Celebrating opera, spoken word and everything in between, Words Aloud: Opera Meets Spoken Word is a stripped down performance of both art forms, and will feature emerging spoken word artists, singers and musicians.
This show features spoken word artists and opera singers together in a completely unique and informal café setting.
Participating artists include:
- Four spoken word artists including Ottawa’s Rusty Priske.
- Four singers and a pianist from Vancouver Opera’s 2014-2015 Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists Program (see a photos of the whole group below, as well as artist bios & photos).
Words Aloud is part of Vancouver Opera’s innovative Stickboy Community Engagement Series, September 30 through November 9, 2014. Learn more about the premiere of Stickboy at the Vancouver Playhouse, and the Stickboy Community Engagement Event Series at vancouveropera.ca
Doors at 7pm, Show at 8pm
About the artists:
Rusty Priske has been getting on stage to share his poetry for eight years and in that time he has been on the Capital Slam team SIX times, including 2009 when the team won the National Championship. He is a former member of The Recipe and the Copper Conundrum and his work has appeared on eight CDs, in four chapbooks, and his two full-length poetry books, Rusty Priske: Trapeze Artist and the brand new This is Day One. Rusty has been the Slam Master at CapSlam for six years and is also the Spoken Word Canada National Slam Master and the founder of the VERSeOttawa Hall of Honour.
Jillian Christmas serves as Artistic Director of Versəs Festival of Words. She has won Grand Poetry-Slam Championship titles at both the Vancouver BedRocc poetry-slam (2011), as well as the Vancouver Poetry Slam (2012, 2014), and has represented Vancouver at the Women of the World Poetry Slam for the past two years. An enthusiastic organizer within the Canadian poetry community, Jillian has participated in, developed and executed programs in partnership with Toronto Poetry Project, Wordplay, Brendan McLeod’s Travelling Slam and the CULTCH Mentorship, and facilitated spoken word workshops for youth and adults across the country.
Olivia B has been part of multiple poetry teams, including the first Vancouver Youth Poetry Slam Team in 2007 and the Youth Team in 2010. Olivia also completed the IGNITE! Spoken Word Mentorship program in 2010. In 2011, they became the youngest-ever Vancouver Poetry Slam Grand Champion, earning a place on the Vancouver Poetry Slam Team and traveling to the National Poetry Slam in Boston, MA, and Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in Toronto, ON. They were also the recipient of the 2011 Beauty Babo Award for Innovation. In 2013, their work was published in Flicker and Spark: A Contemporary Queer Anthology of Spoken Word and Poetry. Olivia’s performances undertake subjects like existentialism, queer and genderqueer experience, unconventional courtship rituals, internet memes, and the liberation of potatoes — this is often infused with elements of Olivia’s background in dance, theatre and multi-disciplinary performance art.
Floyd VB is a queer youth spoken word artist from who flits and stomps around Vancouver. They have been on one Vancouver Poetry Slam team and two Vancouver Youth Poetry Slam teams. At National Poetry Slam in Boston, Floyd won the annual Nerd Slam. Floyd is also the 2012 Hullabaloo BC Youth Spoken Word Festival individual as well as part of the team that won that year. Floyd speaks on anything from love, to gender identity and sexuality, to high school. They will leave you feeling like a sketchbook dripping ink.
Mezzo-Soprano Laurelle Jade Froese begins her professional debut this spring as Second Lady in Saskatoon Opera’s Die Zauberflöte. Ms. Froese has just completed her Masters of Operatic Performance at the University of Toronto under the guidance of Wendy Nielsen. Her performances during that time include Florence in Albert Herring, Giannetta in L’elisir d’amore and role studies of Dorabella (Cosi fan tutte), Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro) and Octavian (Der Rosenkavalier). Other roles include Meg Page in Falstaff with Opera Nuova and Flora in La traviata with Highlands Opera Studio.
Ms. Froese’s upcoming performances include Annio in Opera Underground’s production of La clemenza di Tito (Manitoba) and Mercédès in Vancouver Opera’s 2014 production of Carmen. Laurelle is a 2013 & 2014 Jeune Ambassadeur Lyrique Laureate and represented Canada at the Minsk Opera House in Belarus this past Christmas.
Baritone Zachary Read is currently completing his Masters in Operatic Performance at the University of Toronto under the guidance of Patrick Raftery. He has appeared as Malatesta in the University of Toronto production of Don Pasquale, and as Mars in Orpheus in the Underworld. He has also appeared in scene selections from The Barber of Seville, Cosi fan tutte, Die Fledermaus, Die Tote Stadt, Der Evangelimann, and Zar und Zimmermann. Last year, he sang Creon in the University of Toronto’s Antigone, an opera project by four University of Toronto composers.
Before his studies in Toronto, Mr. Read sang Guglielmo in the Accademia Europea dell’Opera production of Cosi fan tutte in Pistoia, Italy. Most recently, he sang Sid in the U of T Opera production of Albert Herring.
Tenor Rocco Rupolo completed the Opera Diploma Program at the University of Toronto. During his studies, he sang the roles of Ferrando in Cosi fan tutte, Monsieur Lacouff in Les mamelles de Tirésias, L’Amante in Amelia al Ballo, Cecco in Il mondo della luna, and the Governor/Ensemble in Candide. His recent performances include Nemorino in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore and Pâris in Offenbach’s La belle Hélène at the University of Toronto, Anthony in Sweeney Todd with the Aspen Summer Music Festival, and Don Ottavio (understudy) in VO’s 2014 production of Don Giovanni.
Soprano Caitlin Wood recently graduated from the University of Toronto with a Masters in Operatic Performance under the tutelage of Mary Morrison. During her time at U of T she performed many roles, including Terese (Les mamelles de Terésias), Marie (La fille du régiment), Adina (L’elisir d’amore), Lady Herriet Durham (Martha), Flora (The Turn of the Screw), and Homeless Woman (Rob Ford: The Opera). Her past roles have included Mabel (The Pirates of Penzance) and Patience (Patience) with the Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Winnipeg; Despina (Cosi fan tutte) and Nannetta (Falstaff) with Opera NUOVA; and Johanna (Sweeney Todd) with Dry Cold Productions.
Pianist Kimberley-Ann Bartczak holds a Master’s Degree in Collaborative Piano from the University of Toronto. During her studies, she was the répétiteur for the university’s opera program, accompanist for the university’s Women’s Chorus and for the Mississauga Festival Choir, and music director for Opera 5’s production of Milton Granger’s Talk Opera. Ms. Bartczak was also a pianist and coach at the Centre for Opera Studies in Italy (COSI), at Opera on the Avalon, and at St. Andrews Opera Workshop. A native of Montreal, Ms. Bartczak was the conductor for the Choir Chant-O-Vent, as well as accompanist to many semi-professional choirs in the Montreal area.
NB: Shane Koyczan will NOT be performing at this event.
About the new opera Stickboy:
Based on the book, Stickboy, by Shane Koyczan.
The inner life of a young boy is at the heart of this moving and meaningful new opera, composed by Neil Weisensel with libretto by world-renowned spoken word artist Shane Koyczan.
On the playground, in school hallways, and most profoundly in his own mind, an overweight boy is shunned, bullied and cruelly provoked. Supported by the love of his grandmother, he finds courage through his vivid imagination, but that courage mutates, expressing itself with the violence that he himself has endured. Scarred and wary, he survives to face an uncertain future.
Bravely autobiographical, beautifully poetic, visually innovative and musically memorable, Stickboy confronts the uncomfortable reality of a society struggling with its own fear and insecurity, a society that seeks conformity and uniformity at the expense of those who are different.
Stickboy debuts at the Vancouver Playhouse the night after this show, October 23rd. For more info, check out Vancouver Opera’s show page.
Featured image illustration by Olimpia Zagnoli. YAP Artist Photo by Caren Tereschak
Advance tickets closed. Many tickets will be available at the door.