human experience—the bleakness of waiting, the despair of loss, and the inevitability of still more loss. As is often the case, the inexorable sea looms as the background, but it well could be any overwhelming and magnetic force of nature or man. This is an extraordinary picture of people facing their own immovability, and of the futility of resistance and the necessity of acceptance or, at least, resignation.

The music is seductive, gripping, inescapable, and likely Vaughan Williams’s greatest theatrical work.

Music Director:  Jennifer Szeto
Stage Director:  Anne Morison
Vocal Coach:  Lucy Hayes Davis

Bizet’s Carmen: Repertoire for 2012 Halifax Summer Opera Workshop

Spanish Woman by Alexander Yakovlevich GOLOVIN


The second of our three programmes for the 2012 Workshop will be Bizet’s Carmen.

Bizet once wrote in a letter: ‘I tell you that if you were to suppress adultery, fanaticism, crime, evil and the supernatural, there would no longer be the means for writing one note’. His opera Carmen wholeheartedly embraces this credo. This hot-blooded tale of erotic obsession shocked its first-night audiences with its low-life theme and violent conclusion. Carmen’s blatant sexuality, her readiness to discard men like picked flowers, and the rowdy women of the chorus who both fight and smoke onstage, were strong fare for the Opera-Comique’s traditionally family atmosphere.

Music Director:  Tara Scott
Stage Director: Anthony Radford
Vocal Coach:  Paula Rockwell

For more information and cast lists, please see 2012 Workshop

Midsummer Night’s Dream by Britten: Repertoire for 2012 Halifax Summer Opera Workshop

One of the three programmes to be presented at HSOW in 2012 will be Benjamin Britten’s great opera, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which premiered in 1960.

In August 1959, Britten decided to compose a full-evening opera for the reopening of the refurbished Jubilee Hall in Aldeburgh in June 1960. As this left no time for a libretto to be prepared anew, he chose to adapt with Peter Pears Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, though as he admitted at the time, he had always admired the original play and was excited by the various levels of action between the different groups of characters. As with The Turn of the Screw, these groups are characterised by strongly differentiated colours: the bright, percussive sounds of harps, keyboards and percussion for the fairy world, warm strings and wind for the the pairs of lovers, and lower woodwind and brass for the mechanicals. The opera is completely faithful to the spirit of the original and must be counted as one of the most successful operatic adaptations of a Shakespeare play. It is possibly the most beguiling and enchanting of all Britten’s operas, a work with a spellbinding atmosphere that inhabits a truly unique dreamlike world.

Music Director:  Gregory Myra
Stage Directors:  Nina Scott-Stoddart and David Mosey
Vocal Coach:  TBA

For more information and cast lists, please see 2012 Workshop

HSOW 2012 season to be announced soon!

We’re getting ready for the announcement of our program for the summer of 2012, and it promises to be a lively one! We have a strong line up of faculty members and operas we’re preparing, and we think you’ll be excited about what we have in store!


Our auditions will be held in November this year: we’re aiming for November 10 in London, ON, November 11 & 12 in Toronto and November 13 for our first auditions in Montreal.


As always, we’ll be accepting distance applications.


More information soon!