LSM Newswire

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Verdi's Simon Boccanegra returns to the Canadian Opera Company after 30 years


Toronto, Ontario Last performed by the COC in 1979, Giuseppe Verdis Simon Boccanegra returns to the Canadian Opera Company opening its spring season. Leading the cast are Grammy-nominated baritone Paolo Gavanelli and American soprano Tamara Wilson, both making their COC debuts. Bringing Verdis powerful score to life is Marco Guidarini, music director of Opra de Nice, who makes his COC debut leading the COC Orchestra and Chorus. Renowned stage director Ian Judge also makes his company debut remounting this production he originally directed for Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Simon Boccanegra runs April 11, 14, 18, 22, 24, 28, May 3, 7, 2009 and is sung in Italian with English SURTITLESѢ.

Set amidst the political turmoil of medieval Italy and loosely based on the life of the first Doge of Genoa, Simon Boccanegra is a story of a man of the people whose rise to power results in the loss of all he holds dear. Italian baritone Paolo Gavanelli, a law student before turning to singing, has sung with some of the worlds great opera companies in London, Tokyo, Paris, and New York. Soprano Tamara Wilson, a bona fide Verdi soprano (Houston Chronicle), sings Amelia, Simons long-lost daughter, who after a 25-year absence, unknowingly exposes shifting political alliances and conspiracies that threaten her father and the city. Amelias devoted lover Gabriele is sung by COC favourite, tenor Mikhail Agafonov, who received rave reviews for his role as Pierre in this falls triumphant production of War and Peace. Canadian bass Phillip Ens, Wurm in the COCs Luisa Miller, also returns to menace Simon as Fiesco, and baritone Daniel Sutin, Orest in Elektra, is Boccanegras doomed political ally, Paolo. Rounding out the cast are former Ensemble Studio bass Alain Coulombe as Pietro, current Ensemble tenor Michael Barrett as a Captain, and Ensemble mezzo-soprano Erin Fisher as Amelias Maidservant. Set designer John Gunter and costume designer Deirdre Clancy make their COC debuts, and Nigel Levings returns to light this strikingly rich production.

Based on the play by Antonio Garca Gutirrez with a libretto by Francesco Maria Piave, Verdis Simon Boccanegra premiered unsuccessfully at La Fenice in Venice in 1857. More than two decades later, Verdi and librettist Antonio Boito revised the opera which opened in 1881 at La Scala in Milan to rave reviews. The COC performs this second version which has become part of the standard operatic repertoire.

Tickets for Simon Boccanegra are available Monday, March 2, 2009 online at www.coc.ca, 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 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, 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 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.

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.

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 for downloading or streaming on www.coc.ca or through Universal Music at www.getmusic.ca/classical. Simon Boccanegra-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 COCs 2008/09 season, 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 Companys new website, at www.coc.ca, contains information on all productions including synopses, historical background, and production photographs.

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