About Us

Our Story

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 2012, our mainstage productions have been hailed as “well-honed” (Opera Canada), “delightful” (Review Vancouver) and “a stroke of genius” (The Voice), while our annual Benefit + Awareness events have raised over $100,000 to date for a variety of charities and healthcare programs.

Our Mission

We believe that opera can be for everyone. We work with both disabled and non-disabled artists to present compelling, critically acclaimed productions for diverse audiences. We love finding ways to welcome more people in, and have a mission to create opportunities for emerging and underrepresented artists and creatives.

Our passion for accessibility has led us to offer a wide array of free events and digital programming; we also bring artists out into the community through the Repertory Concert Artist Program, and explore interdisciplinary works through the Mariposa Theatre Wing. In 2019 we became one of the founding members of Indie Opera West, a network of independent performing arts companies dedicated to fostering collaboration and innovation, building capacity, promoting equity and diversity, and supporting and advocating for the operatic art form across Western Canada.

“Opera Mariposa stands at the forefront of Vancouver’s opera scene.”

The Vancouver Project

Our History

November 2021

Holding Space for Disabled & Chronically Ill Opera Artists in Canada

In partnership with Loose Tea Music Theatre, Opera Mariposa launched a monthly series aimed at fostering dialogue and building community for disabled and chronically ill Canadian opera artists. The first session took place as part of #IndieFest 2021, supported by re:Naissance Opera and Tapestry Opera.

November 2021

May 2021

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. It 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.

May 2021

December 2020

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).

December 2020

September 2020

Opera Treats launch

With support from the City of Vancouver and Creative BC, Opera Mariposa spent the fall of 2020 prototyping safe 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.

September 2020

May 2020

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.

May 2020

November 2019

Gianni Schicchi

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).

November 2019

August 2019

Opera Bazaar

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. 

August 2019

May 2019

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, raffle contest and dessert buffet raised over $17,000 for the ME|FM Society of BC.

May 2019

April 2019

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.

April 2019

March 2019

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.

March 2019

November-December 2018

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. 

November-December 2018

June 2018

Toward Tomorrow

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.

June 2018

June 2018

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. 

June 2018

November 2017

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).

November 2017

August 2017

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.

August 2017

May 2017

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).

May 2017

December 2016

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.

December 2016

October 2016

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 female-composed opera, Alma) in two performances featuring award-winning sopranos Allison Cociani, Robin Hahn, Jacqueline Ko and Kathryn Nickford and pianist Angus Kellett.

October 2016

July 2016

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.

July 2016

May 2016

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.

May 2016

February 2016

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.

February 2016

May 2015

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.

May 2015

April 2015

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.

April 2015

March 2015

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.

March 2015

December 2014

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.

December 2014

October 2014

Suor Angelica

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 Sergio Augusto Flores and featuring two dream casts, critics hailed the production as “powerful,” “compelling” and “poignantly beautiful.”

October 2014

July 2014

The Telephone

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. 

July 2014

May 2014

The Butterfly

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.

May 2014

October 2013

Don Pasquale

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).

October 2013

June 2013

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.

June 2013

May 2013

The Singer

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.

May 2013

November 2012

The Impresario

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.

November 2012

March 2012

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).

March 2012

Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

Opera Mariposa recognizes that deep structural and systemic inequities exist in the performing arts world, and we must actively work to redress them. As part of this, we specifically encourage those from underrepresented and equity-seeking groups to apply for all available opportunities. We should also note that while we are a disability-run company, we are excited to work with artists of all abilities and backgrounds.

Accessibility

As a disability-run company, Opera Mariposa is committed to the ongoing work of improving accessibility for our productions, programming and communications. We are in the process of developing a new accessibility policy; meanwhile, if you have questions or if there is something that would enable you to more fully participate as an applicant, artist or audience member, we always encourage you to get in touch.

Health & Safety

Our first priority will always be the safety and wellbeing of our artists, patrons and community members. You can read our current COVID-19 safety protocols here, and find our anti-harassment policy here. If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions for improvement, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. If you have concerns you prefer to address privately, you can reach out through our anonymous contact form here.