Success of Lillian Alling underscores growing strength of BC’s cultural institutions, despite funding cuts

The sustained standing ovation that greeted the final chorus of Vancouver Opera’s Lillian Alling at the Queen Elizabeth last night was evidence of the growing strength of BC’s cultural institutions, despite the recent provincial funding cuts.

This world premiere, which garnered outstanding reviews, was commissioned by Vancouver Opera in partnership with the Banff Centre. Seven years in the making, it is based on a uniquely BC story that uses the province’s wilderness as a backdrop for a mystery that explores issues as diverse as feminism and immigration.

The entire production was mounted with a self-confidence and professionalism we see increasingly on BC stages and and in major galleries. It was not only made in BC, it probably could only be made in BC. It is striking to contrast this reality with the virtual absence of top-ranked BC film and television drama (especially since the demise of Chris Haddock’s Intelligence), despite the size and sophistication of our film industry.

Why? No doubt there are many reasons, but it  is exciting to imagine the possibilities if BC’s cultural sector received even a fraction of the support that is typical in a province like Quebec, which stands sixth among Canada’s provinces and territories but invests nearly 10 times as much as BC.