“The Halifax Summer Opera Workshop educates and develops both singers and audiences through the performance of operatic repertoire. Our goals are to present three fully staged operas each summer in Halifax that challenge and enrich both artists and audience, and that are artistically and financially accessible to both. Our aesthetic is artist-centred, creative, professional, relatively low-budget, alternative, modern and respectful of our source material. Our clients are singers (from community members to university undergrads to professionals), creative and technical workers and audience members, who may be experienced opera or theatre goers, or newcomers to the art form.”
It’s a summer opera program in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada that runs for four weeks, giving singers from university undergrads to professionals opportunities to learn roles in the context of performing an entire, fully-staged opera. Masterclasses in dramatic and musical interpretation and auditioning and private coaching are also a part of the process. Operas are double-cast as much as possible, with each participant receiving at least two public performances.
HSOW takes place in downtown Halifax, Nova Scotia, on the east coast of Canada. We rehearse at Dalhousie University, using the premises of the Departments of Music and Theatre, and we perform at the Sir James Dunn Theatre, part of the prestigious Dalhousie Arts Centre. Halifax is a human-scale, beautiful, historic and friendly city by the sea, and a wonderful place to spend four weeks in the summer rehearsing and performing.
Participants will be selected from live auditions to be held in London, ON, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax or from recorded auditions for those too far away to audition in person. There are no age limits for this programme. Each role will be double cast, if possible and each participant will have at least two public performances of his or her role. All participants will be expected to arrive with their parts securely memorized, as if for a professional engagement.
The workshop will begin with a few days of music rehearsals and coachings, followed by a an intense week and a half of blocking and running the show. A typical day will include a group dramatic warmup in the morning, followed by six to eight hours of rehearsals at or near the Dalhousie University campus scheduled for the afternoons and evenings. As a break from staging, we’ll offer a series of masterclasses on dramatic or musical interpretation and auditioning techniques: each participant will have at least one slot in these masterclasses with guest artists and coaches, and slots will be determined by draw.
Then we move into the theatres (the extremely well-equipped 235 seat Sir James Dunn Theatre for The Marriage of Figaro and The Neptune Studio Theatre for Carmelites and Night Music) for tech and dress rehearsals and the twelve performances (four of each show). Performances will be accompanied by piano, and performed in the original language, with English surtitles where needed for the added enjoyment of our audiences.
To ensure a professional experience, artists singing with HSOW work with professional stage management, technical, costume and props people.