The Vancouver Concert Opera Society treats audiences to purely musical renditions of beloved works warbled by preeminent opera singers. One of Giuseppe Verdi's most popular pieces, Rigoletto introduces listeners to the tragic story of a womanizing duke, his titular jester, and the jester's beautiful daughter. With classic songs of love, betrayal, and sacrifice, the opera's dark plot tugs on heartstrings and ties them into trick knots. Notable singers include internationally recognized, Vancouver-based tenor Frédérik Robert and Toronto-hailing baritone Keith O'Brien. Jesse Award–winning actor Bernard Cuffling interjects with English narration, preventing mystification in non-Italian speakers and comforting Italians who feel as though they are missing out on the traditional opera experience of language-barrier confusion.
Now that it has been fully restored, the Rio Theatre immediately recalls the splendour of its grand opening in 1938. Hiding behind the old-fashioned aesthetics, however, are a digital HD projector and surround-sound speakers that immerse filmgoers in an eclectic array of first-run blockbusters and cinema classics. Showing films again as of April 2012, the theatre’s movie selection ranges from sci-fi and horror to wholesome family films, though the program coalesces around a love for pop culture that the owners share with their most ardent fans.
Aside from the daily show times, cult classics—frequently in their original 35 mm form—screen at midnight on Fridays. Guests from all walks of life come out to these packed showings, where they can snack on popcorn made with real butter or win prizes for dressing in costume as their favourite character or key grip. The 420-seat theatre also hosts concerts and events throughout the year, including past performances by Janeane Garofalo and local musicians Bend Sinister.
Your seat will be in section C of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, which includes seats in the orchestra, mezzanine, and balcony; seats are assigned on a first-come first-serve basis, so redeem early to get the best spot. You will be charged a $2 handling fee (not covered by the Groupon) when you reserve your ticket.
Opera Pro Cantanti, Canada's inaugural repertory opera company, stages original productions of classics by renowned composers such as Bellini, Donizetti, and Verdi. This season, guests may choose from three performances of Verdi's La Traviata (September 11, October 10, and October 17), a musical tragedy about a courtesan who trades her happiness for love and a star quarterback for her fantasy-football team. The company will also present Verdi's Rigoletto, the tale of a cursed court jester, on September 25 before regifting it during the holiday season. On October 2, 9, 16, 30, and 31, the opera will tackle I Capuleti e i Montecchi, Bellini's retelling of Romeo and Juliet, with powerful arias and brawny libretti. Cambrian Hall's small, intimate theatre helps visitors connect with the singers on an emotional level without having to velcro themselves to the stage. Audiences can check the online schedule for additional productions later in the season.
David Gray's soothing folk-rock sounds and heartfelt lyrics have serenaded fans for nearly 20 years, earning the artist accolades and chart-topping hits in the United States and U.K. Gravelly voiced Gray mixes poetic introspection with ethereal guitar melodies to create songs that plumb soulful depths like existential octopuses. On his successful Lost and Found tour, Gray will supercharge his signature acoustics with live-performance electricity, performing a bevy of songs including numbers from his recent album Foundling. Groupon-holding spectators will sate aural appetites from level 3 seats—located in the outer banks of the orchestra and loge levels and in parts of the balcony—of the historical Orpheum Theater, with quadruple tier seating that provides ample views of every note as they flutter away from the stage and into the embrace of a nearby eardrums.