LSM Newswire

Friday, September 25, 2009

Vancouver Opera Announces Honorary Chairs for Golden Anniversary Concert & Gala

Grade 5 student joins legendary mezzo-soprano and founding father of opera in Western Canada to celebrate 50 years of Vancouver Opera

Vancouver, BC ~ Vancouver Opera announced today the appointment of three Honorary Chairs for an important event in its Golden Anniversary Season. Joining Founding Artistic Director Dr. Irving Guttman, CM and Canadian opera legend Judith Forst, OBC will be 10-year-old Justin Woolfrey, a Grade 5 student at Glenview Elementary School in Prince George.

Reflecting the past, present and future of VO, these Honorary Chairs will oversee the milestone Golden Anniversary Concert & Gala, a celebration of 50 years of opera in Vancouver, featuring international soloists and the VO Orchestra and Chorus in concert at the Orpheum Theatre, under the baton of Jonathan Darlington.

International stage director Dr. Irving Guttman, CM was the artistic founder of Vancouver Opera and indeed of professional opera in British Columbia and western Canada. Dr. Guttman mounted productions for VO that featured some of the greatest singers of our time, such as Plácido Domingo, Dame Joan Sutherland, James Morris and Marilyn Horne. His production of Norma, in 1963, starring Ms. Sutherland and Ms. Horne in their role débuts, is the stuff of legend. The conductor of that production, Richard Bonynge, returns to VO in November to conduct this season’s mainstage opening production of Norma, starring Hasmik Papian.

Having directed the very first VO performance in 1960, Dr. Guttman will be on hand to celebrate the Golden Anniversary of the company he helped create.

Internationally acclaimed singer and Port Moody resident Judith Forst, OBC, graduated from Vancouver Opera’s Young Singer training program and went on to become one of the world’s greatest coloratura mezzo-sopranos. Ms. Forst most recently appeared on the VO stage as Herodias in Salome. In 2010, she will create the role of Irene in the world premiere of VO’s commissioned opera Lillian Alling, by John Estacio and John Murrell.

Ten year old Justin Woolfrey is in Grade Five at Glenview Elementary School in Prince George. Having attended a recent Vancouver Opera In Schools performance of Jack Pine, a new opera by Veda Hille on an environmental theme, he appreciates the importance of arts education and is excited and proud to be an Honorary Chair for the Golden Anniversary Season.

“Children need a chance to learn about all kinds of things, especially the things they have not heard of – and to enjoy the good things that learning can bring,” comments Justin. “You never know what is inside a person until they have an opportunity and this is an opportunity for me to share who I am with others and encourage other kids to always give it your best shot, no matter what.”

The Golden Anniversary Concert & Gala takes place on Friday, November 6, 2009 at 7:00pm. beginning with a concert at the Orpheum Theatre. Concert tickets are available online at www.vancouveropera.ca or from the VO Ticket Centre at 604-683-0222. Gala Packages, which include the Concert as well as an exclusive Reception and Gala Dinner at the historic Commodore Ballroom, are available through the VO Ticket Centre.

Full details of the Golden Anniversary Concert & Gala will follow shortly.

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