Cloisters and clowns: SOPAC's inaugural double-bill

Cloisters and clowns: SOPAC's inaugural double-bill

Jenna Simeonov

On February 2-5, 2017, the recently founded South Ottawa Performing Arts Collaborative presents its inaugural production, a double-bill of Puccini’s Suor Angelica and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci. The pair of works, bringing together opera’s “beauty and the beast”, are directed by Alaina Viau of Loose TEA Music Theatre, and music directed by Nadia Boucher.

We spoke wtih SOPAC founders Morgan Strickland and Tania Granata, about their first full-length production, and carving out their own space in Ottawa’s opera scene.

Tickets for Suor Angelica and Pagliacci start at $25. For details, click here.

Can you tell us a bit about the vision SOPAC, and your own history with the organization?

South Ottawa Performing Arts Collaborative was founded in early 2016 by myself, Morgan Strickland, and Tania Granata. As friends and colleagues, we realized that we had very similar desires for musical productions and music education in Ottawa. We worked together with students participating in Kiwanis Music festival in 2016 and through that process also concluded that there was an absence of live musical productions for professionals in Ottawa as well as education opportunities for our students.

We began in the summer time and developed “Take 1: Musical Theatre Camp” for young performers. A full-time day camp, we offered stage, dance, acting and singing training. The campers didn’t require any previous knowledge or experience and everyone achieved great success! We are looking forward to our second season in 2017.

Why did you choose Suor Angelica and Pagliacci as this year’s show?

Through conversations with close colleagues, we were approached about doing Puccini’s Suor Angelica and a short time later, paired its beautiful musical self with Leoncavallo’s beastly Pagliacci. It’s a pair that, as far as we were able to find, had never been a pair before, and we’ve surrounded ourselves with the juxtaposed idea of the beauty and the beast “out of the box” idea behind this double bill. We were also fascinated with the idea that neither production has been done frequently in Ottawa - they are a bit off the beaten path. From our director Alaina Viau’s vision of black and white versus colour, the shows own use of two opposing human natures but yet, at the end of it all, death - but for different reasons: sacrificial angst and truly brutal murderous desires. The shows are so human and tangible.

Do you have any favourite moments from either opera?

This is likely a debatably point. There are truly so many beautiful moments. Putting our heads together, some of the favourites include the Princess’s scene in Suor Angelica, as well as the finale when the nuns join the hall again for Salve Regina. In Pagliacci: The beauty and sincerity of the lover’s scene between Nedda and Silvio. Peppe’s aria in “The Play” from the balcony is also very inviting.


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