With new opera, East Vancouver proves it’s about more than just craft beer

Alma: The Story of the Girl Who Glowed

Allison Cociani (centre) and the cast of Alma, including Martina Govednik, Julie Duerichen, Cameron Killick, Katrina-Gohk.

A brand new, modern opera made in East Vancouver is opening next Thursday, June 22.

Written by local composer Allison Cociani, Alma: The Story of the Girl Who Glowed is a fusion of opera, ballet, and burlesque. Cociani put together a company, East Van Opera, specifically to present the work, which features five singers, five dances and 12 musicians.

Alma: The Story of the Girl Who Glowed runs June 22-25 at Metro Theatre, 1370 Marine Drive. Read more below.

Alma: The Story of the Girl Who Glowed tells the story of a heroine with special powers who is abducted and must rely on her own resources to survive. Cociani, who is an award-winning soprano, calls it “a feminist, fairytale opera”.

According to a recent interview with the singer/composer, she wrote the opera over three years. “It started with my father passing away,” Cociani told the Georgia Straight. “It was horrible. I was really destroyed over it. I needed to do something to take that away. It was always something I wanted to do, write an opera, so I decided to do it.”

Among Alma’s co-creators is music director Ian Dives, who has conducted everything from baroque opera to modern choral works.

“What impressed me first about Alma was the music,” recalls Dives, who will conduct a chamber orchestra. “Like nothing I’d ever heard before, it is completely contemporary but also melodic and evocative, like a new Mozart. Then I fell in love with the opera’s timeless story, which is about a young woman who must use her wits and inner resources to save herself. When we cast the opera and were able to see the artists breathe life into what Allison had written – to me, that’s when I truly realized how magical this work is, and how exciting it is to bring audiences something completely original.”

The show features an award-winning cast from across the Lower Mainland. The cast includes Cociani as the title character, as well as mezzo-soprano Martina Govednik, soprano Julie Duerichen, soprano Katrina Goh, and baritone Cameron Killick. Featured dancers include Charlotte Telfer-Wan, Rachel Helten, Amanda Helen Collige, and Desiree Sunshine and Gillian Hogg.

Alma: The Story of the Girl Who Glowed

Allison Cociani and Martina Govedik in Alma: The Story of the Girl Who Glowed, coming to the Metro Theatre June 22-25.

Alma: The Story of the Girl Who Glowed runs at Metro Theatre (1370 Marine Dr.) June 22-24 at 8 p.m. and June 25 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $ 37.50 + GST in advance/$ 42.50 + GST at the door. Tickets are available at the box office, 604-266-7191 or tickets.metrotheatre.com.

Watch: Alma: The Story of the the Girl Who Glowed trailer.

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With new opera, East Vancouver proves it’s about more than just craft beer