Canadian Opera issue sings the praises of Canadian talent
OTTAWA — In time for the 2017 opera season, Canada Post has launched five stamps celebrating two significant Canadian-penned operas and three individuals who helped to put modern Canadian opera talent on the world stage.
In their stamp design debut, Parcel Design Inc.’s creative director Gary Beelik and designer Kristine Do, with illustrator Peter Strain, have created a bold five-stamp issue that embodies the colour and drama of modern operatic performances.
Two of the highly theatrical stamps depict significant Canadian operas. Filumena — composed by John Estacio with a libretto by John Murrell — tells the true story of the only woman ever to be hanged in Alberta: an Italian immigrant convicted of murdering a police officer. The opera is being restaged by the Calgary Opera in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday, and held its opening performance on February 4. Commissioned to celebrate Canada’s centennial in 1967, Louis Riel — composed by Harry Somers and featuring a libretto by Mavor Moore in collaboration with Jacques Languirand — romanticizes the life of the legendary Métis leader. It is being restaged in 2017 to mark both the 50th anniversary of its debut by the Canadian Opera Company and Canada’s sesquicentennial.
The additional three stamps pay homage to the artists who bring magic to the stage. Bass baritone Gerald Finley and soprano Adrianne Pieczonka are regarded internationally as being among the greatest operatic voices on the modern stage. Director Irving Guttman, known as “the father of opera in western Canada” for his artistic vision, is credited with discovering and fostering some of the country’s greatest talent.
The issue includes a booklet of 10 Permanent domestic rate self-adhesive stamps (two of each design), measuring 32 mm x 32 mm, and a gummed souvenir sheet bearing a row of the five stamps. An Official First Day Cover, which incorporates lyrics from both operas, is cancelled in Calgary, Alberta. As with all 2017 stamp issues, Canadian Opera includes references to Canada’s sesquicentennial, which are visible when the stamps are illuminated by a black light.