Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Calgary Opera Announces New Artistic Director

Jonathan Brandani Arrives from Italy to Lead Calgary's 2022-2023 Season

Calgary Opera Announces New Artistic Director

Calgary Opera is pleased to welcome Jonathan Brandani, a sought-after rising star of the classical music world, as the company's new Artistic Director. Calgary Opera audiences will remember Maestro Brandani as the conductor of the Calgary Opera's box office record-shattering 2019 production of Puccini's La Bohème.

As an international artist and father to two young boys, Mr. Brandani is passionate about youth education and expanding the inclusiveness of opera; bringing art beyond the theatre and into community spaces where everyone can contribute and enjoy. He and his family will relocate from Italy to Calgary this fall. Jonathan will devote his considerable energy to championing Calgary Opera's work in the community, programming the upcoming 2022-2023 50th Anniversary season, and leading the company's return to live performances in 2022.

"My wife and I are looking forward to putting down roots in Calgary and enrolling our children in school here. We are also excited to spend time in the mountains exploring the natural beauty of this part of the world. This city is very special and has a lot to offer us as a family," said Brandani. "Personally, I am looking forward to participating in, and contributing to, Calgary Opera's continued success. For Calgary Opera's 50th Anniversary we will showcase that opera is for everyone and do this by extending music into the local communities, engaging in important conversations, and ensuring the stories and the people on stage accurately reflect the diverse people in our community."

Maestro Brandani's career features renowned orchestras and opera companies around the world; from his hometown in Lucca, Italy (also the birthplace of legendary composer, Giacomo Puccini), to Ireland, Austria, the United States, Spain, Germany, and South Korea. He received an honours degree in Orchestra Conducting from the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna and holds a Master of Music in Orchestra Conducting from Yale University. After graduating in Piano, Jonathan studied Composition, Harpsichord and Historically Informed Performance Practice at the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna, and Musicology at the University of Pavia (Italy). He is also a laureate of the Merola Opera Program of San Francisco Opera.

Jonathan Brandani was drawn to Calgary Opera in part because of the company's many community and education initiatives, which have been invigorated with fresh energy and overwhelming interest during the pandemic. The introduction of Opera Labs and the Community Ambassadors Program in 2020, along with the continued success of Calgary Opera's Emerging Artist Development Program, Let's Create an Opera school program, and a digital recreation of School Tours, were all bright spots in the 2020-21 season.

Calgary Opera Announces New Artistic Director

"Our time away from main stage performances over the past eighteen months has given us the opportunity to renew and refocus our commitment to education programs, community engagement and the development of new opera works. As one of Calgary's core, enduring artistic institutions, Calgary Opera will emerge stronger and more engaged with our community from this challenging and thought-provoking year and a half," said Board Chair Jacqueline Pyke. "We recognized this search was an opportunity to find a leader whose values aligned with ours and who could bring exceptional artistic programming that reflected the diversity, inclusiveness and uniqueness of our community. We're delighted this opportunity led us to Jonathan and look forward to enjoying the impact he will have on our organization at this exciting time, approaching our 50th anniversary."

Calgary Opera will be continuing education and community engagement initiatives throughout the remainder of 2021 and will produce a selection of digital concerts. Main stage performance will return in January 2022 with Franz Lehár's operetta The Merry Widow. The light-hearted opera is sure to mark a triumphant return and will feature audience favourites like soprano Aviva Fortunata (Norma) in the title role, and tenor Andrew Love (Everest) as "Count Danilo". A blend of whimsical comedy, romance, and the delights of Belle Époque Paris in all its splendour, The Merry Widow sets out to entertain and amuse with wonderfully lavish new staging by award-winning Israeli director, Omer Ben Seadia, and conducted by Canadian Tania Miller. On stage January 29, February 2 & 4, 2022 at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium.

For the 2021-2022 season Calgary Opera has introduced a "No Risk" booking policy to assure ticket buyers they will be able to cancel tickets up to 24 hours in advance of the performance and receive a full refund.

Subscriptions for the 2021-2022 season, featuring main stage productions The Merry Widow and La Traviata, as well as Opera Brunch concerts at the Calgary Petroleum Club, are now available for purchase online at or by calling the Calgary Opera box office at 403-262-7286. Current season subscribers have until October 29, 2021, to renew their subscriptions or request seat changes. Single tickets for the 2021-2022 season go on sale November 15, 2021.

Calgary Opera looks forward to providing opportunities for audiences to meet and connect with Maestro Brandani in the very near future. For more information, please visit

Storybook Theatre Presents ELLA ENCHANTED in April Photo
StoryBook Theatre will host the Canadian premiere of Ella Enchanted. From April 7 - 22, 2023 on Tuesdays to Saturdays at 7pm and Saturdays & Sundays at 2pm, audiences will be welcomed to experience a show filled with love, community, self-love, identity and understanding.   

BLIPPI Wonderful World Tour Comes to Calgary in May Photo
Round Room Live and Moonbug Entertainment have announced that a new live show, Blippi: The Wonderful World Tour, will again bring the vivacious, energetic, and educational antics of global sensation Blippi to stages across North America, with a stop in Calgary, Alberta on Sunday, May 13.

Theatre Calgary Opens World Premiere of FORGIVENESS Photo
On Friday, March 10, Theatre Calgary in a joint presentation with the Arts Club Theatre Company (Vancouver) is thrilled to open the world premiere of the heartfelt and true story of Forgiveness by Mark Sakamoto, stage adaptation by Hiro Kanagawa, and directed by Theatre Calgary's Artistic Director Stafford Arima in Calgary. 

ESCAPE TO MARGARITAVILLE Comes to Calgary Next Month Photo
Escape to Margaritaville comes to Theatre Calgary next month. Performances run April 18 - May 13. Find your parrot shirt, grab your flip-flops, and head to Margaritaville - where a part-time bartender and singer in a rundown hotel in the tropics has fallen for a serious career-minded tourist.

From This Author - Vicki Trask

Vicki Trask is a Calgary-based writer and performer who has been a part of the theatre community since 2011. Previously, she wrote for OnStage Blog and is now incredibly excited to share her love o... (read more about this author)

Jupiter Theatre is Bringing Frankenstein Back to LifeJupiter Theatre is Bringing Frankenstein Back to Life
February 24, 2023

This theatrical performance from the critically-acclaimed Jupiter Theatre combines elements of puppetry, shadows, masks, movement and provocative design to bring to life a unique and spectacular production in Calgary. Frankenstein will take audiences on a haunting and thrilling journey in the theatre that they won't soon forget.

One Yellow Rabbit Presents Diane Flacks in GUILTOne Yellow Rabbit Presents Diane Flacks in GUILT
September 16, 2022

After a successful High Performance Rodeo: Spring Edition, One Yellow Rabbit (OYR) is thrilled to present the world premiere of the all-new play Guilt, created and performed by Diane Flacks and directed by Alisa Palmer.

September 6, 2022

Written in 1936, The House of Bernarda Alba is considered one of the masterpieces of Spanish theatre. Queer playwright Federico García Lorca wrote this all-female play as an analogy of the sexual and emotional repression he experienced throughout his life.

Canadian Premiere Takes Home 6 Awards at Last Weekend's AwardsCanadian Premiere Takes Home 6 Awards at Last Weekend's Awards
August 30, 2022

This year, the CAT Awards is recognizing productions that took place over the past two theatre seasons (July 2020 through June 2022). During this time there were a total of 34 productions from 14 different community theatre member companies, and 21 of these productions from 10 companies received nominations.

Vertigo Theatre Presents Stephen King's Classic Thriller MISERYVertigo Theatre Presents Stephen King's Classic Thriller MISERY
August 28, 2022

Vertigo Theatre kicks off it’s 46th season with their production of MISERY based on the novel by Stephen King, written by William Goldman, September 10 - October 15. MISERY is based on Stephen King’s classic psychological thriller and written by William Goldman, the same screenwriter of the 1990 movie.