Night at the Opera: The Flying Dutchman

What a privilege it was attending the opening night of the very last  show of the 2022-2033 opera season – Richard Wagner’s “The Flying Dutchman” presented by Vancouver Opera; the largest opera company in Western Canada.

Life on the Ledge     Photo: d. king

There is only one show left -on May 7th.  See link below for tickets.

The performances always take place at the spectacular *Queen Elizabeth Theatre.  The theatre is a perfect setting to complement the range of productions that are staged here with an atrium that has sweeping staircases, gorgeous chandeliers and reflective surfaces.  Snacks and wine are available to purchase before the show and during intermission.

Sidenote: you guessed it – the theatre was named after its most famous patron, the late Queen Elizabeth II, who attended a concert here when the theatre opened in July 1959.

Turbulence at Sea

The Flying Dutchman is a haunting story based on a European maritime legend about a sailor and his daughter who encounter a ghost during a storm at sea.  

The Dutchman, who has been condemned to wander for eternity, is searching for a bride to finally bring him peace. This tragic tale of love and sacrifice is the composer’s first masterpiece and features magnificent orchestration of Wagnerian proportions.

Not to jump ahead but I’m really looking forward to next season’s productions which will begin with Mozart’s “The Magic Flute,” followed by “Don Pasquale” and finally the towering opera classic “Carmen.”

With my friend Rosa who is an avid opera enthusiast.  I can always count on Rosa to be my plus-one  for an opera date and we enjoy a glass of wine before the show and a late night snack afterwards – usually at Joey’s on Burrard (fyi: the kitchen there closes at 1:30 am)

selfie outside the theatre

*Built in 1959 as part of an international design competition, the Queen Elizabeth Theatre served as a prototype for more than a generation of theatre complexes across Canada and the U.S. The architects’ vision was to create a “strong, unitary building” that gave “maximum delight and spatial excitement”.

Photos: Tim Matheson

Some tickets still left for closing show @


Night at the Opera

On Saturday I attended the opening night of “The Pearl Fishers” – George Bizet’s 1863 opera taking place at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver.

Emily Cooper Photography

I went with my friend Rosa, who is an opera buff and always fills me in on what is good and what is not. The Pearl Fishers; a good Opera, is here in Vancouver until October 30th.

Emily Cooper Photography

The opera is an aquired taste. Going to the opera is either a love or hate relationship for most people – unlike the storyline involved in most operas where love and hate coexist. I’m somewhat in the middle.  If the sets are beautiful, if the costumes are exotic and the music is wonderful (and of course the singing is always excellent) then I’m happy.  But like going to a foreign film where you have to read the subtitles to know what they’re talking about, in an opera our eyes tend to wander up and down between the stage and reading the lines high above the stage to find out what exactly they’re trying to convey. Things happen fast in opera land. It’s emotionally charged and super dramatic. Obviously over the top to make sure the point gets across, but with soulful song and dance.  And simply gorgeous costumes. 

If you want my simple synopsis of this opera, think Popeye the Sailor Man and his old muscular navy buddy Bluto whose friendship ends due to their rivalry over Olive Oyl.  Maybe this is how bullying began – on the account of a woman.

Emily Cooper Photography

If you want the real synopsis here is the overview taken from the opera website:

The Pearl Fishers returns to Vancouver Opera for the first time in nearly 30 years. Directed by Vancouver favourite Rachel Peake, this dramatic opera tells the tale of two devoted friends and the woman that comes between them. The famous “friendship duet”,  Au fond du temple saint, is one of the most beautiful and recognizable pieces in the opera repertoire. Be swept away by the lush orchestration and Bizet’s trademark melodies.

Emily Cooper Photography

Do you see the similarity but different?

To purchase available tickets please visit:

Vancouver OPERA presents Madama Butterfly

Don’t miss Vancouver Opera’s gorgeous production of Puccini’s MADAMA BUTTERFLY – a beautiful story of honour, love, heartbreak and sacrifice.    

          As they say; Fall in love at the OPERA.

Middle: Mihoko Kinishita as Cio-Cio-San (Butterfly). Photo: Tim Matheson
Middle: Mihoko Kinishita as Cio-Cio-San (Butterfly).  Photo: Tim Matheson

I went to the opening last night and thoroughly enjoyed the gorgeous set, incredible voices and achingly beautiful music brought to life by two of the world’s most in demand sopranos.  There were many women fittingly dressed up in stunning Kimonos.

Mihoko Kinoshita as Cio-Cio-San (butterfly), Gregory Dahl as Sharpless, Richard Trotell as Pinkerton. Photo: Tim Matheson
Mihoko Kinoshita as Cio-Cio-San (butterfly), Gregory Dahl as Sharpless, Richard Trotell as Pinkerton.   Photo: Tim Matheson

About the Performers:

Sharing the role of Cio-Cio-San (Butterfly) for alternating performances will be Jee-Hye Han and Mihoko Kinoshita. Jee-Hye Han will be making her VO début. Mihoko Kinoshita was last seen in VO’s 2010 production of Madama Butterfly. Tenors Adam Luther and Richard Troxell will sing opposite them, sharing the role of Pinkerton.

Madama Butterfly is onstage at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, corner of Georgia and Hamilton Streets,Vancouver, B.C. for only 6 performances, March 5 – 13, 2016.

Good seats still remain but are selling quickly for all performances, with the best availability at the Friday, March 11 and Sunday March 13 performances.

Not a kimono but at least it was colourful.
Not a kimono but at least it was colourful.

The Vancouver Opera Orchestra conducted by Leslie Dala. Photo: Tim Matheson
The Vancouver Opera Orchestra conducted by Leslie Dala. Photo: Tim Matheson


Sunday, March 6 • 2:00pm matinée

Thursday, March 10 • 7:30pm

Friday, March 11 • 7:30pm

Saturday, March 12 • 7:30pm

Sunday, March 13 • 2:00pm matinée

Madama Butterfly will be sung in Italian with English translations projected above the stage.

Approximate running time: 2 hours and 40 minutes, including 1 intermission.

Tickets are available exclusively through the Vancouver Opera Ticket Centre: 604-683-0222 or Visa, MasterCard and American Express are accepted. Special pricing for groups of at least 10, and for families, is available by phone.

Follow Vancouver Opera on Twitter and Facebook for exclusive offers such as VO’s Get O.U.T (Opera Under 35) program, with $35 tickets for patrons aged under.