Beauty and the Beast Opera Tackles #MeToo, Compassion and Consent

East Van Opera, a unique opera company dedicated to local and emerging artists, will present the world premiere of Beauty’s Beast at the ANNEX on September 6th and 7th 2019. This new take on the famous Beauty and the Beast fairytale features music penned and performed by local composer and soprano Allison Cociani with a libretto by Anna Shill, as well as a multi-award-winning cast from across the Lower Mainland. East Van Opera is dedicated to the production of new music, and to elevating women in the performing arts. In keeping with this goal, Beauty’s Beast is an entirely femaleled opera production, showcasing the talents of composer Cociani and librettist Shill alongside stage director Julie McIsaac and collaborative pianist Perri Lo. The production is part of what they hope will be a growing recognition for Canadian, femaleled operatic repertoire, and a model for how opera can benefit from a female-driven perspective. This perspective is particularly clear in the opera’s own story. In Beauty’s Beast, compassion and selflessness are recurrent themes (as they are throughout the ‘Beauty and the Beast’ canon), but the female protagonist is also an advocate for critical self-discovery. The opera focuses on Belle’s journey to self-knowledge, and to how she builds a healthier relationship with the Beast based on mutual understanding, communication and consent – a particularly timely portrayal, given the concerns and awareness being fostered by the #MeToo movement. Cociani sees this timeliness as essential to making opera relevant to the community of Vancouver, and to bringing a new awareness to this often-traditional art form. “I think that people will find this opera is very relatable – particularly since it combines new music with a story that everyone knows,” she says. “By blending an innovative form and a current perspective with an iconic, incredibly beloved fairy tale, we’re creating a show that isn’t just for longtime opera lovers or classical music aficionados – it’s truly for everyone.” Stage director Julie McIsaac agrees. “The music is haunting and beautiful. The story is one we love to hear again and again. The performers are exceptional, and they’re really going to create some magic on the stage at the Annex.” Beauty’s Beast features Cociani as the Enchantress, soprano Anna Shill as Belle, baritone Jason Cook as Beast, and Perri Lo as their collaborative pianist. The production is sponsored by Vancouver Civic Theatres and the City of Vancouver.
Beauty’s Beast
September 6th, 7th 7:30 pm
September 7th 2:30 pm
September 7th 7:30 pm
823 Seymour Street Vancouver
$30 Students
Seniors $35 General Admission

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