LSM Newswire

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Beethoven's Triumphant Opera, Fidelio, Kicks off the COC's Winter Season

Toronto, Ontario The Canadian Opera Companys winter season opens with a new production of Ludwig van Beethovens only opera, Fidelio. Leading the cast in this opera of triumph and courage in the face of oppression are Adrianne Pieczonka as Leonore and American tenor Jon Villars as her great love, Florestan. German director Andreas Baesler restages this production, while conductor Gregor Bhl leads the COC Orchestra and Chorus. Both make their COC debuts with this captivating production. Fidelio is a co-production with Opra national du Rhin (ONR) and Staatstheater Nrnberg. Fidelio runs January 24 at 7:30 p.m., 27 at 7:30 p.m., 30 at 7:30 p.m., February 4 at 7:30 p.m., 7 at 4:30 p.m., 12 at 7:30 p.m., 15 at 2 p.m., 18 at 7:30 p.m., 21 at 7:30 p.m., and 24 at 7:30 p.m., 2009 and is sung in German with English SURTITLESѢ.

Canadian soprano Adrianne Pieczonka, no stranger to the worlds great opera houses, makes her role debut as Leonore, a young wife who disguises herself as a man named Fidelio so she may work at the prison where her husband is unjustly incarcerated and save him from certain execution. Ms Pieczonka returns to the COC after her portrayal of Elisabeth de Valois in last seasons Don Carlos. American Jon Villars, one of the worlds most renowned tenors, sings Florestan, Leonores husband. Mr. Villars returns to the COC stage after a 12-year absence, having last sung with the company as Calaf in Turandot in 1997. Also included in this extraordinary cast is bass-baritone and former Ensemble Studio member Gidon Saks, who sang the title role in the COCs Boris Godunov in 2002. Mr. Saks sings the villainous Don Pizarro who has imprisoned Florestan. Mats Almgren, Hagen in the COCs Ring Cycle, is the jailer, Rocco, and recent Ensemble graduate, Virginia Hatfield, who sang Zerlina in this seasons Don Giovanni, is Marzelline, Roccos daughter. Current Ensemble tenor Adam Luther sings Jaquino. The original creative team from Germany, set designer Andreas Wilkens, costume designer Gabriele Heimann, and lighting designer Max Keller make their company debuts.

Beethovens original three-act version of Fidelio, then known as Leonore, premiered in Vienna in 1805. It was not an immediate success due partially to Napoleons occupation of Vienna. A revised two-act version premiered in 1806, however, it was only after Beethoven altered it again in 1814 that the renamed final version, seen on international opera stages today, was completed.

Single tickets for Fidelio are available December 1, 2008 online at www.coc.ca, by calling 416-363-8231, or in person at the Four Seasons Centre Box Office (145 Queen St. W., Toronto). Ticket prices for all performances range from $60 to $290. Special young peoples tickets for all performances throughout the season are priced from $30 to $98. These ticket prices apply to those who are 15 years of age or under, accompanied by and sitting next to an adult.

Starting Saturday, January 17, 2009 at 10 a.m., $20 tickets are available for patrons between the ages of 16 and 29 through the Opera for a New Age program presented by TD Bank Financial Group and may be purchased online at www.coc.ca or in person at the Four Seasons Centre Box Office (145 Queen St. W., Toronto). Student group tickets are $20 per student and may be purchased by calling 416-306-2356. Remaining Opera for a New Age tickets will be released as $20 rush seats at 11 a.m. the morning of the performance, subject to availability.

Production Sponsor of Fidelio: National Bank Financial Group

Presenting Sponsor of SURTITLES: Sun Life Financial

Official Automotive Sponsor of the COC at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts: Jaguar Land Rover Canada

Official Media Sponsors: CTV and The Globe and Mail

The COC Ensemble Studio is Canadas premier training program for young opera professionals and provides advanced instruction, hands-on experience, and career development opportunities. The Ensemble Studio is supported by the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage, RBC Financial Group, and other generous donors.

COC ANCILLARY EVENTS AND INFORMATION:

BMO Financial Group Pre-Performance Opera Chats

The COC offers free 20-minute introductions to the opera and its theme in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 45 minutes prior to every performance.

Opera 101: Fidelio

The Canadian Opera Companys popular FREE series, Opera 101, takes an enthusiastic look at the COCs production of Beethovens Fidelio on Tuesday, January 13, 2009 at 7:30 p.m. Held at the culturally eclectic Drake Hotel (1150 Queen St. W.), the event is designed to demystify opera by illuminating and illustrating different aspects of the art form. The session, including a question-and-answer period, features special guests, sopranos Adrianne Pieczonka and Virginia Hatfield, as well as host Brent Bambury from CBC Radios GO!. Opera 101 is a friendly, interactive, and informal event where opera neophytes can enjoy a drink and snacks and get the scoop on what opera is all about. New this season, audience members are invited to stick around following the discussion to enjoy FREE, live entertainment provided by the COC.

The Opera Exchange

The Canadian Opera Company, in collaboration with the Jackman Humanities Institute, the Munk Centre for International Studies, and the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto, presents the second instalment of the Opera Exchange series: Love and Liberation: Beethovens Fidelio held on Saturday, January 31, 2009 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Topics include: the revolutionary and philosophical roots of the opera and its relevance today; the music and politics, and themes of triumph of light over darkness; and, the themes of love and tenderness in an otherwise bleak story highlighted by musical excerpts performed by members of the COC Ensemble Studio. The Opera Exchange series: Love and Liberation: Beethovens Fidelio takes place at Walter Hall, Edward Johnson Building, The Faculty of Music, 80 Queens Park (at Museum subway station). Tickets are available by calling 416-363-8231, online at www.coc.ca, or in person at the Four Seasons Centre Box Office (145 Queen St. W., Toronto). Tickets are $25, or $10 for students (with ID).

Canadian Opera Company Podcast Series

The Canadian Opera Company and Universal Music present a FREE podcast series that explores the depths of music in opera. Podcasts are available on www.coc.ca or through Universal Music at www.getmusic.ca/classical. Fidelio-themed podcasts will be online starting in December 2008. These are entertaining programs designed to give listeners a chance to learn about opera, COC productions, and hear interviews from the artists and creative team. Throughout the year, listeners can tune in to hear music from the COCs 2008/09 season, roundtable discussions with special artists, as well as preview operas in the COCs 2009/10 season. Each podcast is created and hosted by COC personnel.

About the Canadian Opera Company

Based in Toronto, the Canadian Opera Company is the largest producer of opera in Canada and one of the largest in North America, and has an international reputation for artistic excellence and creative innovation. The COC currently enjoys a remarkable 99% attendance rate for its mainstage season. The companys new home, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, was designed by Diamond and Schmitt Architects Inc. and is Canadas first purpose-built opera house. The contemporary expression of a traditional five-tiered, European horseshoe-shaped auditorium was specifically designed for opera with the highest level of acoustics and provides unparalleled intimacy between the audience and the stage. Acclaimed as one of the best opera houses in the world, the

Four Seasons Centre is also the performance venue for The National Ballet of Canada.

Canadian Opera Company Website

The Canadian Opera Company website, at www.coc.ca, contains information on all productions including synopses, historical background, and production photographs.

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