COC Media Releases


A special mainstage performance of The Magic Flute showcases the COC's Ensemble Studio members

Toronto – Experience the rising young stars of the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio performing the lead roles in their own performance of The Magic Flute on Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011 at 7:30 p.m. at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. All tickets to the Feb. 17 performance are only $22 or $55.

Under the direction of the same artistic team as for the mainstage cast, including conductor and COC Music Director Johannes Debus, director Diane Paulus, set and costume designer Myung Hee Cho and lighting designer Scott Zielinski, the Ensemble members will perform with the full COC Orchestra and Chorus. This special performance allows the young Canadian artists of the Ensemble Studio to be highlighted in principal roles on the COC’s mainstage.

A humorous and sometimes profound exploration of the trials of growing up, seeking ideals and finding love, The Magic Flute follows the adventures of Prince Tamino as he undergoes feats of heroism to rescue his love, Pamina, from the forces of evil. Joining Tamino on his journey is the comic birdcatcher Papageno, who dreams of one day finding his own sweetheart. The Magic Flute was an immediate hit when it debuted in 1791, with nearly 100 performances taking place in the first year after its premiere, and has been an audience favourite ever since. The opera’s eternal appeal can be attributed to its music, as The Magic Flute features some of Mozart’s most beautiful and purely infectious melodies.

Heading the Ensemble cast as Pamina is soprano Simone Osborne, a rising young singer lauded by the New York Times for her “sweet and clear sound, sensitive phrasing and gleaming sustained high notes” and described as “a joy to hear” by the LA Times. Osborne also shares the role of Pamina in the mainstage production of The Magic Flute. Manitoba-born tenor Christopher Enns, a recent graduate of the University of Toronto’s Opera Division, who last appeared with the COC in the fall 2010 production of Death in Venice, sings the role of Tamino.

The plucky Papageno is sung by Guelph baritone Adrian Kramer, a graduate of the prestigious Julliard School in New York and the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, and soprano Jacqueline Woodley, the Lace Seller in 2010’s Death in Venice, takes the role of his sweetheart, Papagena. Soprano Ambur Braid, Amore in this coming spring’s Orfeo ed Euridice, soars as the Queen of the Night, and Kitchener-native, bass Michael Uloth, brings gravitas to the role of the priest-king Sarastro. Tenor Michael Barrett, a recent graduate of the Ensemble Studio, returns to sing the role of Monostatos. The roles of Speaker of the Temple, the First Priest and the Second Armed Man are sung by bass Neil Craighead.

Rounding out the cast are Ensemble members Ileana Montalbetti, who recently understudied the role of Anai in Rossini’s Moïse et Pharaon in Rome under the baton of Riccardo Muti, as the First Lady; mezzo-soprano Wallis Giunta, an Ottawa native who has been invited to join the Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Program next season, as the Second Lady; and mezzo-soprano Rihab Chaieb, the French Mother in 2010’s Death in Venice, as the Third Lady. Ensemble graduate Adam Luther, who appeared with the COC in 2010’s The Flying Dutchman and 2009’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Fidelio, returns to sing the roles of the Second Priest and the First Armed Man. Singing the First, Second and Third Spirits are members of the Canadian Children’s Opera Company.

The Magic Flute was Mozart's final opera, receiving its premiere only three months before his death in December 1791. At least two films (not including recordings of staged productions) have been made of The Magic Flute, including Trollflöjten (1975), directed by Ingmar Bergman, and The Magic Flute (2006) directed by Kenneth Branagh. In the Kenneth Branagh version, Tamino is played by Joseph Kaiser, a graduate of the COC Ensemble Studio. The Magic Flute was last performed on the COC mainstage in 1993.

In addition to the special Ensemble Studio cast production of The Magic Flute on Feb. 17, there are 12 performances of The Magic Flute mainstage production running from Jan. 29 – Feb. 25, 2011 at the
Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. This is a new COC production and is sung in German with English SURTITLES™.

The members of the Ensemble Studio are the COC’s resident artists and are important ambassadors for the company. Since its inception in 1980, over 150 young professional Canadian singers, opera coaches, stage directors and conductors have acquired their first major professional operatic experience through the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio. Chosen through a national audition process, members of the Ensemble Studio receive a blend of advanced study and practical experience over a period of one to three years. Former members who have gone on to become fixtures of the international opera scene include Ben Heppner, Isabel Bayrakdarian, Gidon Saks, John Fanning, Wendy Nielsen, Joseph Kaiser, David Pomeroy and Yannick-Muriel Noah. The current members of the Ensemble are set to continue on in this illustrious tradition.

Tickets for the Feb. 17 performance are only $22 or $55 and are available online at, by calling COC Ticket Services at 416-363-8231, or in person at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts Box Office, located at 145 Queen St. W.

NEW THIS SEASON: Standing Room
$12 Standing Room tickets go on sale at 11 a.m. on the morning of each performance at the Four Seasons Centre Box Office. Limit of two tickets per person. Subject to availability.

Rush Seats
Rush seats, starting at $22 and subject to availability, go on sale at 11 a.m. on the morning of each performance at the Four Seasons Centre Box Office.


This new COC production of The Magic Flute has been generously underwritten by the Catherine and Maxwell Meighen Foundation.

The Magic Flute Production Sponsor and Major Supporter of the COC Ensemble Studio: RBC

Ensemble Studio Performance Sponsor: ARIAS

Presenting Sponsor of SURTITLESä: Sun Life Financial

Official Automotive Sponsor of the COC at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts: Jaguar Land Rover Canada

Broadcast Partner: CBC Radio 2

Official Media Sponsors: CTV and The Globe and Mail

Digital Marketing Sponsor: Delvinia

The COC Ensemble Studio is Canada’s premier training program for young opera professionals and provides advanced instruction, hands-on experience, and career development opportunities. The Ensemble Studio is generously supported by the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage, ARIAS (formerly The Canadian Opera Volunteer Committee), In loving memory of Mr. George R. Bishop, from his family & friends, The John A. Cook Young Artist Development Fund, In honour of Earlaine Collins, In honour of Ninalee Craig, Estate of Horst Dantz and Don Quick, Michael & Lora Gibbens, Ethel Harris, The Audrey S. Hellyer Charitable Foundation, Peter & Hélène Hunt, Patrick & Barbara Keenan, The Hal Jackman Fund at the Ontario Arts Foundation, Jo Lander, Ruby Mercer Fund, George Cedric Metcalf Charitable Foundation, Roger D. Moore Ensemble Studio Endowment Fund, RBC Foundation, Katalin Schäfer, In honour of Colleen Sexsmith, The Slaight Family, The Stratton Trust, William & Phyllis Waters, and an anonymous donor.


BMO Financial Group Pre-Performance Opera Chats
Free to ticket holders, the COC offers 20-minute introductions to the opera and its themes in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 45 minutes prior to every performance.

The Magic Flute Interactive Features on
The COC hosts a podcast series sponsored by Decca: The Opera Label. Hosted by the COC’s Gianna Wichelow and Gianmarco Segato, the podcasts explore the opera and its background, and feature interviews with singers and members of the creative teams.

All podcasts are available for downloading or streaming at The Canadian Opera Company’s award-winning website,, contains information on all productions and programs and allows visitors to enjoy a wide variety of interactive features available for downloading and streaming.

About the Canadian Opera Company
Based in Toronto, the Canadian Opera Company is the largest producer of opera in Canada and one of the five largest in North America. The COC enjoys a loyal audience support-base and one of the highest attendance and subscription rates in North America. The COC celebrates its 61st anniversary during the 2010/2011 season. Under its leadership team of General Director Alexander Neef and Music Director Johannes Debus, the COC is increasingly capturing the opera world’s attention. The COC maintains its international reputation for artistic excellence and creative innovation by creating new productions within its diverse repertoire, collaborating with leading opera companies and festivals, and attracting the world’s foremost Canadian and international artists. The COC performs in its own opera house, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, hailed internationally as one of the finest in the world. Designed by Diamond and Schmitt Architects, the Four Seasons Centre opened in 2006, and is also the performance venue for The National Ballet of Canada. For more information on the Canadian Opera Company, please visit its award-winning website,

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