It’s Entertainment Season – Enter to Win a Stay in Vancouver

Photo credit: Rishad Daroowala

The season of rainfall, cozy layers and colourful gumboots has arrived in Vancouver and, when the natural light dims, Vancouver takes advantage of long nights by turning up the lights, volume, and entertainment indoors and out! Shake off the precipitation, leave your umbrella at the door, and step into sparkling theatre, passionate dance, roaring sport, and concerts that rattle the floorboards.

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It’s Entertainment Season – Enter to Win a Stay in Vancouver

Things to Do in Vancouver this Weekend: Oct. 19, 2017

It may be grey outside this weekend, but under the cover of concrete, brick, wood, aquarium glass and big top tents, the city shines bright. Shed those damp layers to watch emotionally-driven contemporary dance, dazzling circus, art, and music. Or, let your mind light up the room with creativity at the Vancouver Writers’ Festival.

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Things to Do in Vancouver this Weekend: Oct. 19, 2017

Designer gives a classic a fashion-forward new look for the Vancouver Opera Festival

Caitlin Wood stars in Vancouver Opera’s The Marriage of Figaro, featuring costumes by Toronto-based designer Sid Neigum. Emily Cooper Photography.

As part of the Vancouver Opera Festival (April 28-May 13), organizers have recruited a hot young Canadian fashion designer to do the costumes for The Marriage of Figaro.

Originally from central Alberta, Sid Neigum studied fashion in Edmonton and New York before settling in Toronto after winning the Toronto Fashion Incubator’s New Labels Award. He has also won the 2014 Mercedes-Benz Start Up Award and the 2015 Swarovski Emerging Talent Award at the Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards. His work has appeared in Vogue, Vogue Italia, Women’s Wear Daily, Fashion Magazine, and Elle Magazine. Coco Rocha, Jennifer Aniston, Jada Pinkett Smith, Stacey McKenzie, MTV’s Jessi Cruickshank, and Kim Cattrall are among the celebrities who have worn his clothes.

We chatted with Neigum about growing up in Alberta, working with Vancouver Opera on The Marriage of Figaro, and how the collaboration might affect his future work.

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Designer gives a classic a fashion-forward new look for the Vancouver Opera Festival

Ute Lemper brings Last Tango in Berlin to the Vancouver Opera Festival

Ute Lemper. Steffen Thalemann photo.

One of the special events at this year’s inaugural Vancouver Opera Festival is a performance by Ute Lemper.

The 53-year-old singer, who lives in New York with her family, will perform her show Last Tango in Berlin May 4 at the Orpheum Theatre. With a bar stool, microphone, and trio (piano, bandonen, and bass), the multilingual song stylist delves into cabaret ballads by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht, chansons by Jacques Brel and Edith Piaf, tangos by Argentine composer Astor Piazzolla, and other songs cherry-picked from her other current repertoires.

Reviewing the show in the New York Times, Stephen Holden described a 2013 performance as “a stream of consciousness in several languages, mostly German, French and English, in which Ms. Lemper interweaves songs, song fragments, personal reminiscences and social commentary into an impressionistic historical tapestry. Wearing a gleaming black cocktail dress, her eyes narrowed to slits, her sleek blonde head thrown back, she embodies the Marlene Dietrich archetype of a forbidding continental temptress who has seen it all.”

Here’s a partial transcription of our interview with the divine Ms. L.

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Ute Lemper brings Last Tango in Berlin to the Vancouver Opera Festival

Vancouver Opera Festival – Dead Man Walking

J'Nai Bridges and Daniel-Okulitch star in Dead Man Walking

J’Nai Bridges and Daniel-Okulitch star in Dead Man Walking, at the 2017 Vancouver Opera Festival. Emily-Cooper photo.

When most people think of opera, they think of classic, centuries-old pieces like La Bohéme, The Marriage of Figaro and Carmen, to name a few.

But one of the three major works being staged at the inaugural Vancouver Opera Festival (April 28-May 13) is a much more recent piece. Dead Man Walking is based on the 1993 book of the same name by Sister Helen Prejean, C.S.J., and which most people will know from a 1995 movie adaptation starring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn. But, in 2000, it also became an opera, written by Jake Heggie with a libretto by Terrence McNally.

We talked to Joel Ivany, a Toronto-based director known for his innovative approach to opera, about bringing this version of Dead Man Walking to the Vancouver Opera Festival. (Note: Vancouver Opera Festival is offering a special promotion for Dead Man Walking, FORTY Under 40. Tickets for the opera are only $40 if you’re under 40. $40 under 40 tickets are available in limited quantities. To claim this deal, enter discount 6593 online at vancouveropera.ca/tickets. or call the ticket centre at 604-683-0222. Tickets will be available at will call and ID will be required.)

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Vancouver Opera Festival – Dead Man Walking

Visual art, Inuk throat-singing and German cabaret part of the first Vancouver Opera Festival

Tanya Tagaq, pictured here performing in Vancouver in 2011, is one of the performers at the inaugural Vancouver Opera Festival. Ashley Tanasiychuk photo.

Beginning April 28 and running until May 13, Vancouver will host its first opera festival. Presented by Vancouver Opera, the Vancouver Opera Festival includes three operas as well as concerts from celebrated Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq and German cabaret stylist Ute Lemper, an art installation by Vancouver artist Paul Wong, and more. Festival-goers will also be able to party and talk opera at an opera bar and tent set up on the plaza outside Queen Elizabeth Theatre (650 Hamilton St.) in downtown Vancouver.

That’s not all, as we learned in a conversation with Tom Wright, Director of Artist Planning.

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Visual art, Inuk throat-singing and German cabaret part of the first Vancouver Opera Festival

Sister-wives and opera meet in Vancouver Opera’s Dark Sisters

Dark Sisters 1

Vancouver Opera’s production of Dark Sisters opened last week. In the Georgia Straight, Alexander Varty writes, “Act 2 features singing and staging that will sear your brain.”

A tale of polygamy in a renegade Mormon community, the opera is making its Canadian premiere with Vancouver Opera. Previously performed in New York and Philadelphia, Dark Sisters is written by hotshot New York composer Nico Muhly with a libretto by Stephen Karam, and it’s at the Vancouver Playhouse Theatre (600 Hamilton St.) from Dec. 3-6 and 10 & 12.

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Sister-wives and opera meet in Vancouver Opera’s Dark Sisters