Opera Lyra’s bold, new expanded season for 2015-2016

Reviewed by Capital Critics Circle

General Director Jeep Jeffries and Interim Artistic Director Kevin Mallon proudly introduce Opera Lyra’s bold, new expanded season of classic and contemporary works for 2015-2016.

Opera Lyra’s 2015-2016 season includes two updated classic operas at the National Arts Centre (NAC) in Southam Hall and two new partnerships to bring Ottawa additional contemporary and classic productions in smaller venues. In addition, Opera Lyra’s fall show for families and students tackles bullying through song and audience participation.  This new, enhanced season includes four subscription packages and all four operas can be seen for as little as $162.  The 2015-2106 season brochure, highlight video, calendar of special events and subscription and ticket information are online at operalyra.ca.

1.) The new season begins with wit and charm in September, 2015 with an updated production of The Barber of Seville, Rossini’s great comic opera. Picture it – Seville in the 40`s – on a movie set. Rosina is a rising starlet cast in a movie about Carmen.  Figaro is the studio stylist and Bartolo the domineering studio head. Mayhem ensues! This all-Canadian Cast is led by mezzo-soprano Marion Newman as Rosina, baritone Joshua Hopkins as Figaro, tenor Isaiah Bell as Count Almaviva, baritone Peter McGillivray as Bartolo, bass-baritone Giles Tomkins as Basilio, baritone Ben Covey as Fiorello and, soprano Maghan McPhee as Berta. 

The Opera Lyra Chorus is led by Laurence Ewashko. The National Arts Centre Orchestra (NACO) conducted by Interim Artistic Director, Kevin Mallon. Curtain is at 8:00pm. Pre-opera chat for ticket holders in English at 7:00pm on September 26, 30; October 3 and September 28 in French, Mezzanine, NAC.

Four nights only. September 26, 28, 30; October 3, 2015. Southam Hall, NAC

2.) As part of a bold new initiative to bring contemporary Canadian works to the stage,

Opera Lyra partners with an emerging and dynamic company from Toronto. In October 2015, Essential Opera will present a double-bill of new, one-act operas by young Canadian composters; Etiquette and Regina.

Etiquette, by Monica Pearce, imagines an evening with the original Miss Manners, Emily Post, the acerbic New York critic and satirist Dorothy Parker and, Lady Nancy Astor, who was known for her saucy wit and social commentary. Together they debate the values of politeness and perfection against the harsher facts of life. 

Regina, by Elisha Denburg, is based on the dramatic, true story of Regina Jonas and her quest to become an ordained rabbi in Berlin, 1935. The story of her success, arrest and deportation to a concentration camp dies with her until a doctoral student, accidently uncovers the story, while searching for her own answers.

Three shows only. October 16, 17, 18, 2015. Great Canadian Theatre Company

3.) In March, 2016, Opera Lyra presents a new multi-media production of Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio. Giving opera modern-day relevance, this production is set in a jail in Iraq, 2003. A courageous wife, Leonore, risks everything to rescue her husband, Florestan, before he is executed. Disguising herself as a man – Fidelio – she is hired by the men who imprisoned her husband for his political beliefs. It’s a tale of personal sacrifice, heroism and triumph.  This Canadian cast is led by soprano Ileana Montalbetti as Leonore, bass-baritone Thomas Goerz as Rocco, soprano Virginia Hatfield as Marzelline, bass-baritone Giles Tomkins as Don Pizarro, baritone John Avey as Don Fernando. (Florestan TBD)

The Opera Lyra Chorus is led by Laurence Ewashko. Interim Artistic Director Kevin Mallon will conduct the National Arts Centre Orchestra. Curtain is at 8:00pm. Pre-opera chat for ticket holders in English at 7:00pm on March 19, 26 and in French on March 23, Mezzanine, NAC.

Three shows only at the NAC in Southam Hall. March 19, 23, 26, 2016


(Photograph #3 – Fidelio – Manitoba Opera – R. Tinker – Ileana Montalbetti, David Pomeroy)

4.) In May 2016, Opera Lyra presents L’isola disabitata for three spectacular performances starring Opera Lyra’s Studio of Young Artists and the Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra.  Haydn’s poignant opera tells of keeping the faith despite adversity. Constanza and her younger sister are stranded on a deserted island. She is filled with despair, believing her husband abandoned her. It takes thirteen years for her husband and his young companion to escape their captors and return to the island.  While husband and wife struggle to reunite; young love blossoms. 

The Studio of Young Artists and the Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra will be led by conductor Kevin Mallon.

Three shows only at Dominion-Chalmers United Church. May 27, 28, 29, 2016

Also in October 2015, Opera Lyra is proud to present Operation Superpower. This dynamic show for families and elementary school students features a team of singers and an actor who, through song and audience participation, help young people draw on their own superpowers to overcome bullying.

Six matinee shows. Tickets sold by Opera Lyra. October 24, 25, 31, 2015 at 1:00pm & 3:00pm. Arts Court Theatre


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