Opera 101

Join Edmonton Opera for a series of thought-provoking and informative panel discussions surrounding the 2014/15 season, including The Barber of Seville, The Magic Flute and Lucia di Lammermoor. This is a series of multi-disciplinary panels before each opera production, which offers context and perspective from the realms of history, political science, music and more.

The Barber of Seville: Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014, 7 p.m.
Staging Barber: The process of moving the story to stage. A discussion that will include a history of The Barber of Seville, its place in popular culture and a sneak peek at Edmonton Opera's current production. The panel for this discussion will be hosted by Stephan Bonfield, and will include Phillip Addis (Figaro), Robert Dean (conductor), Allison Grant (director) and Brianna Wells (University of Alberta doctoral candidate, English & film studies).

Stephan Bonfield
earned his BA in undergraduate music history and literature from the University of Toronto, and then his MA musicology (music theory) from the University of Calgary. He then moved to the faculty of medicine where he completed his MSc. in neuroscience at U of C where he is currently a research associate working in auditory behaviour and neurophysiology. He lectures at Ambrose University College in Calgary, teaching music history and advanced music theory. He is a senior examiner with the Royal Conservatory of Music in history and theory, and is a freelance arts reviewer for the Calgary Herald both in Calgary and the Banff Centre. He frequently gives talks at the Canadian Opera Company, Edmonton Opera and Calgary Opera.


Philip Addis is a rising star on the international stage. The Canadian baritone is praised for his creamy, bright voice and spell-binding yet sensitive interpretations in opera, concerts and recitals throughout Canada, the United States, Europe and Japan. Recent engagements featured Phillip’s debut at the Canadian Opera Company, appearances at the Los Angeles Operaand a return to Paris’s Opéra Comique, where he performed his acclaimed role of Pelléas in in Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande. Other recent engagements include performances with Pacific Opera Victoria, the Cincinnati Opera, Teatro dell’Opera in Rome, the Paris Opera, the Festival de Lanaudière and a debut at the London Proms.

Robert Dean made his Canadian debut in 1993 with a new production ofThe Pearl Fishers for Edmonton Opera. This was followed by a highly acclaimed La Cenerentola (recorded by CBC), Die Fledermaus, Abduction from the Seraglio, Lakme and John Estacio’s Filumena (also filmed for Canadian TV). Most recent performances include La Fille du Regiment, La Bohème, Don Giovanni, La Scala di Seta and Il Signor Bruschino (U.K.). He has also had a long association with Calgary Opera where he has recently conducted Lucia di Lammermoor, Falstaff and Der Fliegende Hollander.

Allison Grant recently directed and choreographed Die Fledermaus for Edmonton Opera, as well as an acclaimed production of Roméo et Juliette for Vancouver Opera. In past seasons she choreographed and performed in The Great Gatsby at Theatre London and directed Giulio Cesare (Halifax Opera Festival), The Auction (world premiere: Westben Festival), Die Zauberflöte (Sarasota Opera), Don Giovanni and Carmen (Opera Ontario),Cosi fan tutte (Vancouver Opera), L’Italiana in Algeri  (L’Opéra de Montréal) and A Meeting of Minds (Canadian Stage). She has directed or choreographed many revival productions at the Canadian Opera Company, including Semele,  and also directed the COC Ensemble performance. Upcoming: Le Nozze di Figaro (Sarasota Opera) and Il Barbiere di Siviglia (COC).

Brianna Wells is a doctoral candidate at the University of Alberta in the Department of English and Film Studies. Her doctoral research explores the circulation of opera in contemporary North America through public discourses, technologies of distribution, popular forms, and producing practices of Canadian and U.S. opera companies. Her research includes interviews with opera professionals across North America, and archival work at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, the Paley Centre for Media Studies and Opera America’s National Opera Center. Brianna received her MA in English from McGill University and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from the University of British Columbia. She holds a Canada Graduate Scholarship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and has recently published in 19th-Century Music and Opera America Magazine.

The Magic Flute: Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015, 7 p.m.
Host and panelists to be announced. 

Lucia di Lammermor: Wednesday, April 1, 2015, 7 p.m.
Host and panelists to be announced. 

All Opera 101 events are free in the Ledcor Theatre at the Art Gallery of Alberta, but please RSVP your attendance to education@edmontonopera.com.

You can view previous panel discussions on our YouTube channel:

Madama Butterfly: Opera 101

Salome: Opera 101

Tales of Hoffmann Opera 101

Eugene Onegin Opera 101