New stage for emerging opera singers

Jacqueline Ko and Robin Eder-Warren, both 20 and co-founders of a new opera company dedicated to featuring young singers.  -
Jacqueline Ko and Robin Eder-Warren, both 20 and co-founders of a new opera company dedicated to featuring young singers.
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They may be duelling divas, but Robin Eder-Warren and Jacqueline Ko have managed to find enough common ground to launch their own opera company.

The 20-year-olds recently formed Opera Mariposa as a platform for young artists seeking singing experience. The company’s first concert will feature the voices of the co-founders as they put on their best diva act in Witches, Waifs and Wives: The Great Women of Opera.

“It’s a showcase of some of the greatest and best loved characters for soprano in the operatic repertoire,” said Richmond’s Eder-Warren. “We’re really looking forward to (playing) the characters mentioned in the title...as well as some of the very sassiest characters that opera has to offer.”

Eder-Warren serves as managing director of the fledgling company. She began developing her soprano voice a decade ago.

“My singing teacher was phenomenal and happened to be an opera singer,” she said. “Between the time I started and by the time I was six years in, at some point I had become interested in singing opera for the rest of my life.”

After graduating high school, she studied opera at University of Manitoba and later began “pond hopping,” honing her craft in Europe and performing and teaching here.

Eder-Warren has her sights set on an opera career, but said it’s “unbelievably hard” to do in North America.

“In Austria, Germany and Switzerland in particular, there are really a plethora of houses with a lot more opportunity than there is in Canada, unfortunately.

“ Within Canada, if one would want to make a name for themselves, they would ultimately have to move to Toronto and hope to get into the (Canadian Opera Company), but really to pursue the full career, young artists have to inevitably move elsewhere.”

Enter Opera Mariposa, whose mission is to create performance opportunities for emerging artists in need of experience.

“In the Lower Mainland that’s not the easiest thing to do, so we’re very very glad that we’re able to create a couple more [opportunities] through Opera Mariposa,” said Eder-Warren, who plans to further her career by relocating to Europe within five years.

Opera Mariposa’s first show, March 31, will feature lavish costumes to accompany the grand music. Another show is planned in the fall—a double bill of two short operas.

Witches, Waifs and Wives: The Great Women of Opera

•Saturday, March 31, at 7 p.m.

•Marpole United Church, 1296 West 67th Ave. in Vancouver

•Tickets, $13 to $15, at the door, operamariposa.com or 778-918-9498

•Richmond’s now regular stage for opera—Minoru Chapel—hosted two concerts by Vancouver Opera singers on March 7. Up next is Burnaby Lyric Opera on April 4 and DragonDiva Operatic Theatre on May 2. For information call 604-276-4300 or visit http://tinyurl.com/OperaNights.

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