COC Media Releases

11/2/2017

SIMONA GENGA WINS FIRST PRIZE AT CANADIAN OPERA COMPANY'S ANNUAL VOCAL COMPETITION

Read the PDF version here.

Toronto – Simona Genga of Woodbridge, Ont. took home First Prize (the Chair’s Prize) at the Canadian Opera Company’s annual Ensemble Studio Competition on November 1, 2017 at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. The competition is the feature event of the COC gala fundraiser Centre Stage, an annual celebration of Canada’s emerging operatic voices. Genga was selected from seven finalists to receive the $10,000 award, jointly supported annually by the Chair of the COC’s Board of Directors and the Co-Chairs of Centre Stage, as well as a performance opportunity at Ontario’s Elora Festival. Joel Allison of Ottawa won the Second Prize of $3,000, and Anna-Sophie Neher of Gatineau, Que. was awarded the Third Prize of $1,500. Genga also won the Audience Choice Award, worth $1,500.

Legendary Canadian tenor Ben Heppner hosted the competition, which featured singers selected from nationwide auditions for the COC Ensemble Studio, Canada’s premier training program for young opera professionals, of which Heppner is a graduate. The event opened with a lively performance of the overture from Mozart’s The Abduction from the Seraglio by the COC Orchestra, led by COC Music Director Johannes Debus. During the judges’ deliberation, the audience was further treated to a surprise performance by renowned Canadian soprano Jane Archibald, who is the COC’s 2017/2018 Artist-in-Residence and recently completed a critically acclaimed run of Arabella at the COC. She delighted the audience with renditions of “Non mi dir” from Mozart’s Don Giovanni and “Ah fors’è lui – Sempre libera” from Verdi’s La Traviata.

Centre Stage is an opportunity to celebrate the immense wealth of operatic talent that this country has to offer and, as the strength of this year’s competition proved, Canada has a lot to be proud of,” says COC General Director Alexander Neef. “I continue to be impressed by the level of talent on display from our Centre Stage finalists and look forward to following the next stages of their careers.”

The seven finalists were selected from a pool of 134 applicants for the 2018/2019 COC Ensemble Studio. On November 1, the adjudication panel heard each finalist perform an aria accompanied by the COC Orchestra conducted by Debus, before an audience of 1,000 patrons. The adjudication panel comprised COC General Director Alexander Neef; COC Director of Music and Artistic Administration Roberto Mauro; Director of the COC Academy Nina Draganić; Head of the COC Ensemble Studio Liz Upchurch; Canadian soprano and Ensemble Studio Head Vocal Consultant Wendy Nielsen—also a graduate of the COC’s program; and venerable Canadian soprano Mary Morrison, whose contribution to Canadian music is a testament to her extraordinary life and legacy as both a prodigious singer and esteemed voice teacher.

Centre Stage finalists were also vying for an invitation to join the 2018/2019 Ensemble Studio. COC artistic staff will confirm the line-up of the 18/19 Ensemble Studio at a later date. Those selected to join the Ensemble Studio will join a prestigious program that, since its inception in 1980, has launched the careers of over 220 Canadian singers, opera coaches, stage directors and conductors, including Ben Heppner, Isabel Bayrakdarian, John Fanning, Wendy Nielsen, Joseph Kaiser, David Pomeroy, Krisztina Szabó, Allyson McHardy and Lauren Segal.

During the pre-competition cocktail reception, Centre Stage guests enjoyed a sumptuous cheese and charcuterie spread by Cheese Boutique and a selection of wines. Following the competition, 300 Centre Stage gala guests went on to enjoy an elegant formal dinner on the Four Seasons Centre stage, joined by competition finalists and winners, notable COC artists, Centre Stage host Ben Heppner, Canadian soprano Jane Archibald, and key supporters of the opera company.

The Centre Stage gala dinner was prepared by critically acclaimed, Toronto-based chef David Lee, and provided a rare opportunity to enjoy his creations outside of dining at Nota Bene where Lee is the executive chef. The menu was inspired by Canada’s rich culinary history and featured locally sourced regional specialities, which included: appetizers of Wolfhead smoked salmon from British Columbia with heirloom beets, pickled vegetables and cream cheese; a main course of truffle-scented Canadian Prime beef tenderloin with fall root vegetable mash, k2 berries and beef jus; and, for dessert, Niagara apple pie with wild blueberries and Quebec maple syrup.

Centre Stage gala dinner guests also enjoyed a surprise performance by current members of the COC Ensemble Studio, as well as three graduates of the program currently starring in the COC’s production of The Elixir of Love: tenor Andrew Haji, soprano Simone Osborne and bass-baritone Gordon Bintner. Osborne and Bintner performed “If I Loved You” from the musical Carousel, and Osborne was joined by Haji and current Ensemble Studio members for the rousing Brindisi (“Drinking Song”/“Libiamo”) from La Traviata.

Proceeds from Centre Stage on November 1 were raised in support of the COC and will go towards the company’s Ensemble Studio.

ABOUT THE WINNERS

Simona Genga, First Prize/Chair’s Prize ($10,000) and Elora Festival performance opportunity; Audience Choice Award ($1,500)
Aria performed: “Adieu, forêts” from Jeanne d’Arc by Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Mezzo-soprano Simona Genga, from Woodbridge, Ont., is currently pursuing a Master of Music in opera performance at the University of Toronto (UofT). As a Gerdine Young Artist at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis this summer, she appeared in the choruses for La Clemenza di Tito, Madama Butterfly and The Grapes of Wrath, in which she also sang the role of the Cabin Mistress. Her additional credits include Nettie Fowler in Carousel (Chautauqua Voice Festival); Sister Helen in Dead Man Walking (Opera NUOVA); La Sciagurata in Prima Zombie and Juno in Orfée aux Enfers (UofT Opera); Mistress Quickly in Falstaff and Teacup/Dragonfly/Squirrel in L’enfant et les sortilèges (UWOpera).

Joel Allison, Second Prize ($3,000)
Aria performed: “Scintille, diamant” from The Tales of Hoffmann by Jacques Offenbach

Bass-baritone Joel Allison, from Ottawa, is currently pursuing his Master of Music in opera performance at the University of Toronto (UofT). He has performed with ensembles such as the National Arts Centre Orchestra, National Academy Orchestra, Theatre of Early Music, Saskatoon Symphony and Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra. His recent credits include Dr. Maletesta in Don Pasquale (Stratford Summer Music Festival); Adonis in Venus and Adonis (Seventeen Voyces Chamber Choir); Jupiter in Orfée aux Enfers, Imeneo in Imeneo (UofT Opera); Basilio in The Barber of Seville (Saskatoon Opera); Prince Gremin in Eugene Onegin (Opera Muskoka Festival); and Antonio in The Marriage of Figaro (Brott Music Festival) This season he makes his debut with the McGill Chamber Orchestra in Handel's Messiah and sings Leporello in Don Giovanni with UofT Opera.

Anna-Sophie Neher, Third Prize ($1,500)
Aria performed: “Je veux vivre” from Roméo et Juliette by Charles Gounod

Soprano Anna-Sophie Neher, of Gatineau, Que., is currently pursuing her Master of Music degree at McGill University. She has also studied at Bard College and the Montreal Conservatory. Her operatic credits include Adele in Die Fledermaus (Opera McGill); Pamina in The Magic Flute (Bard College); Belinda in Dido and Aeneas (Montreal Conservatory of Music); and Barbarina in The Marriage of Figaro (Orford Music Festival). She has also appeared as a soloist with Clavecin en Concert, Lachine Schubert Festival, Orchestre de Gatineau, Festival Despax and Festival Lanaudière. Future engagements include Blanche in Dialogues des Carmélites with Opera McGill, as well as recitals with Gatineau Symphonic Orchestra and Montreal Bach Festival.

CENTRE STAGE ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Platinum Supporter: RBC Capital Markets

Opera Under 30 Sponsor: TD Bank Group

Competition Sponsor: The Hal Jackman Foundation

Gold Sponsors: Brookfield Asset Management, Gluskin Sheff, Scotiabank

Artist Sponsors: CIBC, Ninalee Craig, The Patrick Hodgson Family Foundation

Prize Sponsors: Chair’s Prize (First Prize) – Justin Linden, Michael Gibbens and Julie Lassonde, and Elora Festival; Second Prize – ARIAS: Canadian Opera Student Development Fund; Third Prize – Tom C. Logan; Audience Choice Award – Classical 96.3 FM

Event Sponsors: Bespoke Audio Visual, BT/A Advertising, Chairman Mills, Cheese Boutique, DMF Flowers, Evoke Designs, Faulhaber Communications, Hudson’s Bay, Nota Bene, Ryan Emberley, Turning Technologies, Wellington Printworks

COC 2017/2018 SEASON ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

BMO Financial Group: Season Sponsor

TD Bank Group: Presenting Sponsor Opera Under 30

About the Ensemble Studio Competition
The Ensemble Studio Competition features singers from the final round of auditions for the COC Ensemble Studio, Canada’s premier training program for young opera professionals, competing for cash prizes ranging in value from $1,500 – $10,000, and a performance opportunity at Ontario’s Elora Festival, an annual summer celebration of song focusing on choral and classical, as well as world music, jazz and folk. The competition was launched in 2011 by COC General Director Alexander Neef to showcase the opera talent the COC had scouted from across the country and create a public platform for celebrating the future of opera in Canada.

With the creation of Centre Stage, the COC opened the Ensemble Studio Competition to an audience of over 1,000 opera lovers and interested guests as it moved from the intimate setting of the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre at the Four Seasons Centre to R. Fraser Elliott Hall. In 2013, the competition finalists were showcased as never before as they performed with an orchestra led by a world-renowned conductor from the mainstage of the COC’s opera house.

The annual Ensemble Studio audition process, open only to Canadian citizens and permanent residents, takes COC artistic staff across Canada for preliminary auditions, followed by a final callback audition at the COC’s Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Opera Centre in Toronto. It’s from this pool of singers that finalists are selected for the Ensemble Studio Competition.

About the COC Ensemble Studio
The COC Ensemble Studio is Canada’s premier training program for young opera professionals. Since the inception of the program in 1980, over 220 young professional Canadian singers, opera coaches, stage directors and conductors have acquired their first major professional operatic experience through the Ensemble Studio. Former members include Ben Heppner, Isabel Bayrakdarian, John Fanning, Wendy Nielsen, Joseph Kaiser, David Pomeroy, Krisztina Szabó, Allyson McHardy and Lauren Segal.

The members of the Ensemble Studio are the COC’s resident artists and important ambassadors for the company. They receive a blend of advanced study and practical experience through an individually tailored, multi-year program, involving understudying and performing mainstage roles, intensive vocal coaching, language and acting studies, and career skills development, as well as participation in masterclasses with internationally renowned opera professionals.

The COC Ensemble Studio, underwritten in part by Peter M. Deeb, Marjorie and Roy Linden, Sheila K. Piercey, RBC Foundation and The Slaight Family Foundation, 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 also supported by the Government of Canada, the Hal Jackman Foundation and other generous donors.

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. The COC enjoys a loyal audience support-base and one of the highest attendance and subscription rates in North America. 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 Schmitt Architects, the Four Seasons Centre opened in 2006. For more information on the Canadian Opera Company, visit coc.ca.

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For more information or to request photography, please contact:

Kristin McKinnon, COC Publicist, tel: 416-306-2383, e-mail: kmckinnon@coc.ca

Rachel Finamore, Faulhaber Communications, tel: 416-504-0768 ext. 232, e-mail: rf@faulhabercommunications.com

Posted by Public Relations / in Press Releases / comments (0) / permalink

10/13/2017

SEVEN CANADIAN SINGERS COMPETE IN COC’S ANNUAL VOCAL SHOWCASE AT CENTRE STAGE GALA FUNDRAISER

Read the PDF version here.

First Prize Now Valued at $10,000 with Elora Festival Performance Opportunity

Toronto – Toronto – The Canadian Opera Company has selected seven finalists from across the country to showcase in this year’s exhilarating vocal competition at its fifth annual gala fundraiser, Centre Stage, on November 1, 2017. Selected from a pool of 134 aspiring Canadian opera singers, the final seven will take to the stage of Toronto’s Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts to perform selected arias in the hopes of securing a cash prize, ranging in value from $1,500 – $10,000, a performance opportunity at Ontario’s Elora Festival, and a highly coveted invitation to join Canada’s premier training program for young opera professionals, the COC Ensemble Studio.

Centre Stage is an inspiring night to celebrate Canada’s emerging opera voices with its feature event, the Ensemble Studio Competition, offering patrons in attendance a rare glimpse into the early days of a young opera singer’s professional journey. The young singers featured in the 2017 vocal competition are: bass-baritone Joel Allison (Ottawa); tenor Matthew Dalen (Grande Prairie, Alta.); mezzo-soprano Simona Genga (Woodbridge, Ont.); soprano Natalie Image (Tsawwassen, B.C.); soprano Chelsea Rus (Abbotsford, B.C.); soprano Anna-Sophie Neher (Gatineau, Que.); and baritone Jonah Spungin (Ottawa).

The 2017 finalists were chosen following preliminary auditions in Vancouver, Montréal and Toronto. At Centre Stage on November 1, each singer will give a performance showcasing their vocal technique, as well as artistic and interpretive range, before an audience and panel of judges. First Prize, also known as the Chair’s prize, increases in value to $10,000 for 2017, through joint-support by incoming Chair of the COC’s Board of Directors, Justin Linden, and the Co-Chairs of Centre Stage, Michael Gibbens and Julie Lassonde. Also new for 2017, the First Prize winner will receive a performance opportunity at Ontario’s Elora Festival, an annual summer celebration of song focusing on choral and classical, as well as world music, jazz and folk. Additional winnings are presented for Second Prize, valued at $3,000, and Third Prize, valued at $1,500. An Audience Choice Award, selected by audience vote, is valued at $1,500. Select finalists may also be invited to join the COC’s 2018/2019 Ensemble Studio, to be announced at a later date.

“Every year, as we undertake the preliminary auditions for the Ensemble Studio, the incredible pool of talented singers emerging across this country shines through. This year, in particular, there was an interesting range of voices heard and I’m excited by what the finalists will have to offer in the vocal showcase at the Centre Stage gala,” says COC General Director Alexander Neef. “The 2017 Ensemble Studio Competition finalists are a combination of new discoveries and artists we’ve been following who have really blossomed into their talent. Regardless of the outcome of the competition, it will be exciting to watch how all seven finalists realize their potential in the years to come.”

COC General Director Alexander Neef heads the jury for the vocal competition portion of the evening. He’s joined by returning judges COC Director of Music and Artistic Administration Roberto Mauro, Director of the COC Academy Nina Draganić, and Head of the COC Ensemble Studio Liz Upchurch, as well as Canadian soprano and Ensemble Studio Head Vocal Consultant Wendy Nielsen, who is also a graduate of the COC’s program. New to the panel for 2017 is venerable Canadian soprano Mary Morrison, whose contribution to Canadian music is a testament to her extraordinary life and legacy as both a prodigious singer and esteemed voice teacher.

Hosting Centre Stage again this year is legendary Canadian tenor and CBC Radio personality Ben Heppner. A 1984 graduate of the COC’s Ensemble Studio, Heppner went on to have an illustrious career that took him to opera stages and concert halls around the world before giving his final professional opera performance in the title role of Peter Grimes with the COC in 2013. On November 1, 2017, Heppner hosts Centre Stage for the third time since the gala launched in 2013. He’ll oversee the evening’s vocal fireworks when the seven finalists perform from the mainstage of Canada’s first purpose-built opera house, accompanied by the internationally acclaimed COC Orchestra led by COC Music Director Johannes Debus, before an audience of 1,000 spectators. The vocal showcase at Centre Stage culminates in an announcement of the competition’s winners.

Following the competition, Centre Stage gala guests go on to enjoy an elegant formal dinner from the stunning vantage point of the Four Seasons Centre stage, joined by competition finalists and winners and notable COC artists, as well as key supporters of the company, including returning Centre Stage Co-Chairs Michael Gibbens and Julie Lassonde, and many of Canada’s business and philanthropic leaders. Guests are treated to a rare opportunity to enjoy the gastronomic creations of Chef David Lee outside of the acclaimed restaurant Nota Bene, where Lee is executive chef.

Doors open to the Four Seasons Centre (145 Queen St. W.) at 5:30 p.m. for a cocktail reception with the vocal competition taking place at 6:30 p.m. in R. Fraser Elliott Hall. Tickets to Centre Stage are $100 for the cocktail reception and competition. Specially priced $35 tickets are also available for patrons between the ages of 16 and 29 through Opera Under 30 sponsored by TD Bank Group. Gala dinner tickets are $1,500. All proceeds from Centre Stage support the COC’s Ensemble Studio.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit COCCentreStage.ca, call COC Ticket Services at 416-363-8231 or visit the Four Seasons Centre Box Office (145 Queen St. W.)

CENTRE STAGE ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Platinum Supporter: RBC Capital Markets

Opera Under 30 Sponsor: TD Bank Group

Competition Sponsor: The Hal Jackman Foundation

Gold Sponsors: Brookfield Asset Management, Gluskin Sheff, Scotiabank

Artist Sponsors: Ninalee Craig, The Patrick Hodgson Family Foundation

Prize Sponsors: Chair’s Prize (First Prize) – Justin Linden, Michael Gibbens and Julie Lassonde, and Elora Festival; Second Prize – ARIAS: Canadian Opera Student Development Fund; Third Prize – Tom C. Logan; Audience Choice Award – Classical 96.3 FM

Event Sponsors: Bespoke Audio Visual, BT/A Advertising, Chairman Mills, Cheese Boutique, DMF Flowers, Evoke Designs, Faulhaber Communications, Hudson’s Bay, Nota Bene, Ryan Emberley, Turning Technologies, Wellington Printworks


COC 2017/2018 SEASON ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

BMO Financial Group: Season Sponsor

TD Bank Group: Presenting Sponsor Opera Under 30

About the Ensemble Studio Competition
The Ensemble Studio Competition features singers from the final round of auditions for the COC Ensemble Studio, Canada’s premier training program for young opera professionals, competing for cash prizes ranging in value from $1,500 – $10,000, and a performance opportunity at Ontario’s Elora Festival, an annual summer celebration of song focusing on choral and classical, as well as world music, jazz and folk. The competition was launched in 2011 by COC General Director Alexander Neef to showcase the opera talent the COC had scouted from across the country and create a public platform for celebrating the future of opera in Canada.

With the creation of Centre Stage, the COC opened the Ensemble Studio Competition to an audience of over 1,000 opera lovers and interested guests as it moved from the intimate setting of the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre at the Four Seasons Centre to R. Fraser Elliott Hall. In 2013, the competition finalists were showcased as never before as they performed with an orchestra led by a world-renowned conductor from the mainstage of the COC’s opera house.

The annual Ensemble Studio audition process, open only to Canadian citizens and permanent residents, takes COC artistic staff across Canada for preliminary auditions, followed by a final callback audition at the COC’s Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Opera Centre in Toronto. It’s from this pool of singers that finalists are selected for the Ensemble Studio Competition.

About the COC Ensemble Studio
The COC Ensemble Studio is Canada’s premier training program for young opera professionals. Since the inception of the program in 1980, over 220 young professional Canadian singers, opera coaches, stage directors and conductors have acquired their first major professional operatic experience through the Ensemble Studio. Former members include Ben Heppner, Isabel Bayrakdarian, John Fanning, Wendy Nielsen, Joseph Kaiser, Allyson McHardy, David Pomeroy, Lauren Segal and Krisztina Szabó.

The members of the Ensemble Studio are the COC’s resident artists and important ambassadors for the company. They receive a blend of advanced study and practical experience through an individually tailored, multi-year program, involving understudying and performing mainstage roles, intensive vocal coaching, language and acting studies, and career skills development, as well as participation in masterclasses with internationally renowned opera professionals.

The COC Ensemble Studio, underwritten in part by Peter M. Deeb, Marjorie and Roy Linden, Sheila K. Piercey, RBC Foundation and The Slaight Family Foundation, 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 also supported by the Government of Canada, the Hal Jackman Foundation and other generous donors.

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. The COC enjoys a loyal audience support-base and one of the highest attendance and subscription rates in North America. 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 Schmitt Architects, the Four Seasons Centre opened in 2006. For more information on the Canadian Opera Company, visit www.coc.ca.

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For more information or to request photography, please contact:

Kristin McKinnon, COC Publicist, tel: 416-306-2383, e-mail: kmckinnon@coc.ca

Rachel Finamore, Faulhaber Communications, tel: 416-504-0768 ext. 232, e-mail: rf@faulhabercommunications.com

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8/24/2017

COC’S FREE CONCERT SERIES CONNECTS AUDIENCES WITH CITY’S ARTISTIC AND CULTURAL DIVERSITY

Read the PDF version here.

Toronto – The Canadian Opera Company’s acclaimed Free Concert Series in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre returns for its 2017/2018 season on September 26, 2017. Over 400 artists from Canada and around the world, from headlining stars to emerging young talent, celebrate Toronto’s rich artistic and cultural diversity in 76 concerts. In the season’s first performance, the rising stars of the COC Ensemble Studio introduce themselves with their favourite arias.

“The range and diversity of programming and artists represented this season is extraordinary,” says Dorian Cox, Program Manager, Free Concert Series. “Our offering of the best up-and-coming local artists and some of the biggest stars on the international stage provides something for everyone to connect with–entirely for free–in the heart of Toronto.”

Making highly anticipated returns to the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre are three of today’s greatest Canadian sopranos: Jane Archibald (the COC’s inaugural Artist-in-Residence); Sondra Radvanovsky (singing the title role in the COC’s Anna Bolena); and Erin Wall (singing the title role in Arabella). COC mainstage stars making their Free Concert Series debuts include soprano Keri Alkema (Giovanna Seymour in Anna Bolena), contralto Meredith Arwady (Death in The Nightingale and Other Short Fables), and tenor Joshua Guerrero (the Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto), in his Canadian debut.

Artists also appearing for the first time in the Free Concert Series include tenor and composer Jeremy Dutcher, in a performance that blends the tuneful melodies of his Wolastoq (Maliseet) First Nation roots with his own compositions; Italian pianist Luca Buratto, 2015 Prize Laureate of the prestigious Honens International Piano Competition; rising star Greek clarinetist and conductor Dionysis Grammenos (assistant conductor for the COC’s The Abduction from the Seraglio), in a performance with Ensemble Made in Canada; and award-winning, London-based violinist Benjamin Baker and his duo partner, Hungarian pianist Daniel Lebhardt.

Additional season highlights combine innovation and tradition with exceptional artistry. Two performances explore the many facets of Arabic music: Al Qahwa Ensemble, newly formed by Juno Award-nominated artist Maryem Tollar, presents Arabic music with a contemporary twist; and the Canadian Arabic Orchestra connects audiences with classical Arabic music while celebrating the freedom and diversity of Canada’s cultural landscape. The Vesuvius Ensemble’s holiday program of Italian Christmas folk songs uses Baroque-era string instruments, while Kaha:Wi Dance Theatre presents original contemporary works drawing from Indigenous dance traditions.

The 17/18 season also features two world premieres by Canadian composers. HAVEN Trio presents Toronto-based composer and music director Kieren MacMillan’s Three Portraits, a dramatic setting of poems by Dana Gioia, the current Poet Laureate of California. Led by artistic director Brian Current, The Glenn Gould School’s New Music Ensemble performs a new composition by Christopher Mayo that explores the works of iconoclast filmmaker, Arthur Lipsett.

Some of the city’s most respected performing arts companies return to the Free Concert Series this season, including the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s New Creations Festival, Opera Atelier and Atelier Ballet, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, Esprit Orchestra, Canada’s Ballet Jörgen and Canadian dance icon Peggy Baker. Indie opera company Against the Grain Theatre, the COC’s Company-in-Residence, also returns to put their signature twist on music by Handel.

COC artists appear in 26 concerts in the 17/18 season. Thirteen concerts feature artists of the COC Ensemble Studio, including one that honours the indomitable spirit of the athletes of the 2017 Invictus Games, who are all injured, ill, and wounded active-duty and veteran service members. Several Ensemble Studio alumni also return to the Free Concert Series: internationally acclaimed mezzo-soprano Kristzina Szabó, as well as recent graduates, sopranos Claire de Sévigné and Simone Osborne, tenor Owen McCausland and bass-baritone Gordon Bintner. Seven concerts highlight artists of the COC Orchestra, including a showcase for the young musicians of the COC Orchestra Academy, alongside their COC Orchestra mentors and artists of the Ensemble Studio.

In addition to the COC’s own young artists, the Free Concert Series is a platform for Toronto’s brightest young talents and future stars. Among the artists featured this season from The Glenn Gould School are piano four-hands virtuosi Charissa Vandikas and Linda Ruan, who form the award-winning La Fiammata Duo. Young artists spanning a variety of genres display their prodigious talent as soloists and as part of ensembles from the Schulich School of Music at McGill University, University of Toronto, Humber College, the Royal Conservatory of Music, the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, the JAZZ.FM Youth Big Band, and the Canadian Children’s Opera Company.

For a full calendar of events, please visit coc.ca/FreeConcerts.

The Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre is a focal point of the Isadore and Rosalie Sharp City Room in the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, with its striking glass wall allowing for natural lighting and a view of University Avenue. Linking Rings 3 and 4, the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre provides seating for 100 patrons. Additional seating and standing locations on the walkway and the upper floor are also available for up to 130 patrons.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The Free Concert Series in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre is supported by the Free Concert Series Endowment Fund established in honour of Richard Bradshaw by an anonymous donor.

The Free Concert Series is made possible in part by the J.P. Bickell Foundation.

BMO Financial Group: Season Sponsor

The COC Ensemble Studio, underwritten in part by Peter M. Deeb, Marjorie and Roy Linden, RBC Foundation and The Slaight Family Foundation, 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 also supported by the Government of Canada, the Hal Jackman Foundation and other generous donors.

Free Concert Series Media Sponsors: The New Classical 96.3 FM and The WholeNote Magazine

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. The COC enjoys a loyal audience support-base and one of the highest attendance and subscription rates in North America. 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 Schmitt Architects, the Four Seasons Centre opened in 2006. For more information on the COC, visit coc.ca.

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For more information or photographs, please contact:

Kristin McKinnon, Publicist, tel: 416-306-2383, e-mail: kmckinnon@coc.ca
Jennifer Pugsley, Media Relations Manager, tel: 416-306-2303, e-mail: jenniferp@coc.ca

Posted by Public Relations / in Press Releases / comments (0) / permalink

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