Opera rocks the mountain for five weeks this summer at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity

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BANFF, AB, April 10, 2018 – The opera stars of today and tomorrow return to Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity for Opera in The 21st Century this June and July. Led by visionary artistic director Joel Ivany, the five week intensive residency includes cutting edge performances, collaborations, and boundary-pushing multidisciplinary experiments, culminating in two major performances at Banff Centre: Orphée+ and Candide. Tickets are on sale now at banffcentre.ca

“Every summer, I am thrilled to work with diverse artists from across the world in Banff as we try to truly challenge the conventions of opera performance, production, and design. These five weeks are intense, and the results of our work is even moreso,” said Ivany. “Join us as Banff Centre’s legacy of opera in the mountains continues this summer with performances all in one week. The diverse scale of shows provide something for everyone!”

Orphée+ (July 12 and 14) is the not-to-be-missed international co-production between Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Opera Columbus, and Against the Grain Theatre — three organizations that banded together to thrust a score written in 1762 into the 21st century with a bold orchestral approach mixing acoustic and electric instruments. Orphée+ features baroque-burlesque dancers from NYC’s Company XIV, a global virtual chorus, and international cast. Against the Grain Theatre’s fervour for pushing the boundaries of opera is on full display in this groundbreaking production that was first imagined and workshopped at Banff Centre, and will premiere in Columbus (April 20 and 22) before touring to Toronto (April 26-28) and Banff.  

Chamber Werx (July 11 and 13) deconstructs the traditional experience of opera with a staged chamber music program that highlights exceptional vocal works from the 20th and 21st century, featuring participants from Opera in the 21st Century in a multi-disciplinary performance that engages audience members in new and surprising ways over two evenings.

Don’t miss Leonard Bernstein's brilliant comic operetta Candide (July 15) featuring musicians and singers from Opera in the 21 Century alongside world-renowned Canadian baritone and Artist-in-Residence, Elliot Madore. Bernstein’s contemporary take on Voltaire’s clever lyrics and incredible characters gives audiences sing-along songs such as "Life Is Happiness Indeed”, "It Must Be So”, "You Were Dead, You Know", and "Make Our Garden Grow”.  This one night only performance takes place on the stage of the outdoor Shaw Amphitheatre in celebration of Bernstein’s 100th birthday.

And, of course, opera comes down from the mountain for #OperaPub (June 15, 22, and 29). Over three Friday nights in June, Banff Centre’s Opera Pub takes place at the Banff Legion for the 5th year in a row. Come hear some of Canada’s next great opera singers sing arias and duets from your favourite operas (in jeans and a t-shirt), all from the comfort of your bar stool. 

Opera in The 21st Century continues Banff Centre’s 69-year legacy of and commitment to training Canadian and international opera talent. Since 2014, Banff Centre alumnus and founder of Against the Grain Theatre, Ivany, has led the program’s exciting performances, while providing world-class training to the next generation of opera stars — and changing the way opera is produced and presented to audiences in Canada and beyond. The program is offered in partnership with Banff Centre, Against the Grain Theatre, and the Canadian Opera Company.

More information on the program can be found at banffcentre.ca 

About Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity: Founded in 1933, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity is a learning organization built upon an extraordinary legacy of excellence in artistic and creative development. What started as a single course in drama has grown to become the global organization leading in arts, culture, and creativity across dozens of disciplines. From our home in the stunning Canadian Rocky Mountains, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity aims to inspire everyone who attends our campus – artists, leaders, and thinkers – to unleash their creative potential and realize their unique contribution to society through cross-disciplinary learning opportunities, world-class performances, and public outreach. In 2018, Banff Centre celebrates 85 years of creative practice. banffcentre.ca

About Against the Grain Theatre: Toronto’s Against the Grain Theatre (AtG) has invigorated opera audiences since its first sold-out production to an audience of fifty guests in December of 2010. AtG revitalizes the operatic art form by presenting an eclectic array of musical works in unconventional spaces and innovative ways. Since its first season, AtG has consistently performed to standing room-only crowds, to both critical and public acclaim, and continues to introduce hundreds of new opera-goers to the art form. Founded by an adventurous collective of friends and artists, the company endeavours to be serious in intent and execution, yet fun and irreverent in spirit. Current members include Joel Ivany, Topher Mokrzewski, Jonathan MacArthur, Amanda Hadi, David Eliakis, Jason Hand, Miriam Khalil, Michaela Dickey, Brenna Hardy-Kavanagh, and Brad Cherwin. againstthegraintheatre.com

About the Canadian Opera Company: Based in Toronto, the Canadian Opera Company is the largest producer of opera in Canada and one of the largest in North America. The COC enjoys a loyal audience support-base and one of the highest attendance and subscription rates in North America. Under its leadership team of General Director Alexander Neef and Music Director Johannes Debus, the COC is increasingly capturing the opera world’s attention. The COC maintains its international reputation for artistic excellence and creative innovation by creating new productions within its diverse repertoire, collaborating with leading opera companies and festivals, and attracting the world’s foremost Canadian and international artists. The COC performs in its own opera house, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, hailed internationally as one of the finest in the world. Designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects, the Four Seasons Centre opened in 2006. coc.ca