Opera Mariposa is a critically-acclaimed company working to make opera more accessible. As Canada’s first entirely, openly disability-led and run opera company, we’re dedicated to creating inclusive opportunities for emerging and underrepresented artists, and have been recognized as “[one of] Canada’s key indie players” (Opera Canada Magazine). Since our launch in 2012, past mainstage productions have been hailed as “well-honed” (Opera Canada), “delightful” (Review Vancouver) and “a stroke of genius” (The Voice), while our present digital offerings have reached audiences around the globe, and our annual Benefit + Awareness events have raised over $128,000 for a variety of charities and healthcare programs.
We believe that opera can be for everyone. We work with both disabled and non-disabled artists to present compelling, critically acclaimed programming that engages diverse communities. We love finding ways to welcome more people in, and to support emerging and underrepresented artists and creatives.
Our passion for accessibility has led us to offer a wide array of free events and content; we have also brought artists out into the community through our Repertory Concert Artist Program, and explored interdisciplinary works through the Mariposa Theatre Wing. In 2019 we became one of the founding members of Indie Opera West, a network of independent companies dedicated to fostering innovation and collaboration, building capacity, promoting equity and diversity, and supporting the operatic art form across Western Canada. We are members of the Association for Opera in Canada and the Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance, and currently advocate for accessibility on Actsafe Safety Association‘s Performing Arts Standing Committee.
“Opera Mariposa stands at the forefront of Vancouver’s opera scene.”
The Vancouver Project
Opera Mariposa recognizes that deep systemic inequities exist in the arts world, and we must all actively work to redress them. As one small part of this, we strongly encourage those from underrepresented and equity-seeking groups to apply for all available opportunities, and to share access needs at any time. Note that while we are a disability-run company, we are excited to work with arts practitioners of all abilities and backgrounds.
As a disability-run company, Opera Mariposa is committed to the ongoing work of improving accessibility in our spaces, programming, communications and community. You can find our evolving accessibility policy here. If you have questions or if there is something that would enable you to more fully participate as an applicant, arts practitioner or audience member, we always encourage you to get in touch here or through our anonymous contact form.
Our first priority will always be the safety and wellbeing of our artists, team members, patrons and community. We regard safety as a collective responsibility – you can read our current Covid-19 policy here, and find our anti-harassment policy here. If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions for improvement, we encourage you to get in touch. If there are matters you prefer to address privately, you can reach out anytime through our anonymous contact form.
Opera & Disability
In honour of Disability Pride Month, Opera Mariposa launched a new website design and permanent archival home for the research blog Opera and Disability, which was founded in 2017 by musicologist Dr. Charlotte Armstrong, and which had become unavailable following her retirement from academia.
2023 Benefit + Awareness Month
Featuring the artistry of visual and multidisciplinary creators Christina Baltais, Lia Pas and Toni Scott; sopranos Lindsay Gillis and Jacqueline Ko; and pianists Maria Hwa Yeong Jung, Angus Kellett and Michael Onwood, Mariposa’s annual Benefit + Awareness Month raised over $12,000 for the ME | FM Society of BC.
May 2022 Benefit + Awareness Campaign
Opera Mariposa’s tenth annual Benefit + Awareness campaign showcased disabled and chronically ill artists such as Jacqueline Ko, Robin Hahn, Christina Baltais and Toni Scott. It featured online music, videos, artwork, shopping, and prizes, raising over $12,000 in support of the ME | FM Society of BC.
Holding Space for Disabled & Chronically Ill Opera Artists in Canada
In partnership with Loose Tea Music Theatre, Opera Mariposa launched a monthly series to foster dialogue and build community for disabled and chronically ill Canadian opera artists. The first online session took place as part of #IndieFest 2021, supported by re:Naissance Opera and Tapestry Opera.
May 2021 Benefit + Awareness Campaign
Opera Mariposa’s ninth annual Benefit + Awareness campaign featured soprano Jacqueline Ko, tenor Lyndon Ladeur, pianist Nina Horvath and Youtuber Robin Hahn. The online event raised over $10,000 for the ME | FM Society of BC – bringing our company’s charity fundraising total to over $100,000 since Mariposa’s inception.
Making Opera Accessible
Against the backdrop of a global pandemic and a worldwide reckoning with systemic inequities, Opera Mariposa hosted an online panel about disability, accessibility and inclusion in opera. Presented in English and ASL as part of re:Naissance Opera’s #IndieFest 2020 (formerly #IndieOperaWeek).
Opera Treats launch
With support from the City of Vancouver and Creative BC, Opera Mariposa spent the fall of 2020 prototyping safer music-making practices during the pandemic. The result was the launch of ‘Opera Treats’: an online series of bite-sized opera videos from Mariposa’s award-winning artists.
May 2020 Benefit + Awareness Campaign
After the pandemic halted plans for an in-person production, Opera Mariposa decided to create our first all-digital Benefit + Awareness event. Thanks to overwhelming community support, we raised nearly $10,000 for the ME | FM Society of BC and high-risk chronically ill community members.
Puccini’s farcical family drama was presented alongside a programme of fully staged Italian opera scenes, and opened to overflowing houses and unanimous critical acclaim. The production was hailed as “comedy gold” and “brilliant from start to finish” (Opera Canada Magazine).
Opera Mariposa’s summer showcase combined shopping and singing, with a costume and props sale from 12-6pm featuring multiple vendors, alongside a fully costumed afternoon concert. Critics hailed the “wondrous voices”, “exquisite movement” and “visually stunning” costumes.
The Impossible Dream
Multi-award-winning soprano Jacqueline Ko teamed up with pianist Karen Shumka to celebrate the tenth anniversary of her first-ever Benefit + Awareness show (presented prior to Opera Mariposa’s inception). The performance, prize giveaway and dessert buffet raised over $17,000 for the ME | FM Society of BC.
Fantastic Songs and Where to Find Them
Opera Mariposa made our debut at the Vancouver Opera Festival, with a costumed community engagement performance featuring culturally-diverse repertoire performed by soprano Jacqueline Ko, tenor Lyndon Ladeur, baritone Cameron Killick and pianist Angus Kellett.
Establishment of Indie Opera West
Opera Mariposa became one of the founding member companies of Indie Opera West, a network of independent companies dedicated to fostering collaboration and innovation, building capacity, promoting equity and diversity, and advocating for opera across Western Canada.
Così fan tutte
Stage director Robin Hahn and music director Ian Dives brought a classic opera into the 21st century with a beach-themed, body-positive take on Mozart’s Così fan tutte with an LGBTQ+ twist, featuring two casts of multi-award-winning artists from across North America and Europe.
In Mariposa’s sixth annual Benefit + Awareness show, singers Jacqueline Ko, Brittony LeFever and Lyndon Ladeur took the stage with pianist Nina Horvath in a performance hailed as “gripping”, “heartfelt” and “an emotional journey”. The event raised over $15,000 for the ME | FM Society of BC.
Opera in the Woods
Opera Mariposa made our Whistler debut as part of the inaugural season for the Whistler Chamber Music Society, providing a fun and informative introduction to the operatic art form with soprano Kathryn Nickford, tenor Lyndon Ladeur, baritone Jason Cook and pianist Nikolai Maloff.
Un ballo in maschera
Our first co-production with Heroic Opera featured two casts of artists from across five continents, stage directed by Adam Da Ros and music directed by Richard Epp. Critics praised the “remarkable” show for its “incredible voices, good staging and sumptuous costumes” (Entertainment Vancouver).
Go for Opera! encore
Performing opera highlights alongside excerpts from Mariposa’s next production, International touring sopranos Heidi Muendel, Nancy Hasiuk and Robin Hahn returned alongside pianist Angus Kellett, and joined by mezzo-soprano Melissa Ratcliff, tenor Mark Pepe, and baritone William Liu.
Here I Stand
In Mariposa’s fifth annual Benefit + Awareness show, soprano Jacqueline Ko, pianist Angus Kellett and friends performed to raise over $15,000 for the ME | FM Society of BC, in a cross-genre show hailed as “delightfully sweet and intimate, yet also powerful and raw” (Living Myth Magazine).
Go for Opera!
Opera Mariposa brought a hit European concert to Canadian shores, showcasing international sopranos Heidi Muendel and Nancy Hasiuk (fresh from concert tours in Spain and Germany) performing alongside soprano Robin Hahn, baritone Andrew Greenwood and pianist Angus Kellett.
Prima Donna: A celebration of women in opera
In partnership with the City of Richmond, Opera Mariposa highlighted women in opera (and debuted music from a new feminist opera, Alma) in two performances featuring award-winning sopranos Allison Cociani, Robin Hahn, Jacqueline Ko and Kathryn Nickford and pianist Angus Kellett.
Dido and Aeneas + La serva padrona
In partnership with the West Coast Opera Studio, Opera Mariposa gave promising young voice students the opportunity to participate in a “phenomenal” (SAD Mag) fully staged production, showcasing them in two Early Music operas at Vancouver’s historic Metro Theatre.
People Like Us
Mariposa’s fourth Benefit + Awareness show featured a cast of singers, actors and dancers in a new musical theatre revue directed by Dominique Wakeland, with assistant direction and dramaturgy by Catherine Saul. The acclaimed production raised $4,400 for the National ME/FM Action Network.
Mariposa Theatre Wing launch / Master Class
Opera Mariposa launched the Mariposa Theatre Wing with Terrence McNally’s Tony Award-winning play about opera legend Maria Callas. Critics hailed the “tour de force” production, which was directed by Adam Da Ros and starred Jessie Award-winning actor Laura Di Cicco as Callas.
Tour De Force
In Opera Mariposa’s third annual Benefit + Awareness show, performers Jacqueline Ko, Robin Hahn, Kyle Preston Oliver and Chris Feige presented some of the most scene-stealing moments from musical theatre, and raised over $7,600 in support of the National ME/FM Action Network.
Repertory Concert Artist Program launch
Opera Mariposa expanded our opportunities for emerging artists by launching the Repertory Concert Artist (RCA) Program, bringing performers out into the community for a year-round array of commissioned concerts. The first RCA event took place at the German Canadian Care Home.
From Wolfgang to Wagner
Opera Mariposa launched the spring season for the City of Richmond’s Minoru Chapel Opera series with two costumed concerts featuring sopranos Jacqueline Ko and Robin Hahn, bass-baritone Lars Klotz (matinée show), baritone Jason Cook (evening show) and pianist Roger Parton.
Hansel and Gretel
Opera Mariposa’s first touring production was a family-friendly take on Humperdinck’s classic Christmas opera, presented in English at venues across the Lower Mainland. The “magical”, “riveting” and “superb” production featured a fresh-faced cast of emerging performers from across North America.
Opera Mariposa launched our third season with a new vision of Puccini’s masterpiece, set in a ravaged Europe during World War II. Reimagined by emerging director Sergio Augusto Flores and featuring two dream casts, critics hailed the production as “powerful,” “compelling” and “poignantly beautiful.”
Menotti’s lighthearted satire about communication and miscommunication was hailed as “laugh-out-loud-funny” with a “sophisticated delivery” by critics, and presented alongside a concert of English-language arias, featuring a guest appearance by the performers of Fraser Valley Stage.
In Mariposa’s second Benefit + Awareness show, sopranos Jacqueline Ko and Robin Hahn and pianist Angus Kellett created a “passionate and passionately sung” musical theatre revue about adversity and transformation, and raised over $13,000 for the BC Women’s Hospital Foundation.
Opera Mariposa’s second season launched with a modern twist on a Donizetti’s classic comedy, featuring two casts of emerging artists. Critics hailed the production as “delightful,” “well-honed” and “an excellent harbinger of more well-cast and well-directed operas to come” (Opera Canada).
La serva padrona
Opera Mariposa’s second opera featured the stage direction debut of Robin Hahn, and was hailed as “a masterpiece of controlled mayhem” (Review Vancouver). Presented alongside a concert of Handel favourites, it was accompanied by baroque chamber orchestra under the music direction of Ian Dives.
For Opera Mariposa’s first Benefit + Awareness show, soprano Jacqueline Ko and pianist Angus Kellett were joined by guest artists Robin Hahn and Zeus Ghadban to perform in support of the new Complex Chronic Diseases Program at BC Women’s Hospital. The event raised over $10,000 for the cause.
Opera Mariposa launched our first opera season with one of the art form’s hidden treasures: Mozart’s Der Schauspieldirektor (The Impresario), directed by Sean McQuillan and conducted by Ian Dives, featuring a cast of emerging artists and a new translation of the libretto.
Opera Mariposa launch / Witches, Waifs & Wives
Opera Mariposa was founded by best friends Jacqueline Ko and Robin Hahn (age 20) and Jacqueline’s sister Stephanie Ko (age 22). The young company launched with a lavishly costumed gala concert showcasing the great women of opera, and was greeted as “a stroke of genius” (The Voice).