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Open Space: Opera in the 21st Century - Orchestra Musicians

Orchestra Musicians

Program archived

Program Information

Photo credit: Donald Lee


Open Space is a one-of-a-kind performance-based collaborative training experience for emerging opera professionals that truly challenges the conventions of opera performance, production, and design. The focus of Open Space is to impart the skills of tomorrow to the young opera professionals of today. Open to singers, musicians, dancers, administrators, conductors and stage directors, this is truly a unique opportunity to work with diverse artists in a multi-disciplinary program. The stellar faculty is comprised of Against the Grain artists and other internationally recognized professionals from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines. The program features the unique opportunity for participants to meet and work with Alexander Neef, general director of the Canadian Opera Company, during concentrated career development sessions.

What does the program offer?

The program will accept musicians for the final 3 weeks of the 5-week intensive residency devoted to practical skill extension and development, while participating in rehearsals and performances of a new production of Canadian Claude Vivier's Chamber Opera, Kopernikus directed by program director Joel Ivany. In addition, the program will feature a semi-staged chamber music program featuring great vocal works from the 20th and 21st century.

Banff Centre's artists will participate in informal conversations, rehearsals, hikes, public performances, and more. All programs include cross-disciplinary collaborations with other Banff Centre artists and programs to influence the development and interpretation of new work. Programming will create rich collaborative relationships and stimulate intense experiences in music-making.

Each week will balance rehearsals, regular performance opportunities in the community, and collaborative skill exchange between faculty and artists.

Production: Kopernikus - Claude Vivier (1948-1983)

In this ‘mystic tale’ the central character Agni – named after a Hindu deity – calls on historical and mythical figures: Lewis Carroll, Merlin, a witch, the Queen of the Night, a blind prophet, an old monk, Tristan, Isolde, Mozart, the Lord of the Waters, Copernicus and his mother. 

Is Agni merely dreaming that they are present? Are they no more than figments of her imagination? Or are they memories of the human archetypes that accompanied her during her ritual initiation?  Kopernikus was written by arguably Canada’s greatest composer Claude Vivier and will explore themes of loss, longing and reconciliation.

Building on the three years of staged chamber music, Open Space goes even further breaking down the traditional concert format.  We will be enhancing standard chamber music and artsong through stage direction, lighting, costuming and room arrangement.

Who should apply?

Musicians who have completed their post-secondary training and who are keen to explore working in opera and vocal repertoire in a different way. Led by Music Director Christopher Mokrzewski, the musicians role onstage will be explored as participants are staged into the production.  The program offers space for 3 clarinets, 1 oboe, 1 trumpet, 1 trombone, and 1 violin.



What's Included

Single RoomRead MoreClose

Your program fee includes a single bedroom on the Banff Centre campus for the duration of your program.

Get connected with other artists on campus and focus on your projects in a creative environment while we take care of the day-to-day essentials.

Full Flex Meal PlanRead MoreClose

Using a credit-based system to dine on campus, our flexible meal plans allow you to select meals according to your own needs during your stay.

The Full Flex meal plan includes $38 credit per day, equivalent to breakfast, lunch and dinner in Vistas Dining Room.

Performance opportunitiesRead MoreClose

This program offers opportunities to showcase your work in one of our performance venues.

Gym MembershipRead MoreClose

Your program fee includes free access to the swimming pool, climbing gym and fitness suite as well as discounted rates for classes at the Sally Borden Fitness and Recreation Centre.

Paul D. Fleck Library and ArchivesRead MoreClose

Access a wide range of publications, books, music and films in the Paul D. Fleck Library and Archives, open 6 days a week.

Box Office DiscountsRead MoreClose

Enjoy special artist rates for ticketed performances or complimentary access to events.

Participant ResourcesRead MoreClose

Enrich your experience and get to know other artists on campus by taking advantage of the activities and support provided by our Participant Resources team.

Fees & Financial Assistance

Program Fee (single room)*
$3 334.70

Application fee: $65

*Financial Aid up to 100% of the program fee may be available

If you would like to be considered, please complete the Financial Aid section when uploading your supporting materials to SlideRoom. 

Help fund your experience at Banff Centre! View a compiled list of national and international opportunities here.

How to Apply

It is important to be aware of all steps included in submitting your application.
Learn more.

Financial assistance

Be sure to complete the Financial Aid section to be eligible for financial assistance.


A one-page resume or C.V. describing academic, professional, and other relevant experience. 

Work Samples

Upload 3 samples of your artistic work.

Personal statement

A 500 word description of  why you wish to attend this program, what you hope to learn, and what impact it could have on your artistic practice.


A recent digital photograph (size: 8x10) with your name and instrument type in the file title.


Participants are selected by impartial adjudicators on the basis of their submitted material. In addition to artistic merit, consideration will be given to the likelihood that the artist's work will benefit from the program.

Applicants will be notified of their status as soon as adjudication is complete.


All programs, faculty, dates, fees, and offers of financial assistance are subject to change. Program fee is subject to applicable taxes. Non-refundable fees and deposits will be retained upon cancellation. Any other fees are refunded at the discretion of the Banff Centre. The application deadline is 11:59 p.m. Mountain Standard Time.

Contact the Registrar

For questions on preparing your application, please contact the Office of the Registrar:

Toll Free Number (Canada + USA)