poster image from Cosi fan tutteA free concert Sunday will mark the debut of Abridged Opera, Windsor’s first independent opera company.

Alum looking to introduce opera to Windsor audiences

Opera may be an acquired taste, but a new company is hoping to foster a hunger for it in Windsor audiences.

Music alumna Erin Armstrong Dickau (BMus 2007) founded Abridged Opera, the city’s first independent opera company, and is preparing to launch its premiere season with a free “sneak preview” this weekend.

The concert, Sunday in the auditorium at Walkerville Collegiate Institute, will feature excerpts and scenes from five works: Wolfgang Mozart’s 1790 Così fan tutte, Georges Bizet’s 1875 Carmen, Engelbert Humperdinck’s 1893 Hänsel und Gretel, Richard Strauss’ 1910 Der Rosenkavalier, and Benjamin Britten’s 1954 The Turn of the Screw.

It’s just over an hour of performance, says Armstrong Dickau, with some exposition for audiences unfamiliar with the form.

“We’re trying to educate people by breaking down aspects of opera to show the different sides of the art,” she says. “We want to make opera accessible to people who aren’t used to it.”

Members of the company, many of whom are UWindsor graduates, hope to fill a void in the lively local arts scene. Armstrong Dickau spent time out of the city “living in her car,” she says, pursuing a career. Coming back to Windsor made sense for her as an artist and a professional.

“As far as opera goes, Windsor is kind of a blank slate,” she says. “We can colour it together.”

Meet Abridged Opera will begin at 2:30 p.m. February 12. Walkerville Collegiate Institute is located at 2100 Richmond Street. Learn more about the company at