Saskatoon Opera was incorporated in 1978. Since that time we have presented various classical operas and light operas. Over the years we relied on varying mixes of amateur, student, and semi-professional and professional talent.
Beginning in 2000, when Barbara Montalbetti began her tenure as Artistic Director, Saskatoon Opera entered the professional opera tier in Canada. We cast lead roles from the pool of professional singers, conductors, and artistic teams from Saskatchewan and Canada.
Since then we have mounted our own unique productions, tailing those productions to fit various venues and tapping into the deep pool of production specialists in our city. We have staged a varied and challenging repertoire, and the artistic quality has grown each year. Bizet’s Carmen in 2003, starring Julie Nesrallah, was a milestone for Saskatoon Opera. We had the resources to mount a full-scale production of this very challenging opera requiring complex personnel, staging, costuming, lighting, etc. Each succeeding year featured growth. In 2008, Saskatoon Opera moved permanently to a the Remai Art Centre.
Many wonderful milestones were reached by Executive Director, Karen Reynaud in the 2010s. The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra which has lead to many co-productions beginning with Merry Christmas Stephan Leacock by Neil Weisensel in 2018. Saskatoon Opera started receiving operational funds from Canada Council for the Arts in 2017.
At the end of the 2020 season both Karen Reynaud and Barbara Montalbetti retired from Saskatoon Opera leadership, Spencer McKnight was hired in 2021 permanently as the new General Director.
Saskatoon Opera is recognized as a regional opera company based in Saskatoon. It is the only Saskatchewan opera company that produces fully-staged opera with orchestra in the Remai Arts Centre. We are an incubator for young artists, emerging professionals, designers, stage directors, music directors, orchestra musicians and technicians in this city, province and country.
Our artistic mission is to promote and produce professional quality operas integrating all of the resources available to us through our connections in our artistic community and partnerships with our colleagues and stakeholders. Our artistic vision
compels us to continually strive to present opera in new and relevant contexts for our modern day audiences.
Saskatchewan Opera Association would like to acknowledge that we make music on the river bank of this city where music has been made for generations before us.
We are situation on Treaty 6 land, the traditional territory the Cree and the homeland of the
Métis. We pay our respects to the First Nations and Métis ancestors of these lands and
reaffirm our relationship with one another. Saskatoon Opera Association is committed to
engaging in artistic programming and partnerships that will work towards reconciliation and
promoting cultural connections.