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Inside Vancouver Opera

Arts & Culture Podcasts

Inside Vancouver Opera is a unique backstage glimpse into the world of Vancouver Opera. Join us as we chat with opera experts, artists, Vancouver Opera staff and others to explore the world of opera on and off the stage. This podcast offers an insider’s glimpse into the artistry, experiences, and perspectives of the talent involved in taking breathtaking opera productions from the page to the stage. Find out more at

Inside Vancouver Opera is a unique backstage glimpse into the world of Vancouver Opera. Join us as we chat with opera experts, artists, Vancouver Opera staff and others to explore the world of opera on and off the stage. This podcast offers an insider’s glimpse into the artistry, experiences, and perspectives of the talent involved in taking breathtaking opera productions from the page to the stage. Find out more at




Inside Vancouver Opera is a unique backstage glimpse into the world of Vancouver Opera. Join us as we chat with opera experts, artists, Vancouver Opera staff and others to explore the world of opera on and off the stage. This podcast offers an insider’s glimpse into the artistry, experiences, and perspectives of the talent involved in taking breathtaking opera productions from the page to the stage. Find out more at







Inside: HMS PINAFORE Join Vancouver Opera teaching artist Eve Daniell in conversation with director Brenna Corner about the ins and outs of creating a new vision of a classic operetta, the challenges of directing comedy, and the ongoing need for art in our culture. Gilbert and Sullivan’s comedic tale is a delightful combination of forbidden love across class divides and the shenanigans that take place along the way. Poking fun at social hierarchies and packed with absurd characters, this...


Honouring Black History Month: In conversation with Othalie Graham and Jonelle Sills

Inside Vancouver Opera honours Black History Month with an illuminating and candid conversation with two exemplary Black Canadian sopranos – Othalie Graham and Jonelle Sills, who recently were part of our performance of Cavalleria Rusticana In Concert. The conversation delves into the question of race and representation in opera, and features the hard-won insights of both Othalie and Jonelle’s experience of being a Black singer in today’s world. We are also proud to amplify the following...



Inside: CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA IN CONCERT Join Vancouver Opera’s Ashley Daniel Foot and discover the passionate opera that is Mascagni’s CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA and explore the hot and glorious masterwork of everyday Sicilian life with Vancouver Opera Conductor Emeritus Jonathan Darlington and hear his thoughts on staging an opera in concert, his life during COVID, and his unique perspective on how opera needs to meet the moment and ask itself tough questions. Vancouver Opera presents...



Join Vancouver Opera’s Ashley Daniel Foot and discover the magical world of Gluck’s ORFEO ED EURIDICE and find out what makes the opera so unique as we talk with the stars and creative team of Vancouver Opera’s debut production of this dazzling work. Maestro Leslie Dala speaks with sopranos Krisztina Szabó and Mireille Asselin and mezzo soprano Mireille Lebel. We also check in with opera scholar Leah Giselle Field for a little history on the opera and hear briefly from director Idan Cohen...


Episode 30 | Season Finale: Magic in the Music with Order of Canada, Order of BC member and Vancouver Recital Society founder and Artistic Director Leila Getz

"Success is what music does to the human spirit. If audiences come out of a concert feeling better than when they went in, that's success." – Leila Getz. In the season finale of Vancouver Opera Offstage, Les talks with Leila Getz, C.M., O.B.C., D.F.A., founder and Artistic Director of the Vancouver Recital Society. Leila has presented Canadian and Vancouver debut performances of some of the world’s most brilliant and respected young musicians over the past 40 years, building a diverse...


Episode 29 | The Power of Heroes with Canadian Sports Icon and Opera Fan Valerie Jerome

In this very important episode, Les turns the stage around to talk with an illustrious audience member. Our guest is Canadian track and field icon, granddaughter of Canada's first Black Olympian, sister of Canadian track legend Harry Jerome, educator and teacher, social justice and environmental advocate, patron of the Arts, and long-time opera fan Valerie Jerome. Valerie talks about her experiences with racism growing up on the North Shore in the 50s and 60s, the similarities between...


Episode 28 | Musical Excellence with Early Music Vancouver's Suzie LeBlanc, C.M.

In this episode, meet the brand-new Artistic and Executive Director of Early Music Vancouver! Suzie LeBlanc, C.M., is a prolific Canadian soprano and recipient of the Order of Canada in 2015, with four honourary doctorates for her work. A performer and scholar in Baroque repertoire, she is also accomplished in classical and modern repertoire and improvisation. Her 2011 album, I am in need of music, won an ECMA for Best Classical Recording, and her original work has lent voice to her Acadian...


Episode 27 | Behind the Camera Lens on the Digital Season with Mike Southworth

Meet Mike Southworth, who was responsible for the camerawork and videography behind Vancouver Opera's 2020–2021 Digital Season, on #VOffstage with Les Dala. Listen Now! Subscribe to the season now: #VOGoesDigital In this episode, Les takes us on a glimpse behind the camera lens to get a perspective of what it takes to bring opera from the stage to the screen. Our guest is Mike Southworth, president of Collide Entertainment, who is...


Episode 26 | Up Close and Personal about Carmen with stage director Brenna Corner

In our official Preview Podcast for Vancouver Opera's new production of Carmen: Up Close and Personal and the 26th episode of Vancouver Opera Offstage, meet Brenna Corner, director and mastermind behind this brand-new digital opera. Brenna has worked as a director, actor, singer, choreographer, and fight director across Canada, the United States, and Europe. An alumnus of Vancouver Opera's Yulanda M. Faris Young Artist Program, she most recently directed VO productions of Hansel and Gretel...


Episode 25 | The Music Shop Pre-Show, with Composer & Librettist Richard Wargo

This very special 25th episode of Vancouver Opera Offstage is also the official Pre-Show talk for Vancouver Opera's The Music Shop, which premieres online Saturday, March 13. We're delighted to welcome Richard Wargo, composer of The Music Shop to talk about his creative inspirations for the opera and to share some tips for aspiring composers. Richard joins us from his home in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Check out our episode at, and don't forget to subscribe to...


Episode 24 | Bringing it home with prolific Canadian Stage Director Michael Cavanagh, Artistic Director of the Royal Swedish Opera

In this episode, Les chats with prolific Canadian Stage Director Michael Cavanagh. No stranger to Vancouver Opera audiences, Michael has staged numerous productions over the years including–most recently–Otello, Madama Butterfly, and Nixon in China. We're thrilled that Michael has recently been appointed as Artistic Director of the Royal Swedish Opera. Les talks with Michael about his journey, his deep connection with VO, and the honour of being appointed to lead a major European opera...


Episode 23 | A Storied Career with Canadian baritone Brett Polegato

In our first episode of 2021, host Les Dala is joined by celebrated Canadian baritone Brett Polegato. Brett has sung on the most important stages of the world and is also a three-time Grammy Award recipient. VO Audiences will remember him last as Belcore in 2018's L'Elisir d'amore (The Elixir of Love). Brett tells us about some of his favourite roles over the year and talks about the special importance of art, literature, and poetry in the current times. Check out our episode, special...


Vancouver Opera's Holiday Thank You | A Touch of Brass Quintet Christmas Album "December"

As we approach the end of a tumultuous year, the staff and board of Vancouver Opera want to thank you for supporting our vision and mission. Thank you for listening to our podcasts, participating in our Vision planning, generously donating, and watching our digital releases of La Voix humaine and Amahl and the Night Visitors. This season, please enjoy some holiday music from A Touch of Brass. all members who perform with the Vancouver Opera Orchestra! We hope you have a very happy holiday...


Episode 22 | A Holiday Treat for our Listeners!

In this special seasonal episode, our last podcast of 2020, Vancouver Opera Offstage has a holiday treat for our listeners: Les shares over 40 minutes of music recorded specifically for this podcast! Inspired by Menotti retracing his childhood memories of Christmas in Amahl and the Night Visitors, Les performs some solo piano music by Hungarian composers Franz Liszt, Béla Bartók, and Ernő Dohnányi, inspired by Christmas carols. Les also explores some of the history behind each composer and...


Episode 21 | Special Guests from Vancouver Opera's Amahl and the Night Visitors

In this episode, Les takes us on a behind the scenes glimpse into the creation of Vancouver Opera's next digital opera: Amahl and the Night Visitors. This new take on a delightful holiday classic has its digital premiere on Saturday December 12th, featuring an exciting BC cast alongside members of the Vancouver Opera Chorus. This podcast's guests include Stage Director Sarah Jane Pelzer, Andreas Dala (Amahl), and Stephanie Tritchew (Mother), alongside Les (Music Director). Check out our...


Episode 20 | Adventures in Stage Management: Behind the Scenes with Theresa Tsang & Marijka Asbeek Brusse

In this, our 20th episode, Les chats with two of Vancouver Opera's fabulous stage managers, Marijka Asbeek Brusse and Theresa Tsang. We'll go on a virtual tour of what goes on in opera in the rehearsal hall and from backstage of a major opera company. Theresa and Marijka will share experiences and challenges from their unique perspective and give us a unique glimpse of what some of their favourite productions look like from behind the curtains. Check out our special features for the...


Episode 19 | Highlights of two decades with former VO General Director Jim Wright

In this episode, Les speaks with Jim (James) Wright, former General Director of Vancouver Opera who led the company from 1999-2016. As the longest-serving General Director in the company's history, Vancouver Opera presented a wide range of repertoire during his tenure including the world premieres of Lillian Alling, Stickboy, and the Canadian premiere of Nixon in China. Jim also oversaw the creation of our community engagement program Opera Speaks and the appointment of Jonathan Darlington...


Episode 18 | An inspirational journey with mezzo-soprano and star of La Voix humaine, Mirelle Lebel

In this episode, Les chats with Canadian mezzo-soprano Mireille Lebel, who will be starring in Vancouver Opera's Digital Season Opening Production, La Voix humaine. Last appearing as Siébel in Vancouver Opera's 2019 production of Faust, Mireille grew up in Vancouver and was a member of the Atelier Lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal before making critically successful debuts with opera companies and orchestras in Europe and North America. Check out our special features for the episode, including...


Episode 17 | Singing with the Greats with Tenor and UBC Voice and Opera Professor J. Patrick Raftery

In this episode, Les chats with J. Patrick Raftery, who is professor of voice and opera at UBC and who has had an illustrious singing career as both a tenor and a baritone. Recipient of the Richard Tucker Music Foundation Prize, Patrick has appeared on the world's greatest stages including the Metropolitan Opera, Covent Garden, La Scala and the Paris Opera to name a few. He has shared the stage with some of the greatest operatic legends including Luciano Pavarotti and Mirella Freni. Check...


Episode 16 | Introductions from the 2020-2021 Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists!

In this very special video and audio episode, Les is proud to feature a series of introductions from the talented participants of our 2020–2021 Yulanda M Faris Young Artists Program. We’ll be meeting Toronto-based stage director Dana Fradkin, Vancouver-based baritone Luka Kawabata, Toronto soprano Jonelle Sills, tenor Ian Cleary who hails from Chatham, Ontario, Vancouver-based pianist Amy Seulky Lee, and mezzo-soprano Amanda Weatherall, originally from Cranbrook, BC. The Yulanda M. Faris...