Beauty's Beast

Jason Cook, Anna Shill and Allison Cociani in the background as the Enchantress appear in the opera Beauty’s Beast coming to Lake Country’s Creekside Theatre.

East Van Opera, an opera company dedicated to local and emerging artists, will present a concert of their original opera Beauty’s Beast, at Lake Country’s Creekside Theatre on July 4.

This production has roots in the Okanagan with the music penned and performed by Lake Country composer and soprano, Allison Cociani.

Beauty’s Beast features a multi-award-winning cast telling the story of the classic fairytale, Beauty and the Beast.

East Van Opera is dedicated to the production of new music and to elevating women in the performing arts.

This version of Beauty’s Beast is a female-driven production. Artistic director Cociani, writer Anna Shill and the cast and crew hope to serve as role models for up-and-coming female artists.

Compassion and selflessness are recurrent themes in the story, but the female protagonist is also an advocate for critical self-discovery. She urges both herself and her male counterpart along a journey to self-knowledge and healthy inter-relationship.

If the audience is a little unsure of the contemporary opera and new music, Cociani believes they’ll connect with the classic Beauty and the Beast story.

East Van Opera likes to welcome those who might otherwise be scared or doubtful of attending an opera.

The company doesn’t go along with the assumption that advanced knowledge or education is required in order to “understand” opera.

Their aim is to offer a contemporary opera that is relatable, familiar in its content, though innovative in its form.

The music is described as haunting and beautiful.

Beauty’s Beast is musically directed and composed by Cociani, and features Cociani as Belle and the Enchantress, baritone Jason Cook, as Beast, and Perri Lo as their collaborative pianist.