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Bicycle Opera rolls through County

bicycle-opera-tuesdayThe Bicycle Opera Project rolled through the County this week to help make Canadian opera “hip” with over a 14-city tour.
Seven singers and musicians from Toronto will bike more than 800 km while hauling instruments, props, costumes, and sets to bring contemporary, Canadian opera to non-traditional locations across Ontario.

The Bicycle Opera Project’s third season is its most ambitious and features 20 performances. After their debut show in Kingston on July 4, the troupe cycled west for performances in Prince Edward County, and will move on to Belleville and the Westben Festival in Campbellford and Warkworth. The western leg features shows in Hamilton, Bayfield, London, the Stratford Summer Music Festival, Brantford, Guelph, and Waterloo. The tour wraps up in Toronto with four August dates.

This is the second year the Bicycle Opera Project will visit Prince Edward County since Larissa Koniuk and Nadia Channa founded the troupe in 2012. A Toronto born-and-raised opera singer, Koniuk wanted to share opera with new audiences and explore a car-free method of touring.

“People tend to think of opera as an elitist art-form, conjuring images of corsets and bull-horn helmets. We break these barriers by getting dirty on our bikes and spreading opera across Ontario in a style that is modern and relatable. Cycling also happens to be economically and environmentally friendly!” said Koniuk.

Baritone Geoffrey Sirett joined the tour last season. He’s a Canadian star and a fellow at the prestigious Aspen Opera Theatre Centre. He was so compelled by the project that he is co-producing the 2014 tour with Koniuk.

The troupe performed seven opera songs including six in English and one in French. The playful, contemporary songs showcase an aspect of Canadian opera that many are unfamiliar with.

“Opera enjoys a vibrant and active scene in Canada with a wealth of talented artists. But in an already troubling climate for opera, it can be challenging to take risks. By biking long distances while braving heat waves and thunderstorms, we can share our enthusiasm for new music and introduce a broad audience to the transformative power of opera,” Sirett said.

The Bicycle Opera Project’s reputation for producing accessible, innovative Canadian opera earned funding awards from the Ontario Arts Council and Toronto Arts Council, and support from the Canadian Opera Company. The recognition helped the project build a roster of professional and emerging artists for the 2014 tour.

Soprano Koniuk and baritone Seritt are joined by mezzo Stephanie Tritchew (newest member of Calgary Opera’s Young Artist Program) and tenor Christopher Enns (graduate of Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio). Three exceptional, young instrumentalists are accompanying the cast: pianist Wesley Shen, saxophonist Chelsea Shanoff, and flutist Tristan Durie.
Ontarians will enjoy a repertoire that showcases the works of established and emerging Canadian composers, including Tobin Stokes, Brian Current, Dean Burry, Ivan Barbotin, Adam Scime, and Chris Thornborrow.

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  1. Gary says:

    How was the wine? County folks that can’t pay their water bill are curious.

  2. Wolf Braun says:

    Saw it @HarwoodEstateWinery….brilliant !

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