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Toronto – The Canadian Opera Company’s 2011/2012 spring season opens with one of the great operatic masterpieces of the 19th century, Jacques Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann. This darkly romantic tale about a tortured artist’s failure to find love makes its long-awaited return to the COC stage. Johannes Debus conducts the melody-filledscore and Lee Blakeley directs a production that takes its cues from Gothic-Romanticauthor E. T. A. Hoffmann’s own work. Sung in French with English SURTITLES™, The Tales of Hoffmann runs for nine performances at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts on April 10, 14, 18, 21, 27, May 3, 6, 8 and 14, 2012.
Making his COC debut as Hoffmann, the barfly poet who spins captivating reminiscences of lost loves to his fellow drinkers, is American tenor Russell Thomas. Hailed for his “ringing top notes” (Chicago Sun-Times), described as “superb” (New York Times) and noted for performances “sung with passion” (The Times, U.K.), Thomas is one of the most exciting vocal and dramatic talents on the international opera and concert scene today. Also appearing as Hoffmann for two performances (May 3 and 8) is COC Ensemble Studio graduate tenor David Pomeroy, whose rich voice has been heard with major opera companies and orchestras across Canada and throughout the United States and Europe. Pomeroy made his 2009 Metropolitan Opera debut in the role of Hoffmann, following his last appearance with the COC in 2009’s Madama Butterfly.
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Toronto – The Canadian Opera Company unveiled a stellar artistic line-up for its 2012/2013 season today at a press conference at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. The company’s 63rd season is a celebration of opera’s greatest masterpieces and features the return of works both long absent and familiar to the COC stage. The COC presents Giuseppe Verdi’s Il Trovatore, Johann Strauss II’s Die Fledermaus in a new COC production, Richard Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’sLa clemenza di Tito, Gaetano Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, Richard Strauss’s Salome and Francis Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites.
A dazzling array of the opera world’s leading artists will appear with the COC in 12/13. No less than 33 singers, conductors, directors and designers make their company debuts, including singers Anna Christy,Stephen Costello, Melanie Diener, Elza van den Heever, Isabel Leonard, Brian Mulligan, Franz-Josef Selig and Erika Sunnegårdh; conductor Ji?í B?lohlávek; director Peter Sellars; and visual artists Jean-Noël Lavesvre and Bill Viola. Returning artists include singers Isabel Bayrakdarian,Russell Braun, Judith Forst, Alan Held, Ben Heppner, Richard Margison, Adrianne Pieczonka,Michael Schade, Ramón Vargas and Tamara Wilson; conductor Stephen Lord; directors Christopher Alden, David Alden, Robert Carsen and Atom Egoyan; and designer Michael Levine. All performances take place in the company’s home, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, and feature the renowned COC Orchestra and Chorus.
Toronto – The Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio, Canada’s premier training program for young opera professionals, welcomes four outstanding new artists for the 2012/2013 season. SopranoSasha Djihanian, soprano Claire de Sévigné, tenor Owen McCausland and baritone Cameron McPhail were among 10 finalists who competed for the highly coveted Ensemble Studio positions at the inaugural Ensemble Studio Competition in November 2011. They now join an illustrious program that, since its inception in 1980, has launched the careers of over 150 Canadian singers, opera coaches, stage directors and conductors, including Ben Heppner, Isabel Bayrakdarian, John Fanning, Wendy Nielsen, David Pomeroy, Joseph Kaiser, Lauren Segal and Krisztina Szabó.
Prior to starting with the COC in the 12/13 season, the four new Ensemble Studio members are finishing major projects at home and abroad. Montreal soprano Sasha Djihanian, first-place winner of the Ensemble Studio Competition, is currently performing Micaëla in Carmen at the Teatro Petruzzelli in Bari, Italy, with Lorin Maazel conducting. Second-place winner soprano Claire de Sévigné, also from Montreal, appears as Cleopatra in Handel’s Giulio Cesare with Ottawa’s Thirteen Strings Orchestra in April 2012. New Brunswick tenor Owen McCausland, who placed third in the competition, recently performed the role of Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni at the Centre for Opera Studies in Italy and is working on completing his bachelor of arts in music at Dalhousie University. Manitoba baritone Cameron McPhail, who is currently completing his masters of arts in music at the Yale Opera Studio, will be making a role debut with Yale Opera as Tarquinius in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia this spring.