Opera is storytelling at its finest. Performed live it is uniquely thrilling, hugely powerful and considered the most emotionally direct of all art forms. Opera can make us see, feel and hear the world differently. It touches on the big human themes such as life, love, death, loss, passion, joy, anger – all wrapped into one. Quite simply, opera is the stuff of life.

On January 16, opera returns to FirstOntario Concert Hall (formerly Hamilton Place) in An Evening at the Opera. And your HPO is bringing back one of Hamilton’s most iconic figures in the world of opera: Conductor Daniel Lipton.

Since his arrival in Hamilton in 1986, Daniel Lipton, former artistic director of the now defunct Opera Hamilton (Opera Ontario when the company performed in Kitchener-Waterloo) worked tirelessly to bring Hamilton prominence on the Canadian opera scene. Lipton touched the souls of many in his numerous productions of grand opera on the mainstage in FirstOntario Concert Hall (formerly Hamilton Place). In addition to standard repertoire such as Un Ballo in Maschera, Il Trovatore, Don Pasquale, Faust and Norma Opera, Lipton presented the Canadian premieres of Giordano’s Andrea Chénier (1987) and Verdi’s I Due Foscari (1989). Lipton also introduced the successful Popera concerts to showcase leading operatic soloists, including many Canadian artists such as Russell Braun, Louis Quilico, Ben Heppner and Isabel Bayrakdarian, in concert performances of popular operatic excerpts.

Lipton went on to hold the position of artistic advisor for the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra’s 1999-2000 Season, becoming a well-loved member of Hamilton’s music community. Even before his move to Hamilton, Lipton had attracted considerable attention as the bold, founding artistic director of Colombia Opera in Bogata, where he conducted a staggering 30 productions along with 33 symphony concerts over seven seasons. Lipton’s impact on opera was strongly felt in Hamilton and, interestingly enough, he was responsible for inspiring young HPO musicians in the early stages of their career.

HPO Principal Bass Rob Wolanski has played with the HPO since 1994 and recollects, “It was many years ago, as an engineering student at McMaster, that I first heard the HPO in FirstOntario Concert Hall (formerly Hamilton Place) playing Verdi under Daniel Lipton. Then and there I decided to devote my life to music. It’s so wonderful to now be a part of this orchestra and welcome Maestro Lipton back to conduct a concert of operatic favourites!”

Don’t miss this stunning art form on January 16 at 7:30pm at FirstOntario Concert Hall (formerly Hamilton Place), as Maestro Daniel Lipton returns to Hamilton with the best opera arias and overtures for the HPO stage.