Early Music Vancouver’s Summer Festival Honours Women in Music


WOMENinSIGHT © Photo Courtesy of Early Music Vancouver

Get ready to experience an unforgettable journey through time and music with Early Music Vancouver’s (EMV) upcoming Summer Festival, WOMENinSIGHT. From July 27th to August 5th, this captivating event will feature 11 concerts and a special performance opera, showcasing over 60 talented artists from around the world.

This year’s theme of WOMENinSIGHT pays homage to women composers, librettists, musicians, and singers from past and present. The Festival draws inspiration from Christine de Pizan, a 14th-century writer and poet who questioned the mistreatment of women throughout history. Through a musical lens, WOMENinSIGHT aims to shed light on the works and creative thoughts of women that were once forgotten and marginalized.

“There has not been a broken link in women’s creativity in the past 10 centuries and more; only periods in history when patriarchal ruling systems kept the works of women away from the light,” said EMV’s Artistic & Executive Director, Suzie LeBlanc, C.M. “Our role is to shine a light on women’s creative thoughts and works, from the past to the present, in order to close the gaps made by history.”

Starting this year’s Festival with a bang is the world premiere of a new performance opera, The Queen of Carthage, co-produced by EMV and re:Naissance Opera. Witness the story of Dido, The Queen of Carthage, and her legacy as a political leader, an empire builder, and a woman of colour in this interdisciplinary masterpiece. With an astoundingly talented cast including soprano Charlotte Siegel, dancer and choreographer Marisa Gold, and music director Catalina Vicens, this performance promises to be a powerful reclamation of women’s history and creativity.

EMV is also proud to announce that award-winning musician Catalina Vicens will be this year’s Festival Artist-in-Residence.

Founder of the ensemble Servir Antico and known as one of the most interesting musicians in the field of early music, Vicens will bring her expertise and talent to the stage and provide a unique perspective on the lesser-known repertoire and intellectual heritage of the Humanistic Period.

A Musical Journey Through Time

Don’t miss Il Ponte di Leonardo at Christ Church Cathedral on July 28th, where Marco Beasley, a leading figure in Renaissance music, joins the ensemble Constantinople under the direction of Kiya Tabassian to immerse us in the audacious, imaginative world of Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings. This concert celebrates the originality of an artist and scientist who left a profound mark on the history of humankind and builds the bridge he envisioned between East and West.

On July 30th, catch Songs Without Words: Women in Music in the Middle Ages and Renaissance at Pyatt Hall. This recital by EMV’s Artist-in- Residence Catalina Vicens features songs without words on medieval organetto, virginals, harpsichord, and organ. In Medieval and Renaissance times, only courtesans or women living in exceptional circumstances, like Isabella d’Este, were permitted to sing in public. They found ways around this by playing the keyboard and letting their fingers do the singing.

Our City of Ladies takes the stage at Christ Church Cathedral on August 1st with a new look into European vocal and instrumental music from the age of Renaissance Humanism. With Our City of Ladies, Servir Antico continues to explore Christine de Pizan’s (1364-1430) The Book of the City of Ladies, which describes an allegorical city to defend and protect women and their right to education.

On August 4th, join the party at Party Like It’s 1694! Celebrating Elizabeth Jacquet de la Guerre in St. James Community Square, celebrating harpsichord prodigy Elizabeth Jacquet de la Guerre. By age five, de la Guerre would enthrall the court of Louis XIV with her performances. She became one of the greatest composers and music educators of the ‘Grand Siècle.’ In this by-donation concert, EMV Next Generation artists Ai Horton (soprano) and Elana Cooper (violin), along with Stéphanie Brochard (baroque dance) and members of the Baroque Orchestra Mentorship Programme, explore the music of this brilliant and precocious artist.

Closing out the Festival on August 5th, catch A Woman’s Voice in Bach’s World at Christ Church Cathedral. Christiane Mariane von Ziegler was anything but anonymous in the city of Leipzig. She was one of Germany’s preeminent poets and one of its most outspoken advocates for women’s access to a public voice. From 1725 to 1740, she vigorously defended women’s rights to improved education and literary enterprise. She was also one of J.S. Bach’s esteemed librettists and a rare woman’s voice in the Lutheran liturgy. This programme celebrates the two Leipzig artists’ short but fruitful creative partnership.

Early Bird tickets are available from April 3rd to May 14th, so take advantage of your chance to participate in this groundbreaking event. With performances at various venues, including SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, Christ Church Cathedral, Pyatt Hall, The Orpheum Annex, West Vancouver United Church, and St. James Community Square, this is a celebration you won’t want to miss.

Join EMV and special guests for a Middle Eastern dinner and auction of exclusive items at the Rondeau in Carthage event, followed by the world premiere of The Queen of Carthage. VIP tickets include:

  • Dinner with musical accompaniment.
  • The best seats in the house.
  • A post-performance chat with the opera’s artists.

With only 100 tickets available, be sure to grab yours before they’re gone.

The 2023 Early Music Vancouver Summer Festival is not only a celebration of women’s creativity and history but a testament to the power of music to transcend time and space. So mark your calendars and get ready to be transported to a world of wonder and discovery.

Visit earlymusic.bc.ca to book your tickets.

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Early Music Vancouver (EMV) has been a much-loved, and vital contributor to Vancouver’s cultural scene for more than 50 years. EMV presents a packed performance calendar with 40+ live performances and digital concerts  a year featuring some of the most renowned artists in the early music genre drawn from all parts of the globe. It also presents concerts in Victoria on Vancouver Island under the Pacific Baroque Series banner.


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