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! Local soprano, bound for New York’s Metropolitan Opera, stars in upcoming Opera Kelowna production

Jan 19, 2016

! Local soprano, bound for New York’s Metropolitan Opera, stars in upcoming Opera Kelowna production
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 18, 2016
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Local soprano, bound for New York’s Metropolitan Opera, stars in upcoming Opera Kelowna production
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Kelowna, BC — Opera Kelowna presents Lake of Tears starring Olivia Smith, from February 20–23, before the talented young soprano heads to the New York Metropolitan Opera for training.
Lake of Tears, at 40 minutes long, is a both thrilling introduction to the glorious sounds of Kelowna’s youngest emerging opera star and an excellent first experience for new audiences. It is a newly commissioned opera by Imant Raminsh with libretto written by Lesley-Anne Evans. Smith will sing the lead role along with mezzo-soprano Mia Harris, tenor Tony Bittar, bass Andrew Stewart, treble chorus, pianist Arnold Draper and members of the orchestra. To complete the audience’s experience, they will be surrounded by Jane Everett’s beautiful vellum banners animated by the libretto.
In June, Olivia Smith will head to New York’s Metropolitan Opera, where she has been accepted to train at the International Vocal Arts Institute. “Don’t quit your dream,” were the words Smith’s voice coach Alexandra Babbel repeated when the 16-year-old travelled to her audition with Joan Dornemann, vocal coach at the Metropolitan Opera. Dornemann accepted Smith to the summer program, despite her being too young to meet the program’s 19 years of age cut-off, exclaiming, “She has the great danger of becoming quite wonderful.” This international attention is unprecedented for any singer from Kelowna. “I’m over the moon for her!” said Babbel.
Opera Kelowna’s production of Lake of Tears offers a performance and reception on February 20 and continues with public and student performances on February 22 and 23. Tickets are available at Rotary Centre for the Arts and Kelowna Tickets at Orchard Park Mall.
This opera season is made possible thanks to the support of the City of Kelowna and Central Okanagan Foundation, and the generosity of significant sponsors, including Springfield Funeral Home, Harmony Honda and Botegga.
Ticket information:
First performance and reception: Saturday February 20 at 7:00 PM ($55.00) Student Performances Monday, February 22 at 9:30, 10:30 and 11:30 AM ($9.00) Public Performances Tuesday, February 23 at 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30 PM ($30.00)
Media Contact: Alexandra Babbel
Opera Kelowna
Tel: 250.575.1434
Email: [email protected]
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Background:
Opera Kelowna commissioned one of Canada’s most renowned composers Imant Raminsh, to write an opera, along with Kelowna-based artist Jane Everett, to create an art installation at Rotary Centre for the Arts Atrium, which will come to life with opera to the libretto of Lesley-Anne Evans. !
Performances are planned to animate the installation of Everett’s giant oil on vellum banners and canoe paddles painted with loon images. The art installation will come to life with opera three times per day in February. The opera will be 35 minutes in length. This experience will bring a music loving audience into the art world for the first time and will introduce an art-loving audience to the world of Opera.!
Composer Imant Raminsh has demonstrated a high level of artistic merit in his long and fruitful career, and his exemplary professional relationship with the ensembles of Alexandra Babbel and now Opera Kelowna, where she is Artistic Director. Opera Kelowna’s educational outreach youth ensemble, Candesca, performed Imant Raminsh’s Songs of the Stars under his baton in Kelowna, with the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra, and in New York at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and Trinity Cathedral at “Ground Zero.” Mr. Raminsh’s work on this new project — in collaboration with librettist, Lesley-Anne Evans, stage director, Rob Mason Brown, artist Jane Everett, the Opera Kelowna creative and production team and the Kelowna Art Gallery staff — has been inspiring.!
Opera Kelowna is a new, non-profit, charitable, regional, professional opera company. The company’s vision is to create opera that is accessible to both opera lovers and future enthusiasts, by collaborating with other professional expressions of art to create a unique and exciting production that is enjoyable for diverse audiences. Opera Kelowna has consistently sold out events, concerts and operas. The most recent success was the staged, orchestrated production of Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro in August, 2015. !
After the premiere performance of Lake of Tears scheduled for February 20, 2016, the opera will then be performed during the following week for school-aged children as an educational outreach mandate. The brevity of the opera (35 minutes) allows for three performances in one day. Three school performances are scheduled for the morning of February 23, 2016. Performances will then be open to the public. Three performances will be offered during the week in February, 2016. !
Future plans include remounting the opera on the main stage in August 2017, as part of Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations.!

Company Contact Information:

Logo Opera Kelowna
Company: Opera Kelowna
Contact Name: Alexandra Babbel
Contact Phone: 250 575 1434
Contact Email: [email protected]
Company Website: www.operakelowna.com

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