Opéra Queens Presents ‘A Night of 1000 Cleopatras’

By Afton Wooten

Photo credit: Lauren Halasz

Canadian indie opera company Opéra Queens is set to present “A Night of 1000 Cleopatras” in Montréal from August 9-12.

Lucas Bouk, Ryan Colbert, Vanessa Naghdi, Laura Corina Sanders, Rain Saran Senavinin, and drag diva Tanya Smania explore the myths, misconceptions, and legacy of Cleopatra through curated arias, ensembles and other works. The audience will enjoy pieces from Händel’s “Giulio Cesare,” as well as rarely performed works by Barber, Leroux and Massenet. Also included on the program are the newly commissioned world premieres by Morgan-Paige Melbourne and a new opera, “Cleopatra Built” by Dr. Jay Marchand Knight, which is based on the E. E. Cummings poem.

“A Night of 1000 Cleopatras” is directed by Sheree Spencer and Lauren Halasz and offers a fresh perspective of Cleopatra from a “BIPOC and queer-trans lens, exploring issues such as race, gender, sexuality, and parenthood.”

Opening night will feature an interactive panel discussion and presentation on “Cleopatra Built” at at Jeunesses Musicales’ Joseph-Rouleau Hall. This event will also be streamed online through Zoom on a pay-what-you-can basis.