After a three-month international search, Edmonton Opera’s Board of Directors is thrilled to announce the appointment of our new Artistic Director, Joel Ivany. “Over the past 58 seasons, Edmonton Opera has built a proud foundation, and we’re in an opportune position to expand the ways in which we serve our community,” says Thomas Bradley, Board Chair. “The entire team is excited for a new era of opera in Edmonton, and we feel that Joel is the perfect person to lead the company into the future as we emerge from the pandemic.”
“Edmonton is very familiar to me and my family, and I’m incredibly excited and grateful to work at Edmonton Opera right here on Treaty 6 territory,” says Joel, having moved from Toronto earlier this summer when his wife, Lebanese-Canadian soprano Miriam Khalil, was appointed to the voice program’s faculty at the UofA. “It has many wonderful memories such as my first full opera that I ever directed as well as the various productions that both my wife and I have lucky to have been apart of.” Joel directed his first ever production at Opera Nuova in 2007 and later made his debut at Edmonton Opera directing a new production of The Tales of Hoffmann in 2013. “Edmonton has great energy and is such a wonderful place to raise a family. It has been such a great start living here and making Edmonton our home.”
Joel is known for pushing the boundaries of opera, and has been called “Canadian opera’s enfant not-so-terrible.” In 2010, he founded Against the Grain Theatre in Toronto where he will continue to devote time. Joel has adapted and translated over ten operas presented in unexpected venues, and was named an Arts Hero by The Globe and Mail in 2020 for his work directing the critically-acclaimed digital Messiah/Complex. He has also directed over 50 productions for opera companies across North America and Europe including The Canadian Opera Company, Vancouver Opera, and Minnesota Opera. Joel currently leads Banff Centre’s “Opera in the 21st Century” Program where he mentors the next generation of singers and opera creatives.
When asked what Edmonton audiences can expect from future programming, Joel shares “The last year and a half has shown us how opera is evolving and morphing into many other outlets. I’m hoping to embrace that change at Edmonton Opera while paying respect to where this art form came from. I think we’re going to embrace all that opera can be in the future.”
All of us at Edmonton Opera are looking forward to collaborating with Joel as we plan to reopen with Puccini’s La Bohème at the Jubilee Auditorium this February!