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Bob McPhee, CEO & general director at Calgary Opera

Bob McPhee, CEO & general director at Calgary Opera.
Photo by Wil Andruschak

Calgary Opera has everyone on their feet night after night despite talk of economic downturns and doldrums, with the beauty in art elevating in spite of situational challenges, circumstantial obstacles or fleeting external conditions.

The company’s most recent Canadian premiere, Die tote Stadt — The Dead City, by Erich Wolfgang Korngold, proves just that when it opened to rave reviews.

“We received standing ovations every night for the Canadian premiere Die tote Stadt, a new production that was extremely well-received,” says Calgary Opera general director and CEO Bob McPhee.

Calgary Opera continues to be committed to the development of Canadian talent and the development of new opera works, and by the opening of Calgary Opera’s 2016/17 season the company had presented six world premieres, six Canadian premieres, and many company premieres.

Calgary Opera has long been a leader in making decisions that not only please the masses and benefit the company financially, but really focuses on propelling the art into new markets that are multi-generational, cross-cultural and highly accessible while nurturing Canadian talent. 

“If we don’t present Canadian works, how will we move the art form forward?” says McPhee. “Sometimes you have to take risks, and you have to do what is best in the long term even though it is always easier to present well-known works.”

Calgary Opera is also the only opera company in Canada with an outdoor summer opera festival and, while Opera in the Village had to be scaled back last year due to site and space restrictions at the festival’s previous home in the fast-growing community of East Village, McPhee says this summer promises to be a spectacular festival that will be bigger and grander than ever.

“We just finalized a new location for our summer festival and that will be announced this spring,” says McPhee.

“This year is bringing lots of excitement as we are also celebrating the Canada’s 150th anniversary with Filumena, a Calgary Opera new work that was originally co-commissioned and produced with the Banff Centre, which premiered in 2003 and is now the most-produced Canadian grand opera in history.”

Filumena will be presented in February, followed by Giacomo Puccini’s Turandot in April and then the opera festival, hosted in its newest incarnation, this summer.

This story was produced by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content division, on behalf of Calgary Economic Development.

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