For our new production of Aida this was the crucial week as we moved out of our rehearsal facilities on Front Street to the Four Seasons Centre for the final rehearsals on stage with orchestra. Verdi's opera hasn't been performed by the COC in more than twenty years and we were courageous enough to go for a new production, entirely built in our own workshops, rather than for a rented production from another company. Add to that three role debuts in three of the four principals roles and you get an idea of how exciting it was to see the sets and costumes finally on our stage and to hear the voices of our great cast in our auditorium. After the first full run-through with orchestra yesterday we now have only a few days left for the final corrections, but the hardest work is done.
Also in town this week was Lotfi Mansouri, General Director of the COC from 1976 to 1988. He has just published his memoirs (Lotfi Mansouri: An Operatic Journey) and we had offered to host the launch in Toronto at the Four Seasons Centre on Tuesday evening.
Amongst Lotfi's many achievements for the COC was the creation of the Ensemble Studio. Its 2010/11 members gave their first public recital at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre on Tuesday at noon. I am very proud of this year's group and curious to see how they will develop in the course of the season.
This short recap of the week wouldn't be complete without a paragraph about the COC's intrepid Education Department. Activities from our first ever COC Youth Opera Lab on Wednesday to the public rehearsal of Aida on Saturday (as part of our programming for the first ever Culture Days) might serve you as just two examples how readily my wonderfully committed colleagues, and indeed the whole Company, always embrace new ideas and challenges in order to introduce new audiences to opera. It was especially impressive to see the huge line-up of people waiting for admission to the Aida rehearsal and the pre-rehearsal talk with Aida director Tim Albery, Classical 96.3's Alexa Petrenko and myself on Saturday.
This afternoon, we arrived in New York. I have a day of meetings tomorrow and then we will attend the Met's season opening of Wagner's Rheingold in Robert Lepage's highly anticipated production. There will be a lot to tell, I'm sure.
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