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Bob McPhee, General Director and CEO of Calgary Opera

For the past two summers, Calgary’s East Village has become a fantastical playground for both opera enthusiasts and those not acquainted with the art.

“We are thrilled and amazed by the support we’ve seen for our outdoor summer opera festival — the only one in Canada,” says Bob McPhee, general director and CEO of Calgary Opera.

“Last year, 59 communities outside of Calgary were represented among our attendees, and we’ve seen people from as far as Florida.”

Opera in the Village truly makes opera accessible to all, he says.

“A formal sitting intimidates some people, so a few years ago we decided to take the opera to the people in an environment where they would feel at ease,” says McPhee. “The response has been nothing short of phenomenal.”

The festival is in its third year, and despite some very poor weather last year, Calgarians and people from across Canada have clearly embraced the concept with upwards of 1,500 people a day on site.

“We’ve had to make some adjustments, because the East Village has seen lots of development over the last couple of years, which is wonderful, but it also leaves us with a little less room,” says McPhee.

“But we are really appreciative of all the love we’ve been shown by those in the East Village as they have made it clear they want us there and are willing to work with us to make it happen and accommodate us.”

This year The Mikado, the classic comedic opera by Gilbert & Sullivan, will be the highlight. There will also be family friendly matinee performances of The Scorpions’ Sting. Both operas are performed in a 900-seat open-air tent.

The festival will be held Aug. 13 to 22 in the RiverWalk Plaza in East Village.


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