Producing two to five main-stage operas per season is enough to keep any company busy, but Edmonton Opera goes beyond to enthral new and experienced operagoers alike. The company has brought scores of scores to life since its 1963 inception, priding itself on being the oldest year-round opera company in the Prairie Provinces. With the help of ambitious, press-lauded performers, directors, and designers, as well as projected surtitles when necessary, audiences navigate the medium's lorgnette-combusting dramas and lush soundscapes. Insider knowledge abounds at Opera Talks, Opera 101 panels, and in the company's own Intermezzo magazine for those seeking a deeper understanding of the medium or for curious newcomers wishing to sing forlornly about a burned pot roast.
The VIP Kids Show combines music, comedy, and puppets into a kid-friendly production that’s packed with hilarious entertainment. Each 45-minute show proffers parents with an entertaining Saturday-morning option that’s sure to please restless progeny, preventing children from wasting time watching cartoons or fingerpainting on Grandma’s forehead as she sleeps. Special guests include the Kidprovisers, Edmonton's youngest improv troupe, creating impromptu comedy with fresh-faced aplomb. The Varscona Theatre's cozy, 176-seat space puts audiences close to the action, ensuring clear views of the stage.
Mayfield Dinner Theatre’s newly renovated playhouse boasts not only brand-new acoustic and lighting systems, but also an expanded buffet complete with a chocolate fountain and a chef-tended carving station. Salads, seafood, and other hot entrees await audiences before every show, then roll out again later in the evening for a mid-intermission snack. Recognized with Elizabeth Sterling Haynes awards in both 2011 and 2012, Mayfield Dinner Theatre offers the most professional dining-dramatics combo since the Tim Hortons all-donut puppet show closed last year.
X92.9 flexes a muscular mix of alternative-rock legends and tomorrow’s darlings as this summer’s outdoor X-FEST Calgary fills historic Fort Calgary with good vibrations. This year’s lineup springs from the earth like a talented series of Whac-a-Mole, featuring Jane’s Addiction. Recharged, regroomed, and sporting their first new album in years, Perry Farrell and the crew rock and rampage like veteran teenagers. Returning to Calgary to thank fans and get their toothbrush back, Weezer take the fest by the scruff of its neck and stroke its chin, eliciting audiences to purr along to their deep bowl of hits. X-FEST also features appearances by warhorse punkers Social Distortion, bounding enthusiasts House of Pain, and throbbing adventurists AWOLNATION. A slew of prime Canadian rockers is also on hand to charm attendees, including The Rural Alberta Advantage and Michael Bernard Fitzgerald.
The Comedy Factory’s gallery of local comics mines for laughs during standup routines that touch upon adult topics with calculated irreverence. Counted among the venue’s stable of regular performers are comedians with credits on the CBC and late night television, as well as a gaggle of improv troupes. Besides traditional comedy, the stage regularly hosts performances by magicians, ventriloquists, and confused snake charmers attempting to tame the microphone cable.
Named Billboard's top Hot 100 artist of 2010, electropop sensation Ke$ha electrifies fans with catchy tunes, punchy lyrics, and a larger-than-life persona. With a list of chart-topping hits that includes "TiK ToK," "We R Who We R," and "Your Love is My Drug," Ke$ha charms even the most curmudgeonly, highbrow ears with irreverent lyrics and taut, shimmering beats that stick in listeners' heads like peanut-butter-covered dreams. Presided over by a quirkily becostumed Ke$ha, the Get $leazy tour sucks fans into a nonstop, glitter-filled night of dancing, performance, and languor-shattering rapture. LMFAO, the tuneful twosome behind the high-energy hit "Party Rock Anthem," and electro-rapper Spank Rock complement Ke$ha's sonic spectacle with their own dulcet melodies.