Vancouver Opera Festival

Visitors to Vancouver in the springtime should take advantage of attending the Vancouver Opera Festival, an annual nine day event dedicated to engage, inspire, and entertain through voice, music, theatre, and the visual arts.

My Dad and I attended one of their productions, La Cenerentola (Cinderella) at The Vancouver Playhouse.

The last Opera I saw was also with my Dad. In 1988 we saw la Boheme at the Sydney Opera House. Though neither of us has gone out of our way to try to see an opera since then, we both remembered the experience fondly and were excited about the invitation to be at the opening day matinee in Vancouver.

The story shuffles the characters we’ve all come to know, and this time young Angelina/Cenerentola is left in the hands of an evil stepfather when her beloved mother dies. He and his two terrible daughters treat Angelina as a maid. Instead of a fairy godmother, she is helped by the tutor to the Prince who arrives at their home dressed as a beggar and notes that Angelina is the only one who treats him with kindness.

It’s a lovely riff on the story. The entire cast is sensational. Simone McIntosh as Angelina/Cenerentola is mesmerizing, but Dad and I both agreed that Peter McGillivray steals every scene he’s in as Don Magnifico (the evil stepfather). He can’t even be considered evil, he’s more of a social climbing buffoon with terrible manners, and completely oblivious to the fact that everyone around him (except his daughters of course) find him crude and intolerable. He had us in stitches so many times.

It should be noted that the production is sung entirely in Italian, and there are surtitles in English above the stage. We were in the 4th row and while they were amazing seats to see the show, you’ll find it more comfortable looking up at the surtitles if you’re a little farther back. It’s probably too long a show for really young kids, or those who can’t sit still for a couple of hours, but it is a family friendly production. I wouldn’t hesitate to take my 9 year old – in fact she would have been there but accepted an invitation to a birthday party.

My Dad and I both enjoyed the performance, and wish my daughter and my Mom could have joined us. We highly recommend that you catch a performance if you’re in Vancouver. For more information: The Vancouver Opera Festival.

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