"The Canadian Opera Company's job – the job of any opera company – is to find the best way to express the essential truths that lie at the heart of every opera," says COC General Director Alexander Neef. "It's going to be very exciting to watch the work of the artists we're bringing to the COC unfold on our stage, especially when they are matched with equally thrilling productions. The COC has always been defined by its big achievements, and the coming season will see us explore repertoire we haven't touched before."
The Canadian Opera Company's 11/12 season opens with the COC premiere of Christoph Willibald Gluck's lyric tragedy, Iphigenia in Tauris, featuring the world's leading Iphigenia, mezzo-soprano Susan Graham, in her much anticipated COC debut. She comes to the COC having triumphed in the role with a portrayal heralded for its "nobility and vibrant local beauty" (Chicago Sun-Tribune) and "continuous dramatic power and musical mastery" (Chicago Sun-Times). Graham is joined by two Canadian singers who have gone on to international operatic stardom: baritone Russell Braun (2008's War and Peace, 2007's The Marriage of Figaro) as Iphigenia’s brother Orestes and COC Ensemble Studio graduate tenor Joseph Kaiser as Orestes’ best friend, Pylades. Rounding out the cast is Canadian soprano Katherine Whyte, in her COC debut, who sings the role of Iphigenia for one performance; Grammy Award-winner bass-baritone Mark S. Doss (1999’s Il Trovatore) as Thoas, the Scythian king who orders Orestes’ death; and Ensemble soprano Ileana Montalbetti as the goddess Diana. Iphigenia in Tauris was Gluck’s greatest triumph, composing a score of refined, classical beauty that lays bare the searing emotions of this Greek tragedy. The heroine Iphigenia is rescued from imminent death only to confront the tragic twist of fate of being required to kill her long-lost brother. Canadian Robert Carsen, who directs the company’s first Gluck opera, Orfeo ed Euridice, this spring, returns to stage a production that has played to great acclaim in London, Chicago, San Francisco and Madrid. The young Spanish maestro Pablo Heras-Casado – making his Canadian debut with the COC this February in Nixon in China – also returns to conduct the COC Orchestra and Chorus. Iphigenia in Tauris is a co-production between Lyric Opera of Chicago, Royal Opera House Covent Garden and San Francisco Opera. The opera runs for eight performances on Sept. 22, 25, 28, Oct. 1, 4, 7, 12 and 15, 2011, and is sung in French with English SURTITLES™.
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