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TORONTO, ON September 15, 2014 —An evening of the most scintillating array of music, fashion, food and
arts, the Canadian Opera Company’s must-attend fundraiser of the season Operanation returns to the Four
Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts on Thursday, October 16, 2014. Operanation: Light up the Night is
set to entice over 1,000 of Toronto’s top arts patrons, notable personalities and party-goers to the COC’s
acclaimed opera house to once again raise over $100,000 for the opera company’s Ensemble Studio,
Canada’s premier training program for young opera professionals. This year’s theme, Light up the Night, will
deliver a luminous affair bursting with opera-meets-modern-music performances, dazzling displays of fashion
and art installations, and inspired culinary flavours.
“Operanation is an important event for the COC, not only because as a fundraiser it sells-out year-after-year
but because it continues to draw new audiences in to explore and engage with the operatic artform,” says
COC General Director Alexander Neef.“ Operanation audiences have enthusiastically responded to the
uniqueness of the event. It is an inspirational evening that crosses all artistic genres to showcase the beauty of
opera while also raising money for our Ensemble Studio, an essential program in the development of Canada’s
emerging opera talent.”
Music’s Brightest Stars
Operanation began as a modest fundraiser in 2005 and has since expanded into a grand affair that now hosts
over 1,000 guests to the opera “it” party of the season. Operanation reaches new audiences with a creative
presentation that showcases the diversity of the art form.
Operanation evolved in 2010 to incorporate collaborative efforts when Alexander Neef and Jeffrey Remedios,
Arts & Crafts President and past Operanation Co-Chair, rejuvenated the performances to blend opera with
modern popular music. The 2014 theme, Light up the Night, hits its highest note as colour and light come
together to signify the event’s success in bringing together multiple musical genres. Guests will be dazzled as they witness the collaboration of a modern musical artist with a young opera star from the COC’s Ensemble
Studio. Building on the success of past collaborations featuring Sam Roberts Band, Rufus Wainwright, Nelly
Furtado, Broken Social Scene and Arkells, Operanation: Light up the Night promises to impress with this
year’s musical collaboration.
This year’s event is spearheaded by co-chairs Randi Bergman, Executive Digital Editor at Fashion
Magazine, Anne Maggisano of Burgundy Asset Management and Patrick Sambrook of Eggplant
Entertainment who will bring a diverse portfolio of experience with fashion, finance and music to inspire the
guests of Operanation: Light up the Night.
Operanation raises money for the COC’s Ensemble Studio, Canada’s premier training program for young
opera professionals. Since the inception of the program in 1980, over 180 young professional Canadian
singers, opera coaches, stage directors and conductors have acquired their first major professional operatic
experience through the Ensemble Studio. 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.
Operanation’s Spanish Style
Taking inspiration from the COC’s production of the riotous operatic romp The Barber of Seville, Operanation:
Light up the Night will infuse the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts with a modern Spanish flair
featuring bright and colourful illuminations and neon accents throughout the opera house. This year’s original
creative works off the theme’s Latin flavour, as styled by event Co-Chair Randi Bergman (Executive Digital
Editor at Fashion Magazine), and features the season’s latest trends from The Room including a Jonathan
Saunders dress and shoes by Gianvito Rossi.
The COC has collaborated with three modern designers to design snap bracelets that are available through the
buy-in of their annual raffle. Designers include; Chloe and Parris Gordon (BEAUFILLE), Tania Martins and
Mona Koochek (MARKOO), and Kaelen Haworth (KAELEN). The bracelets will encompass the theme of the
highly anticipated event, a look that is both vibrant and innovative.
Onlookers will have the opportunity to transcend the colour of the evening into their own wardrobe with the top
raffle prize being $10,000 to The Room. Other highlights include caterer 10tation and signature Operanation:
Light up the Night cocktails crafted by David Mitton of The Harbord Room and Canadian Whisky Ambassador.
Tickets for the party portion of Operanation: Light up the Night are $150 per person, available online at
Operanation.ca or by calling COC Ticket Services at 416-363-8231.
Early Bird Tickets Sold Out.
Presenting Sponsor: TD Bank Group
Preferred Fragrance: Calvin Klein Fragrances
Partnering Sponsor: Burgundy Asset Management
Contributing Sponsors: Bloomberg, Canaccord Genuity, Birks
Event Supporters: BT/A, Chairman Mills, Knot PR, Mill St., Perrier, The Room, Toronto Life, Trius Wines, and
10tation. J.P. Wiser’s ® Canadian Whisky, Lot No. 40™ Canadian Whisky, Pike Creek™ Canadian Whisky,
Jameson® Irish Whiskey, The Glenlivet® Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Aberlour® Single Malt Scotch Whisky,and Beefeater® Gin.
Operanation: Light up the Night Co-chairs: Randi Bergman, Anne Maggisano and Patrick
Operanation: Light up the Night Campaign Credit: Photo: Dexter Quinto, 2014. Dress by Jonathan Saunders available at The Room, Hudson’s Bay. Shoes by Gianvito Rossi.
The COC Ensemble Studio, underwritten in part by Peter M. Deeb 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 through the Department of Canadian Heritage, RBC Foundation, Hal Jackman Foundation, and
other generous donors.
Operanation is the Canadian Opera Company’s premier fundraising event. For arts patrons as well as the
opera-curious, Operanation presents a unique experience, equal parts party and performance, with special
collaborations between classic and modern music and complementary art forms ranging from visual arts to
fashion. Attracting over 1,000 guests, Operanation takes over three floors of the COC’s opera house, the Four
Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. Funds raised for Operanation are directed towards the COC’s
Ensemble Studio, Canada’s premier training program for young opera professionals. For more information
on Operanation, visit facebook.com/Operanation.
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, 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
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Nicole Martin, Knot PR
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Toronto – The Canadian Opera Company’s 2014/2015 season opens with an opera hailed as the crowning achievement of Verdi’s career, Falstaff. This new company production is led by master director Canadian Robert Carsen and COC Music Director Johannes Debus with internationally acclaimed Canadian bass-baritone Gerald Finley making a long-awaited return to the COC in his role debut as the impoverished, loveable knight, Sir John Falstaff. Falstaff is sung in Italian with English SURTITLES™ and comes to the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts for seven performances on October 3, 9, 12, 14, 25, 29 and November 1, 2014.
Based primarily on Shakespeare’s comedy The Merry Wives of Windsor, which follows Falstaff’s ill-advised seduction attempts and resulting folly, Carsen’s production of Verdi’s Falstaff sets the action in a lovingly rendered 1950s England. A new COC co-production with Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Teatro alla Scala; Metropolitan Opera and Dutch National Opera, this Falstaff has already delighted audiences in London, Milan, New York and Amsterdam, and has been described as “a wonderful show” (Telegraph), “enchanting” (New York Times) and “Verdi’s masterpiece has rarely seemed so rich or life-affirming” (Opera News).
Grammy and Juno Award-winning Canadian bass-baritone Gerald Finley is “an opera singer of distinction” (New York Times) and one of the leading singers and dramatic interpreters of his generation, having performed at the world’s major opera and concert venues in a wide variety of repertoire. Last seen in a COC mainstage production in 1993 for The Marriage of Figaro, Finley returns to the opera company in a highly anticipated role debut as the irrepressible rogue Falstaff, who clings to his supposedly noble roots, even as he steals, cheats and deceives his way into an ill-advised scheme involving two gentlemen and their wives. Finley is at the helm of an all-Canadian cast.
Internationally acclaimed baritone Russell Braun (2014’s Roberto Devereux, 2012’s Il Trovatore and Love from Afar) is Ford, Falstaff’s nemesis. The two wives determined to teach Falstaff a lesson are played by two of Canada’s leading opera singers: Quebec soprano Lyne Fortin sings Alice Ford in her COC debut, and Ensemble Studio graduate, South African-Canadian mezzo-soprano Lauren Segal (2012’s The Tales of Hoffmann, 2011’s Iphigenia in Tauris) is Meg Page.
Acclaimed contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux (2005’s Rodelinda and Tancredi) returns to the COC as Mistress Quickly. Praised for her vocal richness and skill, Lemieux reprises the role she sang to great acclaim in this production’s London and Milan presentations.
Rising soprano Ensemble Studio graduate Simone Osborne (2014’s A Masked Ball, 2013’s La Bohème, 2012’s Gianni Schicchi, 2011’s Rigoletto and The Magic Flute) is the lovesick Nannetta and tenor Frédéric Antoun (2013’s Dialogues des Carmélites, 2011’s The Magic Flute) sings Fenton, her amorous suitor. Acclaimed tenor, and Ensemble Studio alumnus, Michael Colvin (2014’s Madama Butterfly, 2013’s Salome, Dialogues des Carmélites) is Dr. Caius. Cast as Falstaff’s disreputable companions are distinguished tenor Colin Ainsworth, in his COC debut, as Bardolfo, and Ensemble Studio graduate bass Robert Gleadow (2014’s Madama Butterfly, 2014’s Così fan tutte, 2013’s La clemenza di Tito, 2012’s Il Trovatore) as Pistola.
COC Music Director Johannes Debus conducts his first Falstaff, taking the COC Orchestra and Chorus through the innate lyricism and artistry of Verdi’s score that captures all the joy, wisdom and profound humanity of Shakespeare’s comic invention.
Audiences will find themselves fully immersed in the world of post-war England with sets by Paul Steinberg and costumes by Brigitte Reiffenstuel (2013’s Lucia di Lammermoor, 2012’s The Tales of Hoffmann) evoking the time period’s aristocratic style as well as glorious gaudy leanings. Lighting design is by Robert Carsen and Peter van Praet.
In conceiving the direction for this production, Robert Carsen noted how the Elizabethan period in which Shakespeare wrote the play shares many similarities with the second Elizabethan period of post-WWII England. The aristocratic class was waning, while the upwardly mobile business and professional classes surged to a position of great financial strength. In the 1950s, as in the 1590s, English society became acutely aware of social relations among the classes and paid particular attention to money and moral value.
“There were parallels in terms of class struggle and the rise of the middle classes, represented in the opera by the very rich Ford, and the twilight of the aristocracy represented by Sir John who’s clinging to his aristocratic roots,” says Carsen.
Written near the end of Verdi’s life, Falstaff was the composer’s final opera. It premiered at La Scala in 1893 and is a testament to Verdi’s expressive music, which represented a bold and new conception of how opera could be composed.
Single tickets for Falstaff range from $12 – $339 (subject to change), and are 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.
The COC’s new production of Falstaff is generously underwritten in part by BMO Financial Group
The COC’s new production of Falstaff is supported in part by the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund
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.
Presenting Sponsor of SURTITLES™: Sun Life Financial
Official Automotive Sponsor of the COC at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts: Mercedes Benz
The COC Ensemble Studio, underwritten in part by Peter M. Deeb 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 through the Department of Canadian Heritage, RBC Foundation, Hal Jackman Foundation, W. Garfield Weston 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, and is also the performance venue for The National Ballet of Canada. For more information on the COC, visit its award-winning website, coc.ca.
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For more information or to request production photographs, please contact:
Jennifer Pugsley, Media Relations Manager, tel: 416-306-2303, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Toronto – The Canadian Opera Company’s beloved production of Puccini’s heartbreaking masterpiece of love, longing and loss, Madama Butterfly, comes to the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts this October. An exquisite production by Canadian theatrical legend Brian Macdonald, designed by Susan Benson with lighting by Michael Whitfield, the COC’s Madama Butterfly has become a Toronto favourite, playing to sold-out audiences at its 1990 premiere and subsequent revivals in 1994, 1998, 2003 and 2009. Madama Butterfly is sung in Italian with English SURTITLES™ and runs for 12 performances on October 10, 11, 15, 18, 19, 21, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30 and 31, 2014.
Madama Butterfly is the story of Cio-Cio San, a young Japanese geisha who seeks to fulfil her dreams through marriage to an American naval officer. Her faith in their future is shattered by his empty vows, and the loss she endures makes the opera’s tragic ending even more devastating.
Two great American singing actresses make their COC debuts in the feature role of Cio-Cio San: Patricia Racette and Kelly Kaduce. One of the most important and acclaimed sopranos on the international stage today, Racette has appeared in the world’s finest opera houses and comes to Toronto in her signature role of Madama Butterfly. Racette’s portrayal of the beloved heroine touched millions in the recent Metropolitan Opera HD broadcast and has been declared to “rightly stand among the great Butterflies of her era” (Opera News). Kaduce is a rising star on the operatic world stage, praised for delivering a Cio-Cio San that “demolishes stereotypes. This is no conventional Butterfly-as-victim, but a woman of consequence” (Santa Fe Reporter).
Also appearing with the COC for the first time are two of opera’s leading tenors singing the role of Cio-Cio San’s beloved Pinkerton: Stefano Secco, praised for his “gorgeous, nuanced Italianate tenor singing” (Opera News) and Andrea Carè, one of the most important artists among the new generation of Italian tenors.
Returning to the COC is Elizabeth DeShong (2011’s Cinderella, 2009’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream) as Suzuki, Cio-Cio San’s devoted servant. The internationally acclaimed American mezzo-soprano most recently sang the role with San Francisco Opera and the Metropolitan Opera.
Rounding out the cast is Ensemble Studio baritone Clarence Frazer as Prince Yamadori; Ensemble Studio graduate bass Robert Gleadow (2014’s Falstaff, 2014’s Così fan tutte, 2013’s La clemenza di Tito, 2012’s Il Trovatore) as The Bonze; Canadian baritone Gene Wu as Yakuside; Ensemble Studio bass-baritone Iain MacNeil as The Imperial Commissioner; Ensemble Studio bass-baritone Gordon Bintner as The Official Registrar; Canadian mezzo-soprano Lilian Kilianski as Cio-Cio San’s mother; Canadian mezzo-soprano Karen Olinyk as Cio-Cio San’s aunt and Canadian soprano Alexandra Lennox-Pomeroy as Cio-Cio San’s cousin.
A rising star in the generation of young conductors, German Patrick Lange makes his COC debut leading the COC Orchestra and Chorus through Puccini’s passionate score. Containing some of opera’s most memorable music, Madama Butterfly is considered Puccini’s best work, reflects his varied influences, including American and Japanese melodies, and features an unusually large orchestra for an Italian opera.
About Madama Butterfly
Set in Nagasaki, the plot of Madama Butterfly is partly based on an actual occurrence between an American naval officer and a Japanese geisha in the 1890s and was composed by Puccini after seeing David Belasco’s play Madame Butterfly in 1900. After a less than favourable premiere at La Scala in 1904, Puccini withdrew the score and made extensive revisions. Madama Butterfly is now one of the most popular and most performed operas in the world.
Director Brian Macdonald and designer Susan Benson purposefully sought a design that would enhance the story of this treasured work. The production’s lean abstract set design and use of space only serve to heighten the emotions of the drama unfolding on stage. Stylistically, Benson has chosen to present Japan through the lens of European Romanticism, rather than in a historically realistic way. The colour palette she draws from is one symbolic of troubles to come with bright oranges giving way to stormy greys.
Single tickets for Madama Butterfly range from $12 – $339 (subject to availability), and are 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.)
Production Sponsors: The Asper Foundation and KPMG
The COC’s production of Madama Butterfly was originally made possible by John A. Cook
The COC Ensemble Studio, underwritten in part by Peter M. Deeb 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 through the Department of Canadian Heritage, RBC Foundation, Hal Jackman Foundation, W. Garfield Weston Foundation, and other generous donors.