Opera in Halifax this summer!

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!

Nina Scott-Stoddart
Artistic Director

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.

Halifax Summer Opera Festival 2022 — Gluck’s Armide

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.

To apply:

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!

Nina Scott-Stoddart
Artistic Director, HSOF

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

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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