Monday, September 13, 2010

Lillian Alling: The Cast

Internationally celebrated mezzo-soprano Judith Forst joins a stellar cast for Vancouver Opera’s world premiere production of Lillian Alling, the new VO commissioned opera by Canada’s foremost opera-creation team: composer John Estacio and librettist John Murrell.

Joining Ms.Forst will be Quebecoise soprano Frédérique Vézina, a singer of “ravishing sensuousness” (The Toronto Star), and “golden-toned Canadian tenor” Roger Honeywell (Opera News). Baritone Aaron St.Clair Nicholson brings his “manly, rolling expressive voice and wonderful stage instincts” (Classical 96.3FM) to the cast.

The opera features four major characters: Lillian Alling, telegraph man Scotty Macdonald, and the present-day characters Irene and her son Jimmy. Here's a look at the players.

Quebecoise soprano Frédérique Vézina will create the title role. Praised for her “dark mahogany tone” (The Globe and Mail), Ms. Vézina has been a First Prize winner at the Concours International de Chant and a finalist at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. She returns to VO for the first time since her moving performances as Mimí in 2008’s La Bohème.

International Vancouver-based superstar Judith Forst, OC will create the role of Irene. Ms. Forst’s long and illustrious career includes regular performances with The Metropolitan Opera and the Canadian Opera Company. She has been called “one of the few truly world-class coloratura mezzo sopranos on the operatic stage” (COC Magazine). Ms. Forst is an Officer of the Order of Canada and a recipient of the Order of British Columbia and was last seen in Vancouver in VO’s 2009 production of Salome.

Roger Honeywell returns to Vancouver Opera to create the role of Jimmy. The Toronto-based tenor “with the right kind of heroic mettle to his voice” (Opera Now) returns to Vancouver Opera for this world premiere, having last sung here in 2008’s La Bohème.

Baritone Aaron St.Clair Nicholson, last seen on the VO stage earlier this year as Count Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro, creates the role of Scotty Macdonald. The Abbotsford-based Mr. Nicholson is noted for the dramatic integrity he brings to his performances. He has been highly praised for his signature role, Papageno, which he recently sang at The Metropolitan Opera.

Bass-baritone Thomas Goerz (also seen last year in The Marriage of Figaro as Dr. Bartolo) creates the roles of Constable Wyman, Sergei and the mysterious Jozéf.

Tenor Colin Ainsworth creates the roles of Bobby, Kristian and Billy; baritone Gregory Dahl sings Sam and Karl; Calvin Powell sings Charlie and The Drifter.

Left to right: Colin Ainsworth, Gregory Dahl & Calvin Powell

Lillian Alling is a sweeping and dramatic work in the tradition of operas on a grand scale. It is VO’s most ambitious commission yet, with over two hours of music, 8 principal singers, a chorus of 40, a 60-piece orchestra and more than 175 costumes created for this world premiere.

Get your tickets now!

Single tickets starting at $29 (plus handling fee) are available from the Vancouver Opera Ticket Centre, online at, or by phone at 604-683-0222.