Vancouver Opera presents Puccini’s La Bohéme

Amid the bustle, a lone visitor puts a record on a vintage gramophone from which plays the opening bars of Giacomo Puccini’s famous opera, transporting the audience back in time.”

— Vancouver Opera

VANCOUVER, BC, CANADA, January 2, 2019 / — An extravagant production of the greatest love story arrives in time for Valentine’s Day

February 14, 16, 19 & 21 at 7:30pm & February 24 at 2:00pm
Queen Elizabeth Theatre

Vancouver Opera’s 2018/2019 season and festival bring us a lush new production of Puccini’s La Bohème that is quite literally designed as an enormous vintage postcard of Paris. The curtain rises on a modern-day flea market, with tourists taking selfies, sellers touting their wares and an accordion duo entertaining the crowd. Amid the bustle, a lone visitor puts a record on a vintage gramophone from which plays the opening bars of Giacomo Puccini’s famous opera, transporting the audience back in time.

Canadian designer and director duo André Barbe and Renaud Doucet – the team behind VO’s Turandot in 2017 – has created a beautiful and gloriously over-the-top production, first seen at the Scottish Opera where it was highly successful. The setting is updated to the interwar years of the 1920s when American artists and writers flocked to Paris to live the bohemian life.

Literally meaning ‘the bohemians’, this tragic love story of passion, poetry and poverty, with uplifting humorous moments, features soprano France Bellemare, tenor Yosep Kang and baritone Phillip Addis and is directed by world-renowned conductor Judith Yan.

Quebec’s young soprano France Bellemare makes her Vancouver Opera debut in the role of Mimi having previously portrayed the tragic love interest at the Musica Viva Opera in Hong Kong. Her exquisite passion and beauty have inspired audiences through her budding career. In 2018, Bellemare was Marguerite in Faust at both the Societe d’Art Lyrique du Royaume and the Orchestre de Trois-Rivière. Also in 2018, she lent her warm, velvet vocals to the role of The Mother in The Wall by the Cincinnati Opera.

Korean-born tenor Yosep Kang marks his Vancouver Opera debut as the romantic Rodolfo, transfixed by the beauty of Mimi as he embraces his love for her through all of its highs and lows. Kang has previously portrayed Rodolfo in the Vienna State Opera, Berlin’s Deutsche Opera, Art Centre Melbourne and the Sydney Opera House. His career has seen him perform on countless European stages with this production marking his Canadian debut. In 2018 his engagements included Britten’s War Requiem with the KBS Symphony Orchestra in Seoul, South Korea as well as Frankfurt Opera and Hamburg State Opera.

Canadian baritone Phillip Addis brings his bright and smooth voice to the role of Marcello. During the 2017-2018 opera season Addis performed with the Calgary Opera in the title role in Eugene Onegin and the Edmonton Opera in the title role of Don Giovanni. He has previously performed with the Minnesota Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Canadian Opera Company and the Ruhrtriennale festival. He was last seen at the Vancouver Opera as Conte Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro.

Canadian Soprano Sharleen Joynt brings her scintillating high range to her Vancouver Opera debut as Musetta in this production. In 2018, Joynt debuted with the Opera Philadelphia and the Charleston Symphony. During the 2017/2018 opera season, Joynt performed Musetta with the Pacific Opera Victoria and debuted with the Anchorage Opera and the Tanglewood Music Festival. Additionally, she performed with the Bach Society of St. Louis and the Theatre Augsburg’s Summer Concert Series.

Canadian conductor Judith Yan makes her Vancouver Opera debut following an international 2017/2018 season conducting the Seattle Opera, Hong Kong Ballet and the Korean National Ballet. Yan was a Staff Conductor with the San Francisco Opera for several years following her time with the Canadian Opera Company as the first Conductor-in-Residence. She is currently the Artistic Director of the Guelph Symphony Orchestra and Music Director and Principal Conductor of Opera on the Avalon.

While La Bohéme is sung in Italian, English SURTITLES™ will be projected above the stage.

‘Jazz-age colour and vitality” The Guardian
“Opera at its most exuberant” The Herald
“Stunningly designed with plenty of theatrical fizz” The Times

Opening night of La Bohéme is Thursday February 14, 2019 at 7:30pm, with subsequent evening performances on Saturday, February 16, Tuesday, February 19 and Thursday, February 21 at 7:30pm, and a 2:00pm matinee on Sunday, February 24. All performances take place at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre (Georgia and Hamilton), Vancouver. Tickets ranging in price from $50 to $175 are available at the Vancouver Opera Ticket Centre, by telephone (604-683-0222), or online at

Vancouver Opera has the continuing support of The Canada Council for the Arts, Canada Heritage, the BC Arts Council and BC Provincial Government, the City of Vancouver and Vancouver Civic Theatres.

Production Sponsor: Mission Hill Family Estate

Production Patrons: Yoshiko Karasawa, Mike & Kathy Gallagher, Alan and Gwendoline Pyatt Foundation.

Cynnamon Schreinert
+1 604-802-2733
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Source: EIN Presswire

Extraordinary Teacher revered in New Biography

Trip to Puerto Rico

The Unlikely Journey of a Teacher Extraordinaire

Simmonds’ biography weaves disparate threads from Russia, China, Chile, France, St. Kitts into a vibrant tapestry revealing a fiercely independent woman dedicated to the education of children.”

— Ira Sumner Simmonds

BROOKLYN, NY, UNITED STATES, January 1, 2019 / — Extraordinary Teacher Revered in New Biography 'FROM SIBERIA TO ST KITTS: A Teacher's Journey'
Author and educator Ira Simmonds reveals the remarkable story of Zenaida Katzen, an extraordinary teacher who made a difference.

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – January 1, 2019 – Author Ira Sumner Simmonds' new book, 'FROM SIBERIA TO ST. KITTS: A Teacher's Journey,' is a captivating and deeply researched biography of Zenaida Katzen, a master of foreign language instruction who embraced a comprehensive approach to teaching. Simmonds was a student of Katzen's in the 1960s on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts, and after his retirement from 25 years with the New York City public school system, he was compelled to learn all he could about the special woman who inspired him to become an educator.

When she arrived in St. Kitts in 1961 to teach French and Spanish to teenagers (mostly boys), Zenaida Katzen (Zina) had already lived an extraordinary life in Siberia, China, France and Chile. What Simmonds uncovered during his five years of painstaking research is the complex story of a dynamic, driven, independent woman who dedicated her life to education and advancing the lives of children.

Zina Katzen wasn't simply a French teacher or a Spanish teacher – she was an educator who believed in providing students with an experience while they were learning. In St. Kitts, she organized activities and programs outside the classroom, and was able to secure funding from a wealthy friend in China who supported her work. A chapter of Simmonds' book includes letters between Zina and her benefactor, offering a unique perspective into how Zina carefully managed the financial, educational and extracurricular needs of her students, and revealing a more personal side of Zina – an animal lover who was devoted to her mother and aunt, both of whom lived with her in St. Kitts.

Simmonds' story is beautifully written, thorough and includes photos of Zina, her students, friends, family and the places where she lived and taught. Thoughtfully placed throughout the narrative are French phrases and words, which contribute to the cadence of the story, and lend authenticity to its message.

"Everyone had a teacher who touched his or her life in a special way," says Simmonds. "I spent five years on a research journey traveling to Chile, Hong Kong, Shanghai, St. Kitts and France. I wrote the book to tell the world about this teacher extraordinaire who has profoundly touched the lives of an untold number of students in China, Chile and the Caribbean."

'FROM SIBERIA TO ST. KITTS: A Teacher's Journey' is published in paperback and ebook format by ISS Publishing and is now available on and

Review copies of 'FROM SIBERIA TO ST. KITTS: A Teacher's Journey' are available to media contacts upon request. Ira Simmonds is available for interviews.

About the Author
Born on the Caribbean island of Nevis, Ira Simmonds received a B.A. in French from St. Francis College, Brooklyn, New York, and M.A. and M.Ed. degrees from Teachers College, Columbia University, NYC. After a ten-year stint as House Manager at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, he spent the next twenty-five years in New York City Public Schools as a teacher, Assistant Principal and Acting Principal. He currently works as an educational consultant.

ISS Publishing

Ira Sumner Simmonds
ISS Publishing
+1 6465545551
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From Siberia to St. Kitts

Source: EIN Presswire