Vancouver Opera Announces Transition to Festival Model in Spring 2017

New Concentrated Festival Experience Ensures Increased Audience Awareness and Continued Fiscal Stability

VANCOUVER, June 16, 2015 /CNW/ - Vancouver Opera and its Board of Directors today announced the company will transition to an annual festival model in spring 2017. The new model will offer a concentrated, intensified cultural experience for audiences of all generations with more than 20 opera performances and events held annually over a three-week period. The Vancouver Opera Festival will replace the company's current production schedule.

"During Vancouver Opera's 55-year history, our city has grown increasingly vibrant and diverse, and is internationally renowned for its festivals and celebrations. By transforming our core programming into a festival format, we are evolving with our city and continuing to build our reputation for artistic excellence and innovation. This carefully considered move signals an exciting, forward-looking repositioning of our role at the centre of cultural life in Vancouver," said James Wright, General Director of Vancouver Opera.

"The Vancouver Opera Festival promises to add new energy and new voices to the city's entertainment calendar with a repertory mix that will include traditional opera favourites and large-scale masterpieces, contemporary classics, and world premieres. We will announce complete programming details soon, but I am very pleased to confirm today that 2017's inaugural Festival will launch with an innovative new production of Verdi's magnificent OteIIo, an opera we have not produced in more than 30 years."

Commencing in April 2017, the Vancouver Opera Festival will present three major core productions at the festival hub - located at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Vancouver Playhouse Theatre, and its adjoining plaza spaces.

The new format will also include a unique mix of experiences for audiences, such as collaborative performances in other venues, animated  lobby and plaza spaces, pre- and post-performance events, special programming for young people and families, complementary workshops and forums, and a number of free events - all planned to appeal to opera lovers old and new. The diverse offerings of the Vancouver Opera Festival will ignite the imagination of the city's cultural community and bring increased awareness of opera to Vancouverites in an accessible, engaging environment.

"In making this transition, the company is adapting to fluctuating demand and changing demographics in our community," said Pascal Spothelfer, Chair of Vancouver Opera's board of directors. "Our traditional audience is diminishing, and the ways in which our new audiences enjoy cultural experiences are shifting. Vancouver Opera is staying ahead of the curve by evolving in response to these changes. By devoting resources to a concentrated, intensified cultural experience for our communities, we will bring increased awareness of opera to Vancouverites in an accessible and spirited festival atmosphere, while reducing annual operating expenses by 10 per cent."

In addition to the Vancouver Opera Festival, Vancouver Opera will offer enriching, opera-focused programming year-round. The company will be expanding the Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists Program, from four singers to seven, and will increase its calendar of public appearances. The singers, and their piano accompanist and stage director, will give performances during the winter months at the O'Brian Centre for Vancouver Opera and at venues in Metro Vancouver. Vancouver Opera is also working on several additional exciting opportunities, including a family-friendly, pre-holiday opera production at Vancouver Playhouse Theatre in November 2016 and a co-presentation of a provocative opera adaptation with PuSh International Performing Arts Festival in January 2017.

"During changing times, opera companies thrive by making bold and productive adjustments in response to the realities in their communities," said Marc Scorca, President and CEO, Opera America. "Vancouver Opera is to be applauded for their forward-looking approach and resourceful planning."

For more information about Vancouver Opera's transition to the 2017 Festival, please visit vancouveropera.ca

ABOUT VANCOUVER OPERA

Founded in 1958, Vancouver Opera is the second largest opera company in Canada. It is regarded worldwide for its fine productions; for its country-leading education programs, which have reached more than 1.6 million children and their families in more than 40 years; for its innovative and award-winning community programs; and for forging groundbreaking cross-cultural creative partnerships that have brought opera to new generations of Canadians.

SOURCE Vancouver Opera

Image with caption: "Vancouver Opera (CNW Group/Vancouver Opera)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150616_C8679_PHOTO_EN_18036.jpg

For further information: Laura Murray, T.6o4.558.2200, C. 6o4.418.2998, lmurray@lauramurraypr.com

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