Opening on Feb. 22 at Victoria’s Royal Theatre, Pacific Opera Victoria presents the second opera of the season, the Canadian premiere of Walter Braunfels’ The Birds.
The opera tells the story of two disillusioned humans who journey into the realm of thrushes, wrens and ravens, where ill-advised counsel leads to a thunderous reckoning with the gods. It is a post-romantic, free adaptation of Aristophanes’ comedy of the same name.
Through the characters’ journey to the kingdom of birds, the piece relates a tender, comedic and melancholy tale of human aspirations and the failure of utopias.
The Birds shot to acclaim in 1920. It was performed over 50 times in Munich alone over the first two years, only to be suppressed by the Nazi regime and rediscovered in 1971.
“Almost 100 years old, Braunfels’ operatic masterpiece has begun to come into its own only in the past two or three decades,” said Timothy Vernon, Pacific Opera’s founding artistic director and conductor for the opera.
“The vocal writing is grateful in the best way, and the orchestra delivers a web of gorgeous, evocative themes and harmonies that transport us into this magical phantasmagoria,” said Vernon.
Making her Pacific Opera stage debut in the role of Nachtigal (Nightingale) is Claire de Sevigne, recently named one of CBC’s Top Young Canadian Classical Musicians.
Canadian tenor Adrian Kramer also makes his Pacific Opera debut in the role of Hoffegut (Good Hope). He has earned critical praise in recent seasons with companies throughout North America for his vocal appeal and strong theatrical engagement.
The production also features 32 local singers in the Pacific Opera Chorus.
The Birds takes place Feb. 22, 24 and 28 at 7:30 p.m., and Feb. 26 at 2:30 p.m. Visit pacificopera.ca for tickets.
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