COC Media Releases

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

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8/23/2017

LOVE, LAUGHTER AND BEL CANTO BLISS SERVED UP IN COC’S CROWD-PLEASING OPERATIC POTION, THE ELIXIR OF LOVE

Read the PDF version here.

Toronto – Laughter and love stories carry over into the new Canadian Opera Company production of Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love, one of the most popular comedies of the opera world for almost 200 years. The Elixir of Love runs for eight performances at Toronto’s Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts on October 11, 15, 17, 21, 27, 29, November 2, 4, 2017.

The classic Cinderella story is presented with a twist in The Elixir of Love with a poor and uneducated young man (Nemorino) who dreams of winning the heart of a rich, clever and beautiful woman (Adina) through the aid of a magic elixir. In the hands of distinguished American director James Robinson this romantic comedy comes to the COC as a “delightful confection that leaves audiences beaming from overture to finale” (Riverfront Times).

Robinson’s “ingenious update” (Napa Valley Register) captures the idyllic nostalgia of a picturesque summer in a small town pre-World War I, with a landscape reminiscent of the worlds of the musicals The Music Man and Meet Me in St. Louis. Period costumes by original costume designer Martin Pakledinaz and a charm-filled rural set design by Allen Moyer, with lighting design by Paul Palazzo, work together to deliver a “brightly colored cartoon sensibility…like Thornton Wilder set to an Italianate musical track” (San Francisco Chronicle). Originally imagined with the bucolic setting of the American countryside as a 2008 co-production for several U.S. opera companies, Robinson’s staging of The Elixir of Love has been given a subtle Canadian remodeling for its COC debut intended to suggest a Niagara-on-the-Lake locale. Amanda Seymour joins the creative team as the revival costume designer.

Toronto-born Yves Abel, a regular guest artist with the world’s great opera houses and symphonies, makes a highly anticipated COC debut conducting Donizetti’s bubbly elixir of bel canto bliss. Enchanting melodies run throughout this flirtatious tale with none more famous than Nemorino’s heartfelt, “Una furtiva lagrima,” one of the best-loved arias in all of opera.

Donizetti’s instantly appealing score is also a showpiece for rising operatic talent. This production is a showcase for the return of three recent graduates of the COC Ensemble Studio training program now making their way on the world stage: tenor Andrew Haji, quickly becoming a sought-after voice on the operatic and concert stages, is the love-sick Nemorino; soprano Simone Osborne, one of the most exciting emerging artists in the opera world, is the rich and beautiful Adina; and bass-baritone Gordon Bintner, appearing in major roles this season with Oper Frankfurt, is Belcore, Nemorino’s rival for Adina’s affections.

English baritone Andrew Shore, one of the most distinguished singing actors working on the lyric stage, is the travelling conman Doctor Dulcamara. COC Ensemble Studio soprano Lauren Eberwein is Giannetta, Adina’s friend.

The Elixir of Love is the most famous of Donizetti’s operas, which stand out in the operatic repertoire, as described by The Grove Dictionary of Music, “through the grace and spontaneity of their melodies, their formal poise, their effortless dramatic pace and above all the romantic vitality that underlies their veneer of artifice.” An immediate success at the time of its premiere in Milan in 1832, The Elixir of Love remains popular with audiences to this day. Written in the bel canto style, it is designed to show off the human voice to maximum effect and demands great virtuosity from its singers.

All COC performances of The Elixir of Love feature the COC Orchestra and Chorus. The Elixir of Love is sung in Italian with English SURTITLES™, and was last presented at the COC in 1999.

This new production of The Elixir of Love joins the COC’s repertoire having originally been conceived as a 2008 co-production between Opera Colorado, Boston Lyric Opera, San Francisco Opera, Fort Worth Opera and Michigan Opera Theatre.

TICKET INFORMATION
Single tickets for The Elixir of Love range from $35 – $225 and box seats, when available, are $350. Tickets are now on sale, available online at coc.ca, by calling 416-363-8231, or in person at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts Box Office (145 Queen St. W.). For more information on specially priced tickets available to young people under the age of 15, standing room, Opera Under 30 presented by TD Bank Group, student groups and rush seating, visit coc.ca.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
BMO Financial Group: Season Sponsor
TD Bank Group:
Presenting Sponsor Opera Under 30

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.

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 to request photographs, please contact:

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


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8/23/2017

LUSH LYRIC COMEDY, ARABELLA, HAS COC PREMIERE IN GLAMOROUS, OPULENT STAGING

Read the PDF version here.

Toronto – The Canadian Opera Company opens its 2017/2018 season with the lush orchestration and soaring vocal lines of Richard Strauss’ lyrical comedy about love, money and sex, Arabella. Never before presented by the COC, Arabella has its company premiere with a glamorous opulent staging conceived by acclaimed Toronto-resident director Tim Albery, starring two of the finest sopranos on the world stage today: Canadians Erin Wall and Jane Archibald. Arabella runs for seven performances on October 5, 10, 14, 18, 20, 22, 28, 2017 at Toronto’s Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.

German Patrick Lange, the new general music director for the Wiesbaden State Theatre and one of the most exciting maestros of his generation, returns to the COC to conduct Arabella’s beautiful and charming score in a staging that shows audiences “how seductive and insightful Strauss can be when offered a production as gracefully nuanced as this one” (Santa Fe Reporter). A COC co-production with Minnesota Opera and Santa Fe Opera, this new presentation of Arabella was praised by The New York Times as “smart and tasteful,” singling out how Albery “honors the work’s period setting in a sensitively detailed production” with sets and costumes by Tobias Hoheisel and lighting design by David Finn.

At the core of Strauss’ opera is the relationship between two sisters of a financially ruined noble family who are trying to find their way amidst the changing world of turn-of-the-century Vienna. Inspired by this backdrop of age-old contrasts and a yearning for something more, Albery situates the action of Strauss’ opera in Vienna on the eve of the First World War. The staging suggests a time of hedonistic triviality with the looming cataclysm of the war that would destroy all the certainties of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The result is “an extravagant, visually appealing (Gustav Klimt-style) glamour that suits the characters and their situations” (Opera News).

World-renowned Canadian Erin Wall brings her “lovely, sympathetic Arabella” (New York Times) and “radiant soprano caressing Strauss’ sinuous, soaring lines” (Dallas Morning News) to the COC to sing the title role. Making her role debut as Zdenka, Arabella’s sister who is forced to pass for a boy, is acclaimed Canadian Jane Archibald, the COC’s 2017/2018 Artist-in-Residence and an “extraordinary coloratura soprano” (Globe and Mail) who “whether it be her projection, tone, intensity, breath or agility, as a soloist or in the many ensembles, her voice radiates and surprises at every moment” (ClassiqueNews.com).

Poland’s Tomasz Konieczny, a bass-baritone praised as “full of light, radiance, power and immeasurable generosity,” (Frankfurter Allgemeine), makes his Canadian debut as Mandryka, Arabella’s suitor. American tenor Michael Brandenburg brings “his natural acting and clear, attractive tenor” (Metro Weekly) to his company and role debut as Matteo, the penniless officer who loves Arabella and is secretly loved by Zdenka.

Distinguished Canadian baritone, and COC Ensemble Studio graduate, John Fanning is Count Waldner, Arabella and Zdenka’s gambling father, and German mezzo-soprano Gundula Hintz makes her Canadian debut as their mother, Adelaide.

Arabella’s trio of suitors are portrayed by three rising operatic talents: American tenor Corey Bix makes his COC debut as Count Elemer, American baritone Craig Irvin sings Count Dominik and COC Ensemble Studio baritone Bruno Roy is Count Lamoral. COC Ensemble Studio graduate coloratura soprano Claire de Sévigné is the belle of the ball, Fiakermilli. Canadian mezzo-soprano Megan Latham is the Fortune Teller.

Strauss’ Arabella was first performed in 1933 at the Dresden Sächsisches Staatstheater. It is the final collaboration between the composer and his long-time librettist Hugo von Hofmannsthal, who had previously worked together on Elektra, Der Rosenkavalier, Ariadne auf Naxos, Die Frau ohne Schatten and Die ägyptische Helena. While written in the late 1920s, the libretto of Arabella is based on a short story written by Hofmannsthal in 1910, Lucidor, Characters for an Unwritten Comedy, where the focus was not on Arabella but her tomboy sister, Lucile (the quasi-trouser role of Zdenka in the opera), and published before the First World War.

Arabella is Strauss’ best-loved stage work from the 1920s and ’30s and contains some of the composer’s most beautiful music for orchestra and soprano voice. Performed with greater frequency among European opera houses than in North America, the COC premiere of Arabella may also mark the opera’s Canadian debut.

All performances of the COC’s production of Arabella feature the COC Orchestra and Chorus. Arabella is sung in German and presented by the COC with English SURTITLES™.

TICKET INFORMATION
Single tickets for Arabella range from $35 – $225 and box seats, when available, are $350. Tickets are now on sale, available online at coc.ca, by calling 416-363-8231, or in person at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts Box Office (145 Queen St. W.). For more information on specially priced tickets available to young people under the age of 15, standing room, Opera Under 30 presented by TD Bank Group, student groups and rush seating, visit coc.ca.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
BMO Financial Group: Season Sponsor
TD Bank Group: Presenting Sponsor Opera Under 30

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.

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 to request photographs, please contact:

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

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

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