Founded in Fall 2020 by Artistic Director Mike Fan aka drag diva Tanya Smania, Opéra Queens is a proudly Canadian, federally-incorporated non-profit organization presenting classical vocal music in "full colour". This means majority LGBTQ+ and IBPOC+ artists in drag, gender-bent, and queerified inclusive of all the aspects of the rainbow - regardless of skin, eye, hair colour or other factors including but limited to religion, sexuality, physical ability, gender, voice or body type, or other features that historically have separated and excluded artists. 

Based primarily in Montréal and Toronto with a growing number of American and other international board members and artists, new commissions include When Daylight Rises and re-imagined overtures to Samson et Dalila and Adriana Lecouvreur by Morgan-Paige Melbourne. Other projects included Tanya’s Secret, a queer reworking of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin fundraising for Kyiv Pride; a live-streamed Chez Pauline Viardot recital; live and filmed productions of Drama Queens featuring opera scenes of history, myth, and legend; as well as Latin Night on LatinX and HispanX identity, centred on the Canadian première of these wings are meant to fly (Sérpa & Kline), an opera on the Pulse Orlando tragedy. 

Initiatives such as the Opéra Queens Podcast spotlight queer and/or IBPOC artists and their allies with conversations taking audiences behind the stage through conversations on race, representation, and transcending heteronormativity and colonization in the operatic canon. Performances and events include collaborations with Pacific Opera Victoria, Canada's National Ballet School, Theatre Direct, Watershed Festival, McGill’s Queer History Month, Lucky Penny Opera, Waterloo Public Library, Greater Victoria Public Library, Schulich School of Music, Rainbow Reels Queer & Trans Film Festival, YES Montréal, and Kin Experience. 

Opéra Queens has already received nearly $200,000 of funding so far in its first two years of operation from the Digital Now and Public Outreach grants of Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Council for the Arts, Toronto Arts Council, Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), York Region Chamber Music, Queens University, and Queer McGill. Upcoming Opéra Queens prepares their new production A Night of 1000 Cleopatras - featuring a panel and show which will unpack the complexities of Cleopatra's legacy - exploring her continued race controversy, women in leadership, and the whitewashing of Egyptian history and culture as well those of other people of colour. To learn more, visit www.OperaQueens.ca or find them on social media @OperaQueens!

Header Photo: TamPhotography.ca