Giuseppe Pietraroia, conductor
Giuseppe Pietraroia is Associate Conductor for both the Victoria Symphony and Pacific Opera. As a guest conductor he has been engaged by l’Orchestre Métropolitain, Orchestra London, Vancouver Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Calgary Philharmonic, Hamilton Philharmonic, Okanagan Symphony, Regina Symphony, Kingston Symphony and Thunder Bay Symphony.
His extensive opera engagements with Pacific Opera include productions of Il barbiere di Siviglia, La traviata, La bohème, Lucia di Lammermoor, Norma, Rigoletto, Manon Lescaut, Madama Butterfly, La Cenerentola, Tosca, and Let’s Make an Opera/The Little Sweep. In addition, he has conducted productions for l’Opéra de Montréal, l’Opéra de Québec, Opera Lyra Ottawa, Edmonton Opera, Opera New Brunswick, Calgary Opera’s Emerging Artist Program, and l’Institut Canadien d’Art Vocal.
With Victoria Choral Society, where he was Music Director for seven seasons, Maestro Pietraroia conducted performances of Handel’s Messiah and Mozart’s Mass in C minor with the Victoria Symphony, a choreographed production of Orff’s Carmina Burana in collaboration with Ballet Victoria, Dvořák’s Stabat Mater, David Fanshawe’s African Sanctus, and the Duruflé and Fauré Requiems.
Maestro Pietraroia has recorded a cd with soprano Marie-Josée Lord and l’Orchestre Métropolitain for the ATMA label, which won a Felix award granted by l’ADISQ and was also nominated for a JUNO award.
Giuseppe Pietraroia is the recipient of the George and Jane Heffelfinger Pacific Opera Victoria Artist of the Year Award and the Canada Council’s Jean-Marie Beaudet Award in Orchestral Conducting.
Seán Dagher, cittern & vocals
Seán Dagher is an active performer, arranger, and composer of music from various folk and classical music traditions: Celtic, Baroque, Medieval, Arabic, French-Canadian, and Maritime. He is a member of Skye Consort and is the co-artistic director of La Nef. Seán sings and plays Irish bouzouki, mandolin, oud, and banjo.
Seán has also provided arrangements for other ensembles and artists, including Camerata Nova (Winnipeg), Chor Leoni (Vancouver), Arion, Palade Musica, Les Voix Humaines, La Mandragore, Pierre Lapointe (all Montreal), Shannon Mercer, I Furiosi (Toronto), Les Voix Baroques, Choeur Louisbourg (Moncton), Cantatica (Pennsylvania), and the Nashville Baroque Orchestra. Other groups he has played with include the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Caprices, Les Boréades, Le Petit Rien.
Seán’s voice is widely known from his recordings for the Assassin’s Creed video game series, including Black Flag. His renditions of sea shanties and other songs from the games have been streamed some 70 million times. His own Shanty of the Week video series receives thousands of views a week and has a loyal following the world over.
Seán’s compositions and arrangements have been performed across Canada, the United States, and Europe. He has worked with the Festival du Monde Arabe creating shows of Middle Eastern and North African music. He has arranged and composed music for audio books, with story-teller and musician Suzanne De Serres, Youth Program Director for La Nef, and for American author Sandra Gulland. He has been a composer and sound designer for theatre productions.
He has been nominated for numerous OPUS and ADISQ awards and participated in the ADISQ-winning CD, La Traverse Miraculeuse with La Nef and Les Charbonniers de l’enfer. He has won OPUS awards for Creation of the Year (Leave Her, Johnny), Album of the Year (Skye Consort & Emma Björling) and Youth Production of the Year (Le chat et le gondolier, La Nef).
La Nef, folk ensemble
Founded in Montréal in 1991, La Nef creates, produces, and distributes concerts, multimedia and multidisciplinary shows, physical and digital albums, musical tales, and CD-books. Its activities are aimed at audiences of all ages.
Its wide-ranging repertoire includes early music, the music of oral traditions, world music, and experimental and contemporary approaches to musical creation. According to the approach chosen, its performances integrate theater, movement and dance, visual arts, video, and now, with advances in technology, digital arts.
All these elements contribute to the high artistic quality, stylistic diversity, and distinctive character that are the company’s unique signature.
Over the course of years, La Nef has presented its shows in North and South America, Europe, and Asia. Often nominated or listed as a finalist for its concerts, shows, discs, and CD-books, La Nef counts Opus, ADISQ, and CFMA prizes among its many awards and distinctions.
Members of the Pacific Opera Chorus
The Pacific Opera Chorus comprises adults of all ages and includes community singers, aspiring professionals, and vocal students at the Victoria Conservatory of Music and the University of Victoria. Over the last decade, with the support of a generous anonymous grant, Pacific Opera has offered a growing range of development opportunities for the Chorus. These include workshops on dance, movement, stage combat, and more, master classes by visiting artists, and other programs designed for members of the Chorus, as well as for other students of voice, and for practising artists working in the fields of music, theatre, stage design and direction.
“First mention has to go to the chorus, which did such an extraordinary job they came close to eclipsing the rest of the production. Under the direction of Giuseppe Pietraroia, the 30-member group of young vocal students, sprinkled with more experienced singers, raised the roof of the Royal Theatre when called upon, but also played their changing roles as soldiers, factory girls, townspeople, women of questionable moral character and bandits with both skill and commitment. Their sound was cohesive and powerful, but also sophisticated and refined. Astonishing for a volunteer chorus.” (Opera Canada, reviewing Pacific Opera’s October 2022 production of Bizet’s Carmen.)