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Calgary Opera Announces New Artistic Director

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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 calgaryopera.com 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 www.calgaryopera.com.


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