LSM Newswire

Monday, March 9, 2009

A Midsummer Night's Dream at the COC


Toronto, Ontario ĺ─ý Closing the 2008/09 season is the COC premiere of Benjamin Brittenĺ─˘s adaptation of William Shakespeareĺ─˘s enchanting play A Midsummer Nightĺ─˘s Dream. Making his COC debut is renowned American countertenor Lawrence Zazzo, ĺ─˙a countertenor of gorgeous tone and superb controlĺ─¨ (New York Times), with the illustrious American coloratura soprano Laura Claycomb, known to COC audiences for her portrayal of Gilda in 2004ĺ─˘s Rigoletto. Leading the COC Orchestra and Canadian Childrenĺ─˘s Opera Company is internationally-renowned conductor and former music director of the Kansas City Symphony Anne Manson. This COC co-production with Houston Grand Opera and Lyric Opera of Chicago is directed by Neil Armfield, a Dora Mavor Moore Award winner for 2001ĺ─˘s Billy Budd. A Midsummer Nightĺ─˘s Dream runs May 5, 8, 10, 13, 16, 19, 21, and 23, 2009 and is sung in English with English SURTITLESĺĐó.

In an Athenian forest during a midsummerĺ─˘s night, four lovers and a bumbling group of amateur actors find themselves at the mercy of fairies as the fairy and mortal worlds collide. Lawrence Zazzo is Oberon, king of the fairies, and his queen, Tytania, is sung by Laura Claycomb, who recently sang the role in Houston. Irish soprano Giselle Allen, Tatyana in Eugene Onegin, and Austrian baritone Wolfgang Holzmair, Don Alfonso in the 2006 production of CosłĘ fan tutte, return as the mismatched couple Demetrius and Helena. American mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong makes her COC debut as Hermia, and Ensemble tenor Adam Luther is Lysander, Hermiaĺ─˘s lover. COC favourite, bass Robert Pomakov, who last appeared in both Don Giovanni and War and Peace is the irresistible Bottom. Former Ensemble bass Robert Gleadow, who also sings Colline in La Bohł«me this season, is Theseus, the Duke of Athens. His betrothed Hippolyta is sung by COC newcomer, mezzo-soprano Kelly Oĺ─˘Connor. Bass-baritone Thomas Goerz, BenołĂt in La Bohł«me, is Quince, and Ensemble graduate tenor Lawrence Wiliford is Flute. Ensemble members, bass Michael Uloth is Snug, tenor Michael Barrett is Snout, and baritone Alexander Hajek is Starveling. Actor Jamaal Grant appears as Oberonĺ─˘s servant Puck. Making their company debuts creating the magical landscape are Australian set and costume designer

Dale Ferguson and lighting designer Damien Cooper.

To celebrate the 1960 reopening of the Jubilee Hall in Aldeburgh, Benjamin Britten wanted to compose a new opera, but with little time to write a new libretto, Britten chose to adapt Shakespeareĺ─˘s

A Midsummer Nightĺ─˘s Dream with the help of his long-time partner and celebrated tenor Peter Pears. With several alterations, it is still loyal to the spirit of the original, and is one of the most successful operatic adaptations of a Shakespeare play.

Tickets for A Midsummer Nightĺ─˘s Dream are available online at, or 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 peopleĺ─˘s 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, April 4, 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 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.

Presenting Sponsor of SURTITLESłž: 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 Canadaĺ─˘s 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.


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.

Appetite for Opera: A Midsummer Nightĺ─˘s Dream

Appetite for Opera returns to Hilton Torontoĺ─˘s Tundra Restaurant on Wednesday, May 6, 2009 for Appetite for Opera: A Midsummer Nightĺ─˘s Dream, an evening that combines the cultural and culinary arts in an innovative gourmet event designed to delight and intrigue opera novices and seasoned fans. The evening begins with a cocktail reception at 6:15 p.m. followed by a multi-course dinner at 7 p.m. and costs $89 per person. Each course is accompanied by a specially chosen wine, while COC Volunteer Speakers Bureau representative Robert Morassutti and the Hilton chef Kreg Graham provide fascinating links and insights between food, wine, and opera. Ticket and dinner packages can be purchased online at

Opera 101: A Midsummer Nightĺ─˘s Dream

The Canadian Opera Companyĺ─˘s popular FREE series, Opera 101, takes an enthusiastic look at

the COCĺ─˘s production of Brittenĺ─˘s A Midsummer Nightĺ─˘s Dream, on Tuesday, March 31, 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 guest, conductor Anne Mason, and host Brent Bambury from CBC Radioĺ─˘s 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.

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 last instalment

of the Opera Exchange series: Antique Fables and Fairy Toys: Brittenĺ─˘s A Midsummer Nightĺ─˘s Dream, held on Saturday, May 9, 2009 from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The half-day symposium highlights the music in Benjamin Brittenĺ─˘s transformation of William Shakespeareĺ─˘s A Midsummer Nightĺ─˘s Dream. Topics include: Shakespeareĺ─˘s romantic comedy and the adaptationĺ─˘s libretto and musical setting; the opera in the context of Brittenĺ─˘s life and work; and, a performance-based workshop that explores the critical approaches to the music of Benjamin Britten. The Opera Exchange series: Antique Fables and Fairy Toys: Brittenĺ─˘s A Midsummer Nightĺ─˘s Dream takes place at Walter Hall, Edward Johnson Building, The Faculty of Music, 80 Queenĺ─˘s Park (at Museum subway station). Tickets are available by calling 416-363-8231, online at, or in person at the Four Seasons Centre Box Office (145 Queen St. W., Toronto). Tickets for the half-day session are $15, $10 for U of T faculty, $5 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 or through Universal Music at A Midsummer Nightĺ─˘s Dream-themed podcasts will be online starting in March 2009. 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 COCĺ─˘s 2008/09 season, roundtable discussions with special artists, as well as preview operas in the COCĺ─˘s 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 companyĺ─˘s new home, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, was designed by Diamond and Schmitt Architects Inc. and is Canadaĺ─˘s 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, contains information on all productions including synopses, historical background, and production photographs.

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