Belfry sweeps up opera

Special show includes audience participation

The Belfry Theatre, 1291 Gladstone Ave., and Pacific Opera Victoria present a new production of Let’s Make An Opera and The Little Sweep by Benjamin Britten and librettist Eric Crozier.

Part play, part opera, Let’s Make An Opera and The Little Sweep are part of a worldwide celebration of Britten’s centenary.

Directed by Rachel Peake and conducted by Giuseppe Pietraroia, Let’s Make An Opera and The Little Sweep stars Rebecca Hass, Charlotte Corwin, Michael Colvin, Giles Tomkins, Mary-Ellen Rayner and the audience. In The Little Sweep the audience is invited to be part of the chorus for the opera.

Act One of the program is a play. Let’s Make An Opera portrays an adventure in collaboration,  as kids and grownups create an opera they will perform together. They learn to write words they sing. They hold auditions, wrangle sets and costumes, and survive the chaos and panic of the dress rehearsal.

The Little Sweep is the actual opera, and Act Two of the evening’s program. It is the tale of a young sweep who gets stuck up a chimney and is rescued by plucky children who plot to keep him safe from his brutal master.

Let’s Make An Opera and The Little Sweep are part of Pacific Opera Victoria’s Britten Festival, which began with the delightfully witty Albert Herring at the Royal Theatre and continues with Noye’s Fludde at the Church of St. John the Divine and is a collaboration with the Victoria Conservatory of Music and Let’s Make An Opera and The Little Sweep; productions that, true to the composer’s intent, involve youth, community, and professional artists in a collaborative creation of opera beyond the opera house.

“Britten designed his works for community collaboration,” said Timothy Vernon, POV’s artistic director.  “He challenged us to infiltrate all aspects of a community – the youth and novice artists, singers, actors and musicians, believing that the creation of art is communal.”

Tickets for the special community event March 2 are $50 and include a catered pre-show silent auction beginning at 6:30 p.m., the performance at 7:30 p.m., and a catered post-show reception with the cast.

To book your tickets call the Belfry box office at 250-385-6815. The show runs March 2 to 10.