Gearing up for La bohème

Gearing up for La bohème

 The last few months have certainly been a challenging time for Opera Lyra Ottawa as the company restructures. However, we are making great progress and are getting excited about our production of La bohème this September.

original bohème poster

 I am very proud of the wonderful cast that has been assembled for  La bohème. Perhaps not everyone realises that for each of our productions, I create from scratch a cast unique to Opera Lyra Ottawa, carefully tying together elements of our artistic vision in order to craft an exciting and original performance for our audience.

La bohème is truly an amazing masterpiece, it is the perfect opera for first-time opera-goers while at the same time continuing to be a perennial favorite of seasoned opera fans. I have personally conducted this opera many times and have seen countless productions and it remains one of my favorites. In fact, La bohème was the first opera I ever performed in having just joined the Calgary Opera chorus in first year university oh, so many years ago!

The story portrays young lovers, still starry-eyed and hopeful about their futures complete with the underlying imagined romantic ideals associated with being a starving artist yet to make their mark on the world. In order to properly create this ambience, it is important the cast be young and have a true sense of camaraderie, believable that they are indeed a group of close friends. We must accept that the tomfoolery is genuine and that the love and jealousy felt between the young lovers is real and palpable. The tragedy of Mimi’s death needs to be heartfelt. This can only be accomplished through a cast that is sincere and willing to bond and work together.

We are extremely proud to announce that the leading role of Mimi will be portrayed by Ottawan Joyce El-Khoury who is on the verge of a major career. A local success story making her mark already in her young career on the major opera houses of the world including the MET. She has a strong connection to our company and training program. We can take pride in playing a part in her development. Joyce was a member of our training program and was featured as “Carmezzo” in one of the two operas we have commissioned since 1998, Zeus and the Pamplemousse. She was also featured as a soloist in a concert with the OLO chorus at Centrepointe Theatre. Then in 2009, she starred as “Pamina” in our Silver Cast production of The Magic Flute and also as the “Second Lady” in our main stage performances of the same opera. She has already sung several performances on the MET stage. Joyce’s career is expanding to include numerous companies throughout the world. She was recently featured in Opera News magazine and will be featured in the upcoming Opera Canada magazine. Check out her new website http://www.joyceelkhoury.com/.

Thank you to all of our supporters and donors. With your help , Opera Lyra will continue to present high quality grand opera on the NAC stage. Please spread the word and bring a friend to the opera!

 Tyrone Paterson

Artistic Director /Opera Lyra Ottawa

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