LSM Newswire

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Canadian Opera Company Encourages coc.ca Users to "Join the Discussion"

Toronto, Ontario The Canadian Opera Companys upcoming broadcasts of Madama Butterfly on November 28, 2009 and The Nightingale and Other Short Fables on December 5, 2009 will be available for internet streaming on coc.ca.

From 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., listeners at coc.ca will discover a new and interactive live chat session featuring special guest chatters. Those new to opera, as well as seasoned opera lovers, can join the discussion and enhance their listening experience by connecting with fellow opera enthusiasts.

Members of the productions casts and creative teams will stimulate conversation, ask and answer questions, and share anecdotes. Confirmed guests to date are Madama Butterfly set and costume designer Susan Benson and baritone James Westman who performed the role of the American Consul, Sharpless. While there, visitors can also read the Madama Butterfly and The Nightingale and Other Short Fables synopses and cast lists, view production photographs and videos, and travel behind-the-scenes through the COC archives and discover the making of this production of Madama Butterfly.

In conjunction with the COCs Broadcast Partner, CBC Radio 2, each opera of the COCs 2009/10 season will be aired twice nationally on CBC Radio 2s Saturday Afternoon at the Opera and Radio-Canadas Espace Musique, and the broadcasts will also be available for internet streaming on CBC Concerts on Demand, cbc.ca/radio2, as well as coc.ca for a period of 12 months after the initial streaming date.

Production Sponsor of Madama Butterfly: RBC Financial Group

The Nightingale and Other Short Fables and additional performances of Madama Butterfly have been financially assisted by the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund of the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Culture, administered by the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund Corporation.

The Nightingale and Other Short Fables has been generously underwritten in part by The Catherine and Maxwell Meighen Foundation.

Broadcast Partner: CBC Radio 2

Digital Marketing Sponsor: Delvinia Interactive

About the Canadian Opera Company

Based in Toronto, the Canadian Opera Company is the largest producer of opera in Canada and fifth largest in North America, and celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2009/10. Under its new leadership of General Director Alexander Neef and Music Director Johannes Debus, the COC continues its international reputation for artistic excellence and creative innovation.

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Monday, November 30, 2009

COC's 2009/10 Fall Run Closes with 99.6% Attendance

Toronto, Ontario The Canadian Opera Company is proud to announce that the fall run of its 2009/10 Diamond Anniversary season, Madama Butterfly and The Nightingale and Other Short Fables, closed to 99.6% capacity. A total of 22 of the total 24 performances in the fall run played to 100% capacity with over 49,000 people attending. Madama Butterfly ran for 15 performances and the world premiere of The Nightingale and Other Short Fables ran for nine performances one more than originally scheduled due to an unprecedented demand for tickets. This statistic continues a sustained series of record attendance numbers for the COC, averaging at least 99% since the opening of the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in 2006.

The COCs Madama Butterfly will air on CBC Radio 2s Saturday Afternoon at the Opera on November 28, 2009; The Nightingale and Other Short Fables will air on December 5, 2009. Concerts on Demand and future broadcast dates are yet to be confirmed.

The COCs Diamond Anniversary season continues in January with Georges Bizets popular Carmen, opening January 27, 2010 and running for 12 performances, and Giuseppe Verdis powerful Otello, opening on February 3, 2010 with nine performances. Single tickets for the winter run go on sale Monday, November 16, 2009 and can be purchased online at coc.ca, by calling 416-363-8231, or in person at the Four Seasons Centre Box Office (145 Queen St. W., Toronto).Į
COC Fall Run Ticket Facts and Figures:

124,000: number of Madama Butterfly tickets sold since this production was first staged in 1990

30,117: number of Madama Butterfly tickets sold for the 2009/10 season
30,780: highest number of tickets sold for a single COC production (Carmen in 1990)Į
575: record number of single-day calls fielded by the COCs Box Office following The Nightingale and Other Short Fables opening night reviews
505: previous single-day call record (2007/08 fall season single-ticket onsale)Į
24: number of hours it took for the October 20 performance of The Nightingale and Other Short Fables to sell-out following the opening night reviews

The world premiere of The Nightingale and Other Short Fables was a technically challenging production which incorporated singers, acrobats, and Asian puppetry, dramatically transforming the conventional theatre landscape. It featured the COC Orchestra and conductors Jonathan Darlington and Jayce Ogren (November 2 and 5) on stage with the singers performing and manipulating puppets in the orchestra pit which was filled with 67 tonnes of water.


Fall Run Production Facts and Figures:

21: number of set changeovers between Madama Butterfly and The Nightingale and Other Short Fables
32: number of crew members to changeover the set from Madama Butterfly to The Nightingale and Other Short Fables
4: average number of hours to changeover from Madama Butterfly to The Nightingale and Other Short Fables and vice-versa
75: minutes to fill the pool for The Nightingale and Other Short Fables
80: minutes to drain the pool for The Nightingale and Other Short Fables

Production Sponsor of Madama Butterfly: RBC Financial GroupĮĮThe Nightingale and Other Short Fables and the additional performances of Madama Butterfly have been financially assisted by the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund of the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Culture, administered by the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund Corporation.

The Nightingale and Other Short Fables has been generously underwritten in part by The Catherine and Maxwell Meighen Foundation.

Carmen Production Co-sponsors: CIBC and CIBC Mellon
ĮOtello Production Sponsor: National Bank Financial Group

Broadcast Partner: CBC Radio 2

About the Canadian Opera CompanyĮBased in Toronto, the Canadian Opera Company is the largest producer of opera in Canada and fifth largest in North America, and celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2009/10. Under its new leadership of General Director Alexander Neef and Music Director Johannes Debus, the COC continues its international reputation for artistic excellence and creative innovation. The COC currently enjoys a remarkable 99% attendance rate and one of the highest subscription rates in North America. The COC performs in its new opera house, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, designed by Diamond and Schmitt Architects Inc. From its inauguration in 2006, the Four Seasons Centre has been internationally hailed as one of the finest opera houses in the world.

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

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

COC Adds encore performance of The Nightingale and Other Short Fables

Toronto, Ontario Due to unprecedented demand for tickets, the Canadian Opera Company has added an extra performance of Igor Stravinskys The Nightingale and Other Short Fables on Monday, November 2, 2009 at 7:30 p.m. at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. Tickets are now available for the additional performance which extends the production run from eight to nine performances. The remaining regularly scheduled performances October 22, 24, 30, and November 1, 4, 5 are now sold out.

The Nightingale and Other Short Fables is directed by visionary Canadian Robert Lepage and received extraordinary critical acclaim following its world premiere on October 17, 2009. After the sold-out opening performance, the COC Box Office fielded a record number of calls in a single day and prompted the COCs administration to search for an additional performance opportunity.

We are delighted by the overwhelming public response to The Nightingale and Other Short Fables, said Alexander Neef, General Director of the Canadian Opera Company. And I am very glad that the artists of the company were available to add this performance to their schedules on such short notice. As we are the only North American presenter, this extra performance allows 2,000 more audience members a chance to experience the wonder of this unique and spectacular production.

The Nightingale and Other Short Fables is a co-production with the Festival dAix-en-Provence and Opra national de Lyon, in collaboration with Mr. Lepages production company Ex Machina. The Nightingale and Other Short Fables is sung in Russian with English SURTITLESѢ.

Tickets for The Nightingale and Other Short Fables are available online at 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 $20 to $292. $10 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 coc.ca or in person at the Four Seasons Centre Box Office.

This production has been financially assisted by the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund of the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Culture, administered by the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund Corporation.

The Nightingale and Other Short Fables has been generously underwritten in part by The Catherine and Maxwell Meighen Foundation.

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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Illness forces Ben Heppner to Withdraw from COC 60th Anniversary Concert

  

    
For immediate release: October 31, 2009

ILLNESS FORCES BEN HEPPNER TO WITHDRAW FROM COC 60TH ANNIVERSARY CONCERT

OPERA STARS RAMN VARGAS AND RUSSELL BRAUN TO PERFORM WITH NEW COC MUSIC DIRECTOR, JOHANNES DEBUS, AND COC ORCHESTRA

Toronto, Ontario The Canadian Opera Company (COC) regretfully announces that renowned tenor Ben Heppner is unable to perform at the company's 60th anniversary concert on November 7, 2009 at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.  Mr. Heppner has not sufficiently recovered from a viral infection caught in October while singing Tristan in Tristan und Isolde at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

"I caught an infection in London and I had hoped to have fully recovered by this time," says Mr. Heppner.  "Unfortunately, a visit with my doctor and my coach confirmed that I will not be able to give the first-class performance Toronto audiences deserve."

The COC's anniversary concert will take place as planned on Saturday, November 7, 2009 featuring conductor Johannes Debus making his debut as the COC's new Music Director, and the celebrated COC Orchestra.  The company is very pleased to announce that it has secured world renowned artists, tenor Ramn Vargas and baritone
Russell Braun to sing at the concert.  Additional artists will be confirmed early next week.

"We are terribly sad that Ben is unable to perform with us on Saturday.  His presence means a lot to the Canadian Opera Company and we're sorry that he can't be here to celebrate with us," says Alexander Neef, General Director of the COC.  "Fortunately, another one of the world's greatest tenors, Ramn Vargas, was available on short notice and is very pleased to make his debut with us.  And, of course, it is always a pleasure to welcome our good friend Russell Braun back to Toronto.  I am very happy that we have secured some great vocal talent to celebrate the COC's 60th anniversary and Johannes Debus's first appearance as new Music Director.  We know that this new program, along with the wonderful COC Orchestra, will make for a spectacular concert."

Regulars at all the great opera houses of the world, Ramn Vargas and Russell Braun perform extensively with the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, Vienna State Opera, Paris Opera, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Munich State Opera, and San Francisco, among many others.

Ramn Vargas is currently performing as Faust in the Metropolitan Opera's production of Robert Lepage's production of La Damnation de Faust.  He returns to the Met in 2010 to sing in a new production of Attila, and next spring performs Werther at the Vienna State Opera and Medea in Corinto at the Munich State Opera.  The Metropolitan Opera has graciously agreed to allow Mr. Vargas to appear at the COC anniversary concert.

This season, Russell Braun makes his role debuts as The Traveller in Benjamin Britten's Death in Venice at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna and as Lescaut in the ROH Covent Garden production of Manon, as well as appearing with the Chicago, Cleveland, Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver symphony orchestras.

Portions of the evening's program remain unchanged, and additional arias will be performed. The complete program will be announced early next week.


The 60th anniversary celebration on Saturday, November 7 begins with a pre-concert reception at 6 p.m. in the Isadore and Rosalie Sharp City Room at the Four Seasons Centre, followed by the concert which begins at 7 p.m.  All tickets include a complimentary glass of Trius Brut sparkling wine or Peller Estates Icewine.  

To add even more sparkle to the event, a draw for a spectacular 1.26 carat Canadian diamond, valued at $20,000, will be held at the concert.  The Hearts and Arrows brilliant-cut diamond, courtesy of De Beers Canada, originated from the pristine tundra of the Canadian Arctic and has been environmentally and ethically mined, cut, and polished.  Diamond Raffle tickets are $100 each or three for $250 and will be available for purchase at the Four Seasons Centre, 145 Queen St. W. or by calling 416-306-2309.  

Supporting Sponsors of the COC's Diamond Anniversary Concert: BMO Financial Group, Diamond and Schmitt Architects

Wine Sponsor: Andrew Peller Limited

Diamond Raffle Sponsor: De Beers Canada

Russell Braun's appearance is generously underwritten by Earlaine Collins.

The COC is grateful to Colleen Sexsmith for offering her generous financial support to make the other artists' appearances possible.



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Thursday, March 19, 2009

CCOC in two COC productions this spring


Canadian Children's Opera Company
to appear with the
Canadian Opera Company this Spring!

The Canadian Children's Opera Company (CCOC) has already enjoyed a very full 2008/09 season. In addition to a number of Christmas concerts and their own production of A Dickens of a Christmas at the Enwave Theatre, they also participated in three Toronto Symphony Orchestra concerts. And they are just getting started . . .

Next on the schedule for these tremendously busy and talented young singers are two productions with the Canadian Opera Company: Giacomo Puccini's La bohme, which will run from April 17 to May 24, and Benjamin Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream, playing from May 5 to 23. Both productions take place at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.

Puccini's ever-popular La bohme is a staple for every opera company and is one of the most frequently performed operas in the world. Twenty of the CCOC choristers will make their appearance in Act 2, as a great crowd gathers and the children clamour to see the wares of Parpignol, the toy seller.

Adapted from Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream, the opera of the same name is perhaps Britten's most enchanting work. It is full of beautifully crafted, dreamlike and atmospheric music. The chorus of 20 fairies, all of whom will be supplied by the CCOC, has a huge part in this opera, appearing at the very beginning during the opening scene, all the way until the very end. Four choristers will also have solo parts (Cobweb, Moth, Mustardseed, and Peaseblossom) and play musical instruments (2 recorders, woodblocks, and cymbals) on stage.

Being a part of the CCOC requires enormous commitment from the young singers, but nothing can compare to the thrill of being on stage for a major, full-scale production!

The Canadian Children's Opera Company, led by Artistic Director Ann Cooper Gay, is one of the world's few children's opera companies. The CCOC commissions, produces, records, and tours new operas and choral music, with children as principal performers. The company also regularly collaborates with other leading arts organizations and prominent individual performers, conductors, and directors. The Company contains six divisions, with over 200 children, and youth of ages 5 to 19. The newest division, OPERAtion Kids, is a non-auditioned program for ages 8-13.

Canadian Children's Opera Company and the COC
La bohme - April 17 to May 24, 2009
A Midsummer Night's Dream - May 5 to May 23, 2009
Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts
145 Queen Street West, Toronto
Tickets available online at www.coc.ca, by calling 416-363-8231,
or in person at the Four Seasons Centre Box Office

Special young people's tickets $30 to $109
(15 years of age or under, accompanied by and sitting next to an adult)

Beginning Saturday, April 4, 2009 at 10am, $20 tickets are available for patrons between the ages of 16 and 29 through the Opera for a New Age program
Valid photo ID is required upon pickup

Regular ticket prices range from $60 to $315

For more information, long on to www.canadianchildrensopera.com

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Monday, March 9, 2009

A Midsummer Night's Dream at the COC

NEW PRODUCTION OF SHAKESPEARES A MIDSUMMER NIGHTS Dream CLOSES THE cocS 2008/09 SEASON

Toronto, Ontario Closing the 2008/09 season is the COC premiere of Benjamin Brittens adaptation of William Shakespeares enchanting play A Midsummer Nights Dream. Making his COC debut is renowned American countertenor Lawrence Zazzo, a countertenor of gorgeous tone and superb control (New York Times), with the illustrious American coloratura soprano Laura Claycomb, known to COC audiences for her portrayal of Gilda in 2004s Rigoletto. Leading the COC Orchestra and Canadian Childrens 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 2001s Billy Budd. A Midsummer Nights Dream runs May 5, 8, 10, 13, 16, 19, 21, and 23, 2009 and is sung in English with English SURTITLESѢ.

In an Athenian forest during a midsummers 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 Cos 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, Hermias 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 Bohme this season, is Theseus, the Duke of Athens. His betrothed Hippolyta is sung by COC newcomer, mezzo-soprano Kelly OConnor. Bass-baritone Thomas Goerz, Benot in La Bohme, 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 Oberons 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 Shakespeares

A Midsummer Nights 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 Nights Dream are available 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.

Appetite for Opera: A Midsummer Nights Dream

Appetite for Opera returns to Hilton Torontos Tundra Restaurant on Wednesday, May 6, 2009 for Appetite for Opera: A Midsummer Nights 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 www.coc.ca.

Opera 101: A Midsummer Nights Dream

The Canadian Opera Companys popular FREE series, Opera 101, takes an enthusiastic look at

the COCs production of Brittens A Midsummer Nights 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 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.

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: Brittens A Midsummer Nights 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 Brittens transformation of William Shakespeares A Midsummer Nights Dream. Topics include: Shakespeares romantic comedy and the adaptations libretto and musical setting; the opera in the context of Brittens 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: Brittens A Midsummer Nights Dream 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 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 www.coc.ca or through Universal Music at www.getmusic.ca/classical. A Midsummer Nights 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 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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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The COCs 2008/09 Fall and Winter Runs Continue the Trend and Pack the House at 100%


Toronto, Ontario The Canadian Opera Company is proud to announce that the winter run of the 2008/09 season Fidelio and Rusalka has played to 100% capacity. These two operas join Don Giovanni and War and Peace both of which also played to 100% attendance last fall. Since the opening of the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in 2006 the COC has sustained a season attendance average of 99%.

Fidelio and Rusalka, which both closed this week, received critical praise. The winter run began with the "well sung and well conducted" (Classical 96.3) Fidelio and continued with Dvok's Rusalka, hailed "absolutely necessary viewing for opera veterans and newbies alike" (National Post). An "electrifying" (Eye Weekly)

Don Giovanni opened the fall season followed by the COC premiere of the "unmissable" (Globe and Mail)

War and Peace.

Continuing the 2008/09 season is Verdi's powerful Simon Boccanegra which opens on April 11, 2009 and runs for eight performances. On April 17, the COC opens its very popular production of La Bohme which runs for 12 performances. The final production of the 2008/09 mainstage season opens May 5 with a luminous new production of Benjamin Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream which runs for eight performances.

Subscriptions for the 2009/10 season went on sale to current subscribers on January 7, 2009 with a renewal deadline of April 30, 2009. Subscriptions go on sale to the general public, May 4, 2009 at 10 a.m.

Single tickets for the spring run go on sale Monday, March 2, 2009 and may be purchased 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).

Production Sponsor of Don Giovanni: RBC Financial Group

Production Sponsor of Fidelio: National Bank Financial Group

Production Co-sponsors of La Bohme: CIBC World Markets and CIBC Mellon

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 company's new home, the

Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, was designed by Diamond and Schmitt Architects Inc. and is Canada'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.

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Canadian Talent Takes Centre Stage in the COC's Enduringly Popular La Bohme


Toronto, Ontario The Canadian Opera Companys spring season continues with a COC revival of one of the worlds most popular operas, Giacomo Puccinis La Bohme. The young and almost entirely Canadian cast is led by COC Ensemble Studio graduates, critically-acclaimed soprano Frdrique Vzina and vibrant lyric tenor David Pomeroy. Sharing the podium and leading the COC Orchestra and Chorus are conductor Julian Kovatchev, who conducted the COCs 2004 production of Rigoletto, and COC resident conductor Derek Bate. Ensemble graduate, Maer Gronsdal Powell, who recently acted as assistant director of RusalkaWar and Peace, directs this operatic favourite. and the triumphant

La Bohme runs for 12 performances at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, April 17, 19, 25, 30, May 4, 9, 12, 14, 17, 20, 22 and 24, 2009 and is sung in Italian with English SURTITLESѢ.

Last performed by the COC in 2005, La Bohme is set in the raucous streets of Pariss Latin Quarter in the 1830s and explores the love and lives of two young bohemians. Qubcoise soprano Frdrique Vzina, who performed at the 2006 Inaugural Celebrations for the Four Seasons Centre, returns to the COC stage to sing the role of the fragile seamstress Mim. Rising star tenor David Pomeroy, who sang title role in Faust and Skuratov in From the House of the Dead, is Mims lover, the poet Rodolfo. New Zealand soprano Anna Leese makes her North American debut as the spirited and flirtatious, Musetta, and recent Ensemble graduate baritone Peter Barrett returns as Musettas lover, the painter Marcello. Former Ensemble baritone Jon-Paul Dcosse is Schaunard, a musician, and last seasons Figaro, former Ensemble bass Robert Gleadow, reprises the role he sang with the company in 2005, the philosopher Colline. Bass-baritone Thomas Goerz sings the roles of Benot, the blustering landlord, and Alcindoro, Musettas elderly admirer.

Although a success with audiences at its Turin premiere in 1896, critically La Bohme was given a cool reception. However, within six months it was considered Puccinis most popular work and has since been regarded as one of the worlds most-loved operas. The sets for the COCs production are designed by

Wolfram Skalicki with costumes by Amrei Skalicki. Stephen Ross creates the romantic Parisian lighting design.

Tickets for La Bohme 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 $65 to $315. Special young peoples tickets for La Bohme are priced from $34 to $109. 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.

Production Co-sponsors of La Bohme: CIBC World Markets and CIBC Mellon

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.

Bohemian Bite: La Bohme

The Canadian Opera Company and Hilton Torontos Tundra Restaurant present an evening of cultural and culinary arts for patrons under 30 with Bohemian Bite: La Bohme, on Saturday, April 25, 2009. Young patrons can enjoy a prix-fixe dinner inspired by the drama of La Bohme, while learning about Puccinis passionate opera. Following the 5 p.m. dinner, guests will attend a performance of La Bohme at Canadas first purpose-built opera house, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts at 7:30 p.m. Participants must be under 30 years of age and provide a valid photo ID when purchasing tickets. The dinner and opera package is $70 and can be purchased at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts Box Office (145 Queen St. W., Toronto) or online at www.coc.ca. Tickets for the dinner and performance must be picked up at the Four Seasons Centre Box Office prior to the event.

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. La Bohme-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 Company website, at www.coc.ca, contains information on all productions including synopses, historical background, and production photographs.

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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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