Three new opera productions are at the centre of the inaugural Vancouver Opera Festival.

“At the core of our sixteen-day festival are three fantastic new productions, two of which are of operas rarely or never before seen in Vancouver,” says Kim Gaynor, Vancouver Opera’s new general director. “The festival format is an exciting extension of what Vancouver Opera has traditionally done, and it creates a platform to explore repertoire, collaborations and many new opportunities to engage, educate and entertain audiences, new and old.”

Kicking off the festival is a full-scale production of Giuseppe Verdi’s late-career masterpiece Otello. The title role will be sung by acclaimed Italian tenor Antonello Palombi, who will be making his Canadian debut with Vancouver Opera. Palombi’s Vancouver performance is part of his worldwide performances of the role which will take him to cities such as Athens, Perth, Tokyo and Italy.

The second full-scale production is Jake Heggie’s modern classic Dead Man Walking. Based on the book by Sister Helen Prejean and the popular movie, Dead Man Walking has become the most-produced 21st century opera.

In a smaller production, Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro will feature a cast of emerging opera talent, with sets designed by award-winning Drew Facey, and contemporary costumes by Canadian fashion designer Sid Neigum.

In addition to the core opera productions, programming will also include a new commissioned video art installation by award-winning artist Paul Wong, plus performances by vocal stylist Ute Lemper and Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq.

The 2017 Vancouver Opera Festival takes place April 28 – May 13 at various locations around Vancouver. Visit http://vancouveropera.ca for more tickets and more information.