(Vancouver, B.C.) – Early Music Vancouver (EMV) announced today the dates for this year’s summer festival along with a new name. The 2023 Early Music Vancouver Summer Festival (previously named Vancouver Bach Festival) will take place July 27 to August 5 at various venues including SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, Christ Church Cathedral, Pyatt Hall, The Orpheum Annex, West Vancouver United Church, the Barnett Recital Hall at UBC and St. James Community Square.
Early Bird tickets will be available from April 3 to May 14 online at www.earlymusic.bc.ca and by phone (Monday to Friday from 10:00 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.) at 604-732-1610. Ticket prices for each concert are available online, and Early Bird tickets range in price from $19 to $68.
The theme of the 2023 Early Music Vancouver Summer Festival is WOMENinSIGHT – celebrating women composers, librettists, and performers of the past and present. Inspired by Christine de Pizan (1364-ca.1430) – the revolutionary writer who questioned the centuries-old treatment of women and their prescribed place and role in society – WOMENinSIGHT explores the impact and the role of women throughout history via a musical lens.
“There has not been a broken link in women’s creativity in the past ten centuries and more; only periods in history when patriarchal ruling systems kept the works of women away from the light,” says EMV’s Artistic & Executive Director, Suzie LeBlanc, C.M. “Our role is to shine a light on women’s creative thoughts and works, from the past to the present, in order to close the gaps made by history.”
The world premiere of The Queen of Carthage, co-produced by EMV and re:Naissance Opera, kicks off this year’s Festival on July 27 at 8:00 p.m. at SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts. Featuring Charlotte Siegel (soprano), Marisa Gold (dancer|choreographer), Debi Wong (stage director), Catalina Vicens (music director) and EMV Festival Players, this interdisciplinary performance is a powerful reclamation of the story of Dido, The Queen of Carthage, and her legacy as a political leader, an empire builder, and a woman of colour.
EMV is also thrilled to welcome award-winning musician Catalina Vicens as this year’s Festival Artist-in-Residence. Born in Chile and currently residing in Italy, Catalina Vicens is recognized by international press as “one of the most interesting musicians in the field of early music.” Her approach to historically-informed performance and musicological research has led her to become one of the most versatile and sought-after historical keyboard performers and teachers of her generation. In 2013, she founded ensemble Servir Antico, with whom she aims to shed light on the lesser-known repertoire and intellectual heritage of the Humanistic Period (13th-16th century), while using the concert stage to share with the audience the voices of these visionaries of the past as well as to amplify new voices. In 2021, Ms. Vicens was named curator of the Tagliavini Collection in Italy, one of the largest historical keyboard collections in Europe, and artistic director of Museo San Colombano in Bologna. She is also harpsichord/research lecturer at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels (Belgium) and Visiting Professor of Harpsichord at Oberlin Conservatory (USA), amongst many other prestigious appointments.
The 2023 Early Music Vancouver Summer Festival brings together more than 60 artists from around the globe and includes one special event and 11 concerts, including one by donation concert at St. James Community Square. The Festival lineup is as follows:
Special Event: Rondeau in Carthage | July 27 at 6:00 p.m. | Nuba Gastown and SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts
Join EMV and special guests for a sumptuous Middle-Eastern dinner followed by the world premiere of The Queen of Carthage – the new interdisciplinary performance opera co-produced by Early Music Vancouver and re:Naissance Opera. VIP tickets to this event include dinner with musical accompaniment, an auction of exclusive items, the best seats in the house to the performance, and a post-performance chat with the opera’s artists. Only 100 tickets available and are on sale now.
Opening Concert – World Premiere of The Queen of Carthage | July 27 at 8:00 p.m. | SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts
A seamless blend of Baroque and contemporary song and dance, this interdisciplinary performance is a powerful reclamation of the story of Dido, The Queen of Carthage, and her legacy as a political leader, an empire builder and a woman of colour. This performance opera features commissioned new works by contemporary composers Jessica McMann, Robyn Jacob and Afarin Mansouri, along with those of Baroque composers Henry Purcell and John Dowland. This project places Dido through a prism in which her story as a multifaceted leader, lover and outcast are shown in their fullness.
Il Ponte di Leonardo | July 28 at 7:30 p.m. | Christ Church Cathedral
Marco Beasley (tenor), a leading figure in Renaissance music, joins ensemble Constantinople under the direction of Kiya Tabassian, to immerse us in the audacious, imaginative world of Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings. In 1502 da Vinci drafted the plans for a bridge in Constantinople (now Istanbul) that was to span the Bosporus, but it was never built. This concert celebrates the originality of an artist and scientist who left a profound mark on the history of humankind and builds the bridge he envisioned between East and West.
The Well-Tempered Organ | July 29 at 2:00 p.m. | West Vancouver United Church
The ‘well temperaments’ of Bach’s day were tuning systems carefully designed to let keyboardists play in every key without re-tuning their instruments. Inspired by Bach’s famous Well-Tempered Clavier, Alexander Weimann (organ) has assembled a new collection of pieces in all twenty-four major and minor keys. This concert showcases the extraordinary range of Bach’s organ writing, seen through the lens of Mr. Weimann’s profound artistry and musical knowledge.
Songs Without Words: Women in Music in the Middle Ages and Renaissance | July 30 at 3:00 p.m. | Pyatt Hall
This recital by EMV’s Artist-in-Residence Catalina Vicens features songs without words on medieval organetto, virginals, harpsichord, and organ. In Medieval and Renaissance times, only courtesans or women living in exceptional circumstances, like Isabella d’Este, were permitted to sing in public. They found ways around this by playing the keyboard and letting their fingers do the talking.
Our City of Ladies | August 1 at 7:30 p.m. | Christ Church Cathedral
Founded and directed by Catalina Vicens, Servir Antico breathes new life into European vocal and instrumental music from the age of Renaissance Humanism. With Our City of Ladies, the ensemble continues to explore Christine de Pizan’s (1364-1430) The City of Ladies – an allegorical city she conceived to defend and protect women and their right to education. Servir Antico’s journey is to expand the walls of the City started five centuries ago and to invite everyone to take part in its existence.
The Bach Parodies | August 2 at 1:00 p.m. | Christ Church Cathedral
While the concept of ‘parody’ is today associated with humor and satire, in the context of music composition, it refers to the creative process of recycling musical material. This program pays homage to Bach, showcasing an eclectic variety of Bach-inspired musical parodies. Featuring Jessica Korotkin (cello and director) and Diederik van Dijk (cello), this concert includes works by J.S. Bach, Mozart, Gounod, and Korotkin.
The Ladies Vespers | August 2 at 7:30 p.m. | Christ Church Cathedral
During the 17th century, women composers were most often either nuns educated in convents or the daughters of musical families such as Florence’s Caccini clan. The works presented in this concert come from both the secular and sacred worlds of 17th-century Italy, written for celebration in the cloister and private devotion in the home. This music abounds with all the inventiveness, refinement, and energy of the age of Monteverdi. Directed by Alexander Weimann and featuring Nadine Balbiesi, Lieselot De Wilde, Myriam Leblanc, Jane Long, and Ellen Torrie (sopranos); Liz Hamel, Emma Parkinson, Vicki St. Pierre, and Krisztina Szabo (altos); along with members of Elektra Women’s Choir and EMV Festival Players.
Atempor/elle: In Search of Inner Coherence | August 3 at 1:00 p.m. | The Orpheum Annex
A woman, with all her strengths and vulnerabilities. Timeless, not belonging to the present or the past, with no choice but to face herself. She digs through the layers of her past, present and future to reconcile herself, fragmenting herself to better consolidate all her identities. Atempor/elle is a duet in which music and dance form a single voice — the voice of a soul in an inner quest for coherence. Featuring Stéphanie Brochard (dancer) and Margaret Little (viola da gamba).
Milton in Love: The Birth of Opera in the Eternal City | August 3 at 7:30 p.m. | Barnett Recital Hall, UBC
Milton in Love paints a portrait of the English poet John Milton’s sojourn through Rome where he fraternized with the Illuminati, attended opera and oratorios, and became enamored with the singing of soprano Leonora Baroni. The laments display the sensuality, ecstasy and eroticism of early Baroque Rome. Featuring Nadine Balbiesi, Myriam Leblanc, and Ellen Torrie (sopranos); and ensemble Atalante directed by Erin Headley.
Party Like It’s 1694! Celebrating Elizabeth Jacquet de la Guerre | August 4 at 7:30 p.m. | St. James Community Square
By the age of five, harpsichord prodigy Elizabeth Jacquet de la Guerre would enthrall the court of Louis XIV with her performances; she went on to become one of the greatest composers and music educators of the ‘Grand Siècle.’ In this by donation concert, EMV Next Generation artists Ai Horton (soprano) and Elana Cooper (violin) along with Stéphanie Brochard (baroque dance) and members of the Baroque Orchestra Mentorship Programme explore the music of this brilliant and precocious artist. Directed by Chloe Meyers.
A Woman’s Voice in Bach’s World: Christiane Mariane von Ziegler | August 5 at 7:30 p.m. | Christ Church Cathedral
Christiane Mariane von Ziegler was anything but anonymous in the city of Leipzig. One of Germany’s preeminent poets, she was also one of its most outspoken advocates for women’s access to a public voice. From 1725 to 1740, she vigorously defended women’s rights to improved education and literary enterprise. She was also one of J.S. Bach’s esteemed librettists and a rare woman’s voice in the Lutheran liturgy. This programme celebrates the two Leipzig artists’ short but fruitful creative partnership. Directed by Alexander Weimann and featuring Krisztina Szabo (mezzo-soprano), Philippe Gagné (tenor), Sumner Thompson (baritone), and Pacific Baroque Orchestra.
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About Early Music Vancouver (EMV):
Early Music Vancouver acknowledges that we operate on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.
Early Music Vancouver’s concerts offer a platform for cross-cultural dialogue and exploration of diverse perspectives and relationships with the past. Under the leadership of Artistic & Executive Director, and internationally acclaimed soprano, Suzie LeBlanc, C.M., EMV presents a packed performance calendar with 40+ live performances and digital concerts a year featuring some of the most renowned artists in the early music genre drawn from all parts of the globe.
In addition, Early Music Vancouver presents an annual summer festival (including an artist-in-residence component), produces Notations (a series of informative behind-the-scenes podcasts) and presents online courses. EMV also offers a Baroque Orchestra Mentorship Programme with UBC, plus a BC Scholarship Programme for professional-track music students or active professional musicians seeking to develop skills in early music performance.
Early Music Vancouver (EMV) has been a much-loved, and vital contributor to Vancouver’s cultural scene for more than 50 years. Live performances take place at venues such as Christ Church Cathedral, the Chan Centre, St. Andrew’s Wesley United Church and Pacific Spirit United Church. www.earlymusic.bc.ca