For Immediate Release
June 25th, 2018
(Halifax, NS) – For the fourteenth summer over 90 people will descend on Halifax to rehearse and perform 12 live performances of fully-staged opera.
This year the Halifax Summer Opera Festival includes four performances each of Mozart’s great tragicomic opera Don Giovanni, Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and a masterpiece of early Baroque opera, L’Incoronazione di Poppea by Claudio Monteverdi. The main operas will be performed between August 3 and 12, and the entire season is supported by our print media sponsor, The Coast.
One of Mozart’s greatest operas, Don Giovanni (1787) is the story of the people (men and women) damaged by a serial seducer/abuser,, all set to incongruously glorious music. It could be ripped from today’s headlines, centring, as it does, around a sociopathic, celebrity serial abuser who almost gets away with it. Our #metoo modern-dress production will demonstrate just how relevant this 231 year old opera is. Don Giovanni is sung in Italian with projected translations, so audiences won’t miss any of the drama. Fully-staged and costumed and performed with orchestra. Opens August 4.
L’Incoronazione di Poppea (The Coronation of Poppea) (1643) tells the story of double-crossing lovers struggling for power in imperial Rome. Monteverdi’s last and greatest opera was written for the professional opera house in Venice. His score melds nasty people, moral ambiguity and outright comedy with music of surpassing beauty. A very modern story! Sung in Italian with projected English translation and accompanied by harpsichord and cello continuo and violins, this production is supported by the Early Music Society of Nova Scotia. Opens August 3.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1960) is Benjamin Britten’s extraordinary setting of Shakespeare’s play, where nothing is as it seems. One of Shakespeare’s greatest plays set by one of England’s greatest composers, this operatic version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is unsettling, haunting, hilarious and stunningly beautiful. Accompanied by piano and harp and sung in English, with projected libretto. Opens August 4.
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).
The Festival kicks off with a series of free concerts at the Paul O’Regan Hall at the Halifax Central Library. There are three noon hour lecture recitals on July 18, 19 and 20, plus a musical evening exploring the poetry of W.H. Auden, especially his collaborations with English composer Benjamin Britten. That’s on Wednesday July 18 at 6 pm. The Festival also presents its annual Pride concert in collaboration with Halifax Pride, Opera Backwards, Wednesday July 25, 7:30 pm at the Bus Stop Theatre. Tickets $20
Halifax Summer Opera Festival and Workshop educates and develops both singers and audiences through the performance of operatic repertoire. For eleven 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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