LSM Newswire

Monday, March 24, 2008

Pacific Opera presents REGINA, April 17-26

REGINA
SCENTED WITH MAGNOLIA, AND A WHIFF OF ARSENIC
APRIL 17, 19, 22, 24, 26, 2008

IN BRIEF
Pacific Opera Victoria presents the Canadian premiere of an American
opera. Based on Lillian Hellman's 1939 play The Little Foxes, with a
sweeping cinematic score that blends jazz, ragtime, spirituals and blues
with hints of Copland and Bernstein, Marc Blitzstein's REGINA is
presented April 17, 19, 22, 24 and 26, 2008 at the Royal Theatre, 805
Broughton Street in Victoria.

REGINA is performed in English with a running time of approximately 2 ½
hours with one intermission. All performances begin at 8pm. Priced
between $25 and $100, tickets are available from the Royal and McPherson
Box Office at (250) 386-6121, or on-line at www.rmts.bc.ca.

Student
RUSH tickets for those presenting valid student identification are
available at the door of the theatre, 45 minutes prior to each
performance, subject to availability. RUSH tickets are $15, inclusive
of all box office charges.


IN FULL
Pacific Opera Victoria provides a fresh, new experience for audiences
with the Canadian premiere of Marc Blitztein's REGINA. Based on Lillian
Hellman's 1939 play, The Little Foxes, REGINA is presented April 17, 19,
22, 24 and 26, 2008 at Victoria's Royal Theatre.

REGINA tells the gloriously toxic tale of a nouveau riche southern
family who have fuelled their greed through cynical marriages, the
exploitation of workers, and now theft and murder. Regina Giddens and
her two brothers, Ben and Oscar Hubbard, scheme for money and power.
When her ailing husband Horace opposes her plans, Regina denies him his
heart medication and he dies of a heart attack. Their daughter
Alexandra, realizing the true cause of Horace's death, finds the
strength to leave her mother. Having double-crossed her brothers as
well, Regina is left wealthy but alone.

REGINA premiered on Broadway in 1949 to critical acclaim, but most agree
that this work really belongs in the opera house. With its sweeping
cinematic score that blends jazz, ragtime, spirituals and blues with
hints of Copland and Bernstein, REGINA is drenched in the language and
music of America circa 1900. Blitzstein himself explained, "I wanted to
write something as real musically to Americans as Italian opera is to
the Italians".

Timothy Vernon conducts this Canadian premiere, which will be recorded
by CBC Radio for future broadcast on "Saturday Afternoon at the Opera".
Maestro Vernon has received national honours for his leadership in
Canadian opera. His great musical acumen and passion have guided
Pacific Opera Victoria since the company's inception, and his unique
ability to interpret new and existing works has engaged the community
and made POV a nationally recognized symbol of artistic excellence.
Glynis Leyshon, Artistic Director of the Vancouver Playhouse and former
Artistic Director of the Belfry Theatre, returns to Victoria to direct
the production with lighting designer Alan Brodie, costume designer Erin
Macklem and choreographer Anne Wootten. Pam Johnson (POV's 1999 Don
Giovanni) is creating a set that evokes the languid nostalgia of the
American South. This made-by-POV production of REGINA will be presented
by Utah Opera in January 2009.

Tallulah Bankhead described the role of Regina Giddens, which she
created on Broadway, as "etched in acid". Her sensational performance in
the stage play The Little Foxes was followed by Bette Davis's
Oscar-nominated portrayal in the 1941 film. "Regina is a tour-de-force
for an actor and requires no less intensity from a singer", declares
Timothy Vernon, Artistic Director of Pacific Opera Victoria. "We have
contracted the finest opera actors for this Canadian premiere, many of
whom have never performed with Pacific Opera Victoria, and we are
especially delighted to announce that Kimberly Barber will make both her
role and POV debut as Regina."

Kimberly Barber has performed throughout the world and is acclaimed for
the power and beauty of her voice and the intelligence and intensity of
her acting. She performs opposite another newcomer to POV, Dean Elzinga,
as Horace Giddens. Mr. Elzinga has impressed the New York Times with
the "mesmerizing dramatic intensity" of his performances. They are
joined by Robyn Driedger-Klassen as their daughter, Alexandra, and by
Kathleen Brett (POV's Roméo et Juliette) as Birdie, Tracie Luck as
Addie, Doug MacNaughton (POV's The Tempest) and Gregory Dahl (POV's Don
Giovanni) as Ben and Oscar, Lawrence Wiliford as Leo and DeAndre Simmons
as Cal. Victoria's jazz diva, Louise Rose, makes her POV debut as the
appropriately named Jazz.

Performed in English with English surtitles, Pacific Opera Victoria's
production of REGINA runs April 17, 19, 22, 24 and 26, 2008 at the
Royal Theatre in Victoria. All performances begin at 8pm. Priced
between $25 and $100, tickets are available from the Royal and McPherson
Box Office at (250) 386-6121 or www.rmts.bc.ca.

Student RUSH tickets for those presenting valid student identification
are available at the door of the theatre, 45 minutes prior to each
performance, subject to availability. RUSH tickets are $15, inclusive
of all box office charges.

For more information, please contact Pacific Opera Victoria at (250)
385-0222 or visit www.pov.bc.ca.

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