Joyce El-Khoury, James Westman & Ryan McKinny To Be Featured In Opéra de Montréal’s 2018-19 Season

By Francisco Salazar

The Opéra de Montréal has announced its 2018-19 season.

The season will offer four productions, a chamber opera, and a unique recital by an opera star at the Festival du Monde Arabe.

The program will include some of today’s greatest artists of today as well as many Canadians making a name for themselves on the world’s major stages. Here is a look at what 2018-19 will offer opera lovers in Montreal.

The season opens with Verdi’s timeless classic “Rigoletto” in a production starring James Westman in the title role and Myriam Leblanc as Gilda. Tenor Rame Lahaj makes his Montreal debut as the Duke, while Carlo Montanaro, also in his debut season with the company, conducts. Michael Cavanagh directs the production with sets by Robert Dahlstrom.

Performance Dates:  Sept. 15–22, 2018

Wagner’s “Das Rheingold” comes to life in a spectacular new production by Brian Staufenbiel. The opera, which comes to the company for the first time in over 20 years, is set to star Ryan McKinny, Nathan Berg, in his company debut, Aidan Ferguson,  Caroline Bleau, Gregory Dahl, Roger Honeywell, and Steve Michaud. Julian Close, Soloman Howard, David Cangelosi, and Meredith Arwady will also take part in the production and will all make company debuts. Michael Christie conducts the monumental piece.

Performance Dates: Nov. 10–17, 2018 

Terence Blanchard and Michael Cristofer’s acclaimed opera “Champion” makes its Canadian Premiere. James Robinson brings his acclaimed Washington National  Opera production to the stage with Arthur Woodley and Aubrey Allicock in their company debuts alongside Catherine Anne Daniel, Brett Polegato, and Chantale Nurse. George Manahan conducts in his company debut.

Performance Dates: Jan. 26–Feb. 2, 2019

Bizet’s “Carmen” gets a new production by renowned filmmaker Charles Binamé. The cast will include a young slew of Canadian artists including Krista de Silva in the title role, Antoine Bélanger as Don Jose, Christopher Dunham as Escamillo, and France Bellemare as Micaëla. Alain Trudel conducts the work.

Performance Dates: May 4–11, 2019

The company will also bring the WNO’s production of “Twenty-Seven” by Ricky Ian Gordon & Royce Vavrek. The Chamber opera will star artists of the Atelier Lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal and chamber musicians Marie-Ève Scarfone on piano and Stéphane Tétreault on cello. Oriol Tomas directs the production.

Performance Dates: March 23–31, 2019

L’Opéra au Festival du Monde Arabe will present an evening with the great soprano Joyce El-Khoury at the Arab World Festival in a fusion of opera and Middle Eastern music. Laurent Philippe will accompany the acclaimed soprano on piano.

Performance Date: November 1, 2018