LSM Newswire

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Opera Lyra Ottawa Presents Operantics! at the Canadian Museum of Civilization

What do a donkey, a dog, a cat and a rooster have in common?? Come to Operantics! and find out! Join the members of the Opera Lyra Ottawa Studio as they embark on the adventurous road to Bremen to become Town Musicians. Excerpts from this new opera will be presented in FREE 30-minute concerts on Saturday, December 5 at the Canadian Museum of Civilization.

When: Saturday, December 5
Where: The Theatre of the Children’s Museum, Canadian Museum of Civilization
Times: 10am, 11am, 1pm and 2 pm

Commissioned by Opera Lyra Ottawa, The Bremen Town Musicians is composed by renowned Canadian opera composer Dean Burry. It is the story of a donkey, a dog, a cat and a rooster, who, mistreated by their masters, decide to run away. They meet up on the road to Bremen and decide to become ‘town musicians’. Along the way they spot a lighted cottage – inside is a robber enjoying his ill-gotten gains. The four ‘musicians’ decide to perform for him in hopes of gaining food. Instead, their ‘music’ terrifies the robber into abandoning the cottage. The animals take possession of the cottage, eat and settle in for the night. After a time, the thief returns. He mistakes the cat’s eyes for coals of fire and the cat, startled, scratches his face, the donkey kicks him, the dog bites him, and the rooster squawks frantically at him. The animals make the robber repent. The robber decides to abandon the cottage to the strange creatures who have taken possession of it. The ‘Bremen town musicians’ live there happily for the rest of their days.

Opera Lyra Ottawa Opera Studio: The studio is at the heart of OLO’s education program. This major stepping stone provides professional training for the next generation of Canadian singers, stage directors, conductors / repetiteurs and stage managers for professional operatic careers. Members have the opportunity to perform on stage and take master-classes from renowned opera singers.

In addition to Operantics!, members of the studio will perform the complete opera The Bremen Town Musicians at the NAC Fourth Stage on December 11, 12 and 13. This same production toured to select schools in the National Capital Region in the fall.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Opera Lyra Ottawa Presents Eugene Onegin by Pietr Ilych Tchaikovsky

Opera Lyra Ottawa Presents Eugene Onegin by Pietr Ilych Tchaikovsky

April 4 – 11, 2009 Southam Hall National Arts Centre

March 24 2009. Opera Lyra Ottawa (OLO) presents for the first time Tchaikovsky’s great romantic opera Eugene Onegin April 4, 6, 8 and 11, 2009 at the National Arts Centre. Exquisite singing, beautiful dancing and gorgeous music will transport audiences to 19th century St. Petersburg.

For this production, Opera Lyra Ottawa has brought together a stellar cast of Canadian and international singers led by baritone Russell Braun in the title role. With a voice that has been described as thrilling, glorious, powerful, elegant, soft-grained, and spine-tingling, Russell first sang the role of Onegin in San Francisco in 2004. Russian-born soprano Inna Dukach takes on the role of Tatiana, a beautiful and innocent young woman who falls passionately in love with Onegin. Acclaimed for her “appealing emotional vulnerability”…colourful shaping and shading” (Opera News), this is Inna Dukach’s first appearance with OLO. Richard Troxell brings an “intensity and sensitivity” to the role of Lenski who, through jealousy, is doomed to die by Onegin’s hand in a duel.

As Olga, “radiant and rich-voiced” Ottawa-based mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Turnbull is doomed to lose her lover Lenski in a flirtatious moment with Onegin. New Yorker Peter Volpe, who appears as Prince Gremin, was “especially impressive in both voice and stage presence” (Opera) in the same role in the recent Vancouver Opera presentation of Eugene Onegin. Highly appreciated for her dramatic stage presence, Polish mezzo-soprano Agnes Zwierko, makes her Canadian debut as Madame Larina bringing to the role a “dark and homogenous voice…and a well-established stage authority” ( Rounding out this superb cast are Emilia Boteva in the role of the maidservant Filippyevna, Hugues Saint-Gelais as Triquet, and Alexander Savtchenko as Zaretski.

Stage Director Joseph Bascetta, choreographer Jean Leger, and lighting designer Louise Guinand, using Neil Patel’s set design from the new Vancouver Opera, will recreate the luxury and elegance of 19th century Russian high society on the stage of the NAC’s Southam Hall. Opera Lyra Ottawa’s Artistic Director and Conductor, Tyrone Paterson, will lead the National Arts Centre Orchestra and OLO’s Chorus.

Sung in Russian, with English and French Surtitles, performances of Eugene Onegin will begin at 8:00 pm. Pre-opera chats are presented free of charge to all patrons one-hour prior to each performance in the lobby. These offer an opportunity to learn more about the composer, context and historical significance of the opera.

The Story

Based on the epic Russian novel by Alexander Pushkin, Eugene Onegin is the story of a melancholic young aristocrat whose restlessness and yearning for meaning in his life leads to heartbreak and death.

Through his best friend Lenski, Onegin is introduced to the young and innocent Tatiana who is captivated by this aloof and serious young man. She professes her love for him in a letter but is rejected by Onegin who admits he was touched by her letter but adds that he would tire quickly of marriage – the most he can offer is a brother’s love. Crushed, Tatiana rushes away.

Some months later, Onegin and Lenski attend a party in honour of Tatiana’s name day given by Madame Larina at her country estate. Onegin dances with Tatiana but is clearly bored by his fellow guests and their provincial sensibilities. To get back at Lenski for dragging him to the party, Onegin dances with Tatiana’s sister Olga, who is betrothed to his friend. In a fit of jealousy, Lenski challenges Onegin to a duel. Although both men privately admit they would prefer to be laughing together than fighting a duel, pride does not allow them to back down; the duel is fought and Lenski is fatally shot.

Several years later, Onegin finds himself once again in St. Petersburg at a magnificent ball where he encounters Tatiana. She is no longer the girl he knew – she is now a confident, poised woman, married to Prince Gremin. This time it is Onegin who rights an impassioned letter, begging for Tatiana’s love. In a meeting at the Gremin’s town house, she finds the courage to reject him. As his pleas grow more ardent, Tatiana rushes from the room, leaving a distraught Onegin behind.

Background Notes:

In this era of email, Twitter, and text messaging, modern means of communication are seemingly endless—we are overloaded with digital ephemera—but in the nineteenth century the letter was the primary means of sharing news and gossip, and of cultivating friendships. So it is not surprising that letters play a pivotal role in our understanding of both the personal and public life of Tchaikovsky, especially in the writing of Eugene Onegin. It was in the late spring of 1877, during a social visit, that contralto Yelizaveta Lavrovskaya casually suggested to Tchaikovsky that he might write an opera based on Pushkin's beloved novel. This was a timely notion as he had been considering composing a vocal work on Tatiana’s letter scene for some time. He enlisted the assistance of his friend Konstantin Shilovsky to help him construct the libretto and together the two of them worked out a text that maintains a great deal of Pushkin’s original verses. Tchaikovsky exploited the episodic nature of the novel—indeed he titled his work a lyric drama rather than an opera—offering up juxtaposed vignettes of pivotal moments in these lives for our scrutiny. Though flying in the face of dramatic conventions, the resulting work espouses the contemporary penchant for realism in opera, the Russian equivalent of Verdi’s Traviata and Massenet’s Manon.

Ticket Information:

Single tickets, from $39 to $165, are available from the NAC box office and all Ticketmaster locations (service fees will be applied). Visit Ticketmaster online or call 613-755-1111. DISCOUNTS: For groups of 10 or more please call Opera Lyra Ottawa at 613-233-9200 and ask about our group rates. Students with a valid Live Rush™ membership card may buy up to 2 tickets per performance at a discounted price. Tickets may be purchased online or in person at the NAC Box Office on the day of the performance from 2 to 6 pm. More information is available at

About Opera Lyra Ottawa

Opera Lyra Ottawa is a not-for-profit organization with the mandate to produce and present opera in the National Capital Region of the highest quality and to promote opera as an art form, making it accessible to as large a segment of the population as possible through community outreach and education. Wherever possible, Opera Lyra Ottawa is committed to encourage, nurture and support Canadian artists. For more information please visit

Opera Lyra Ottawa gratefully acknowledges the generous support of our sponsors who make the 2008-2009 season possible. We thank Bell, Season Sponsor, as well as our other Principal Sponsors: Bel-Air Lexus, Rio Tinto Alcan, Sun Life Financial, and Ottawa Citizen; Major Sponsors: Arosa Suites Hotel, Custom Printers, Kolegram and Handa Travel. Opera Lyra would also like to thank the following agencies for their support: the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and the City of Ottawa.

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Celebrate 25 Years of Passion with Opera Lyra Ottawa

Celebrate 25 Years of Passion


Opera Lyra Ottawa

Ottawa, ON — Opera Lyra Ottawa’s spectacular 2009-2010 25th anniversary season features world-renowned tenor Michael Schade, appearing on the OLO stage for the first time, in Massenet’s romantic tragedy Manon, Ottawa’s own sensational Shannon Mercer takes on the role of Pamina in the season opener The Magic Flute, and the brilliant Greer Grimsley will make his OLO debut as Macbeth. An additional highlight of the season is the outstanding OLO Chorus and the internationally celebrated National Arts Centre Orchestra in all three operas.

25th Anniversary Season

The Magic Flute by Mozart

September 12, 14, 16 & 19, 2009 at the National Arts Centre in Southam Hall

Macbeth by Verdi

March 27, 29, 31 & April 3, 2010 at the National arts Centre in Southam Hall

An opera-in-concert

Manon by Massenet

May 26, 2010 at the National Arts Centre in Southam Hall

OLO Opera Studio Production

The Bremen Town Musicians, Dean Burry

December 12 & 13 2009 at the National Arts Centre in the Fourth Stage

The season opens on September 12 with one of Mozart’s most beloved operas, The Magic Flute. OLO is pleased to welcome Pinchas Zukerman to the roster as Guest Conductor for this production. The spectacular set and costumes from the San Francisco Opera were designed by celebrated visual artist David Hockney for La Scala.

In March 2010, OLO presents Verdi’s great opera Macbeth for the first time. This tale of passion, murder, revenge and madness stars Greer Grimsley in the title role, Brenda Harris as Lady Macbeth and Andrew Funk as Banquo.

Canadian superstar tenor Michael Schade comes to the Capital for one-night-only as Des Grieux, when OLO brings Manon, Massenet’s heart-breaking story of love, betrayal and death to the NAC. Presented on May 26, this concert production features an all-Canadian cast including Nathalie Paulin as Manon, Brett Polegato as Lescaut, and Theodore Baerg as De Bretigny, and is produced in collaboration with the National Arts Centre. Opera Lyra Ottawa wishes to thank the National Arts Centre for its generous assistance of our 25th Anniversary performance.

Continuing its annual tradition of presenting Opera for Young Audiences, OLO has commissioned celebrated Canadian composer Dean Burry to create The Bremen Town Musicians, with a donkey, a dog, a cat and a rooster in the starring roles! This sparkling opera features artists of the OLO Opera Studio.

The 2009-2010 season also includes special event favourites such as the Italian Garden Party in July, the mid-winter Black and White Opera Soiree, the spring DIVA Auction and numerous opera-inspired activities presented throughout the year by our OLO Opera Studio artists.

Subscription and Ticket Information

Subscriptions: Start at $79 for Opera Lyra Ottawa’s 2009-2010 season are available beginning May 1, 2009; existing subscribers can renew until April 17, 2009. For more information, call Opera Lyra Ottawa at (613) 233-9200 ext. 221.

Single tickets, starting at $40 go on sale July 1, 2009 for The Magic Flute and September 12 for Macbeth and Manon. Visit or call (613) 233-9200 ext 221.

About Opera Lyra Ottawa

Opera Lyra Ottawa has been an integral part of the Ottawa’s music community for 25 years. During this time close to 500,000 opera lovers have enjoyed over 100 operas featuring 800 artists and a myriad of other thrilling musical activities. OLO’s Opera Studio is a nationally respected advanced training program for emerging opera singers, conductors, repetiteurs, directors and stage managers, blending professional instruction and practical experience. Central to OLO’s vision is the belief in creating and developing the audiences of tomorrow. Each year, the company offers a variety of activities to introduce children, youth and families to opera.

Bell has been a dedicated and committed Opera Lyra Ottawa sponsor for 19 years and we are delighted that they will be onboard again as our Season Sponsor for the 25th Anniversary season.

Opera Lyra Ottawa gratefully acknowledges the generous support of our sponsors for the 2008-2009 season. We thank Bell, Season Sponsor, as well as our other Principal Sponsors: Bel-Air Lexus, Rio Tinto, Sun Life Financial, and Ottawa Citizen; Major Sponsors: Arosa Suites Hotel, Custom Printers, Kolegram, Handa Travel, CBC/Radio-Canada and Couleur FM; and Key Sponsor Bombardier. Opera Lyra would also like to thank the following agencies for their support: the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the City of Ottawa and the Ontario Arts Foundation.

Opera Lyra would like to thank Michael Potter for his continued generous support of the Young People’s Opera Matinee program.

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