Magazine article Opera Canada

Vancouver Opera in the Schools

Magazine article Opera Canada

Vancouver Opera in the Schools

Article excerpt

The rapt attention of North Vancouver's Sutherland Senior Secondary School Grade 9/10 students as they watched Vancouver Opera in the Schools's production of Stickboy on a gray day in February attested to the relevance of the subject matter and the effectiveness of the performance.

The original opera, planned for an intimate venue, small orchestra and limited cast and premiered by VO as part of its 2015 season, created a real buzz, selling out the Vancouver Playhouse Theatre by the end of the run. The libretto was based on a book by poet Shane Koyczan describing his experiences of bullying and took the title Stickboy from two sources: the "Sticks and stones may break my bones" children's rhyme and the idea of a stick of dynamite waiting to explode. The moving libretto could stand alone, but adding the music of Neil Weisensel gives an even deeper dimension to the poignancy of the words. Rachel Peake adapted and directed the schools' shortened version of the original, assisted by Music Director Kinza Tyrrell.

Sunny Shams brought a well nuanced lyric tenor, impressive acting skills and complete absorption in the trauma of the lead character, Boy. …

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