Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Canada 2017 - Canadian Opera

ISSUE DATE: 4 February 2017
STAMP SIZE: 32 x 32 mm

The booklet contains five pairs of stamps, The first three stamps shine the spotlight on award-winning bass baritone Gerald Finley, internationally-acclaimed soprano Adrianne Pieczonka, and late director Irving Guttman, known as ‘the father of opera in Western Canada.’ The final two stamps honour the 1967 work Louis Riel, which romanticizes the life of the legendary Métis leader while Filumena is the tale of an Italian immigrant who was the only woman to be hanged in Alberta.


Peter Strain Illustration
Peter Strain is an AOI Award winning Illustrator
working and living in Belfast. 


His work is inspired by film and music as well as social, political 
and cultural issues. He tackles these with a highly distinctive hand lettering style, bold imagery and humour.

Represented by Début Art Ltd. U.K & U.S.A 

Bold, exuberant and unmistakably creative, the design of this stamp issue on Canadian Opera most assuredly mirrors the art form it reflects. Canadians have long considered traditional opera as entertainment and a connection to European culture. However, it took until 1967 for Canada to produce an opera it could call its own. Commissioned to celebrate the country’s centennial, Louis Riel – composed by Harry Somers based on a libretto by Mavor Moore with Jacques Languirand – romanticizes the life of the legendary Métis leader. 


This year, to mark the work’s 50th anniversary, it is being revived by Toronto’s Canadian Opera Company. Filumena – another grand homegrown offering, composed by John Estacio with a libretto by John Murrell – tells the true story of an Italian immigrant who was the only woman to be hanged in Alberta.


Calgary Opera is to stage it once again, this time in early 2017. The stamp issue also sings the praises of three talented Canadians: world-renowned performers bass-baritone Gerald Finley, soprano Adrianne Pieczonka and director Irving Guttman, known as the father of opera in western Canada.

The creative leaps taken in the style of lettering and colours used in these first-ever stamps by creative director Gary Beelik and designer Kristine Do of Toronto’s Parcel Design and illustrator Peter Strainreflect the team’s experience in book cover and poster design. According to Beelik, since the dark, dramatic background played such a big part in the overall design of the continuous, five-stamp souvenir sheet, the challenge was to make it also work for the booklet, where the background was not so apparent. “I wanted to utilize all of the real estate, create one flowing element that would connect all the pieces, and depict continuity without sacrificing individuality,” he says. “Against that powerful background, the collage illustrations, speech bubbles and clippings allowed us to do justice to what was a complex subject.”

Stamp images and description thanks to Canada Post