Vancouver Opera Festival brings Fairytales & Fables

Vancouver Opera has revealed details for the third edition of its annual Festival.  Themed Fairytales and Fables, Vancouver Opera has curated nine days of voice, music, theatre and visual arts for all ages.

The Festival opens on April 27th with performances of the mainstage operas. Rossini’s much-loved La Cenerentola (Cinderella) kicks off the day with a 2pm matinee at the Vancouver Playhouse. Gounod’s masterpiece, Faust will be at 7:30pm at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. The celebration continues with a series of programs, panels and performances daily until May 5th.

Festival highlights include the world premiere of Brian Current’s The River of Light in co-production with the Vancouver Bach Choir on May 3 for one performance only. One of Canada’s outstanding composers, Brian Current conceived this large-scale oratorio for chorus, soloists and orchestra in a multi-movement composition.

On April 28th,  from 10am to 5pm, the Vancouver Opera invites audiences of all ages to its Festival Open House; a full day of free community stage performances, workshops and activities. Watch a live circus spectacular from CircusWest at šx???ex?n Xwtl’a7shn (formerly Queen E Theatre Plaza), take part in a backstage tour of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, enjoy performances by the Roaming Diva, visit the Patio Bar, join talks and panel discussions and participate in VOF ArtWalks. 

The CBC Chamber Music Series returns to CBC Studio 700. These short, original chamber music concerts performed by members of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra and Chorus and invited guests feature music inspired by Fairytales and Fables. Artists will include the Bergmann Piano Duo, members of the Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists Program, and members of the Standing Wave Ensemble.

Vancouver Opera presents Opera Off Site on May 1st ; pop-up performances at the Main Street Brewing Company and a screening of the 1926 black and white film adaptation of Faust at the Fox Cabaret featuring live accompaniment and a special presentation of Fenlon & Fenlon featuring soprano Rachel Fenlon.

“Our Festival is evolving to be an inclusive event showcasing the finest work of Vancouver Opera as well as many of our community partners” says Vancouver Opera General Director, Kim Gaynor. “We hope to make opera more accessible by breaking down the perceived barriers to attending and inviting everyone to take part in the celebration.”

The Vancouver Opera Festival Fairytales and Fables takes place at various venues April 27th to May 5th, 2019. For full details and ticket information visit

The Tenors – Christmas Together Tour

The Tenors – Queen Elizabeth Theatre – November 24, 2017

The Tenors are inviting fans to spend “Christmas Together” with them as they tour North America this season.  Friday night, the trio brought their smooth vocal style to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre for an evening of Holiday cheer in support of their new Christmas Together album.  Filled with Christmas carols, classic holiday season favourites and some new tunes, the 2 hour show brought the Christmas spirit to the audience.

Joined on stage with the BC Girls and BC Boys Choirs for some Christmas joy on some tracks.  Add-in many of Fraser Walter’s family and friends being in the audience for extra emotion, especially on his solo. Smiles were all around as Victor, Clifton and Fraser ventured into the audience to play a game of complete the lyrics with fans, and found Frasers young nephew to adorably join in the reindeer games.  The evening had a feel of a sing-a-long as all the songs were mostly tried and true favourites and The Tenors invited fans to join in on some carols.  Even the new track from Christmas Together, Santa’s Wish (Teach the World), is based on the familiar, “I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing”.

The Tenors’ Christmas Together Album is available now and the Tour continues throughout North America, with a stop in New York next week, to appear on NBC’s Christmas In Rockefeller Center, airing November 29th.

And…Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas…

Kinky Boots on Tour

Broadway Across Canada’s Kinky Boots wrapped it’s tour stop in Vancouver this weekend selling out most shows at Queen Elizabeth Theatre.  The Tony Award winning musical, adapted from the 2005 British film of the same name, has a timeless theme of diversity and inclusiveness that stands out as topical in the current political environment.

J Harrison Ghee as Lola | photo: Matthew Murphy


Loosely based on a real-life story, Kinky Boots tells the story of Charlie Price, (Curt Hansen) the 4th Generation in Price & Son shoe factory, who longs to break away from the family business and his father’s expectations to live his own life with fiance Nicola in London.  When his Father passes, Charlie is forced to accept the realities of being responsible for the livelihoods of the small town factory’s staff, many of whom he has known his whole life.   In a chance meeting with Lola (J. Harrison Ghee), a London drag queen, he falls upon an unusual niche market that he hopes will save the factory and the employees.
After accepting that footwear is in his blood, the pressures of being responsible for the factory workers take their toll on his relationships.  Both Charlie and Lola try to shake off the expectations placed upon them by society and their fathers, leading them to the inevitable epiphany that moves the musical’s story along to it’s rousing climax.

The book by Tony award winner, Harvey Fierstein, brings plenty of laughs and heart without being too heavy handed with the production’s theme.  The contrast between the Price and Son factory folk and Lola and her troupe of drag queens provide the opportunity to enforce the message of accepting other as they are. Cindy Lauper’s music and lyrics, much like her own pop career, swing from quiet heartfelt ballads to over-the-top dance-pop production numbers.  Lola and the drag queens give Director / Choreographer Jerry Mitchell the obvious opportunity for colourful over the top dance numbers but these were almost expected from the performers. It is the factory pieces or when two sides of the cast combine that really awoke the audience, seeing the contract of the drably garbed staff keeping up with the long legged, high-kicking queens.

While Kinky Boots has closed in Vancouver, it continues on Tour around Canada and the US.  It was also announced this week, that J Harrison Ghee will be making his Broadway debut when he takes over the role of Lola in the New York production in March.

If you can catch Kinky Boots on tour, Broadway or in London’s West End, I hope you’ll come away with a bit of joy in your heart.

A Wicked Lottery! A Chance to Win $25 Tickets

Most people know that the renowned musical Wicked is playing at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver until June 29th.  This touring production lives up the hype of being one of Broadway’s most acclaimed and popular shows during its 10 year history and is definitely worth seeing.
While tickets may be out of the budget for some, Wicked offers a way to help. The Wicked lottery happens every performance allowing a lucky few the opportunity to see the musical at a vastly discounted price of $25.  Show up at the theatre 2 hours before any performance to enter your name, then 30 minutes later a select number of names will be drawn allowing the opportunity to purchase up to two tickets in the front rows of the orchestra at the $25 price. The number of available tickets varies depending each performance and number of names depends on how many people take both tickets or just one.
While the lottery is a great opportunity and is well known to many, there is a secondary opportunity that’s nearly as good of a deal. For those people whose names are not drawn for the $25 tickets, they are offered the chance to purchase top tier tickets at a reduced $40 rate.  On the day that I tried for the lottery, I didn’t ‘win’ but did purchase the $40 tickets and received 2 tickets in the 6th row of the orchestra, a savings of $200 over the face value.  These seats were even better than the front row seats (which were almost too close) for not much more than the lottery.
So if you’re looking for a great deal and have the 30 minutes to show up at the theatre earlier, try the Wicked lottery.

The Tenors bring The Perfect Gift to Vancouver

The Tenors – Queen Elizabeth Theatre – December 2, 2013

The Tenors returned to Vancouver for the start of their latest tour, The Perfect Gift.  The Christmas show, included Holiday classics from their Holiday Album “The Perfect Gift” as well as their latest “Lead With Your Heart”.  The stage at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre was filled with performers as the quartet was joined onstage by an string & brass orchestra as well as the University Singers from UBC, in addition to their 5-piece backing band.  The sold out auditorium was filled with applause as the group regaled the audience with stories of their exciting year, professionally and personally. For Fraser and Clifton, the BC natives, the show was more personal as they welcomed many family and friends in the audience.  While the group’s magnificent vocals blend together perfectly they are also each capable of holding their own when they take turns on solo tunes. Remigio leading it off with a tune dedicated to his father, and Victor wrapped up the solos with a beautiful rendition of “Con ti Partiro/Time To Say Goodbye” showcasing his operatic range.The Tenors_publicity image
While a few lighting cues and shaking video were slightly distracting in the first act, the technical glitches smoothed out as the second act rolled on. The mix of Holiday tunes, standards and newer songs made the over 2 hour show (in two halves with a 20 minute intermission) keep a quick pace and the singers’ engaging personalities made sure the audience felt welcome and included and they returned the sentiment with multiple standing ovations to close the night.

The Perfect Gift Tour rolls on across  Canada and northern USA:

03Dec13 Paramount Theater – Seattle, WA
09Dec13 Community Auditorium – Thunder Bay, ON
16Dec13 Sony Centre for Performing Arts – Toronto, ON
18Dec13 Duke Energy Centre – Raleigh, NC
19Dec13 The Colosseum at Caesars Windor – Windsor, ON
23Dec13 National Arts Centre – Ottawa, ON

Follow The Tenors tour on Facebook and Twitter @TenorsMusic

Annual Vancouver Christmas Market returns for 2013

It’s hard to believe that it’s nearly time to start thinking about the Holidays, in just one month the 4th Annual Vancouver Christmas Market reopens for 2014.From November 22nd to December 24th, 2013, Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza is transformed into a festive wonderland for the holiday season. Now with two extra days, the Vancouver Christmas Market brings the old-world tradition, cultural festivities of a traditional German Christmas market, to the heart of downtown Vancouver.

Over its 4 year history, the Vancouver Christmas Market has become known as one of British Columbia’s most delightful holiday attractions.   The public eagerly awaits the festive experience, more than 45 traditional wooden huts decorated with thousands of twinkling white lights, surround the Christmas carousel, all showcasing an assortment of vendors selling authentic food, handcrafted decorations, sweets and gifts. There is always something new to experience at the Market; by day or night, this is the perfect place to immerse yourself in a beautiful, festive atmosphere that is sure to get you in the holiday spirit.

With any paid admission, visitors receive a Season’s Pass allowing them to enjoy the Market repeatedly throughout the 33-day event. In addition, visitors arriving early on weekdays not only beat the crowds but receive 2-for-1 lunch admission, making the Market the perfect place to grab a delicious midday meal with colleagues and friends, and don’t forget to enjoy a cup of authentic Glühwein while strolling the market.

The 4th Annual Vancouver  Christmas Market is open from 11am to 9pm daily from November 22nd to December 24th, in the plaza at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Downtown Vancouver.
Admission for adults (13+): $6 – Mon-Fri 4pm-9pm & Weekends 11am-9pm, Specials $3 admission Mon-Fri 11am-4pm. Youth (7-12): $3 Children (under 6): Free
Carousel Rides: $3/ticket; $10/ 5 pack.

Follow the Vancouver Christmas Market on Twitter @VanChristmas, and Instagram @VanChristmas


Heart & Friends are coming Home For The Holidays


Over 30 years ago, Seattle born sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson began playing music around Vancouver and sowed the seeds of what would become the legendary rock act Heart.  Recently inducted to the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, Ann and Nancy Wilson have always been ground-breakers, paving the way for a generation of female rockers the sisters were the first to write, record and perform their own music. In 2012 the band was very busy, releasing a greatest hits anthology, Strange Euphoria as well as their 14th studio album, Fanatic which featured three hit singles: “Fanatic”, “Walking Good”, featuring Sarah McLachlan, and “Dear Old America”. Ann and Nancy also hit the NY Times Best Sellers List with their memoir Kicking & Dreaming: A Story Of Heart, Soul, And Rock And Roll

Now the band returns to the city of its birth for a first-ever Canadian, holiday show, and they’re bringing along some surprise friends to help them celebrate.  Heart & Friends: Home For The Holidays concert is coming to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on December 13, 2013; tickets are on sale now.