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Toronto – One of the most popular operas of all time, Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca, opens the Canadian Opera Company’s 2011/2012 winter season. The COC brings back its lavish 2008 production by director Paul Curran, showcasing renowned Canadian soprano Adrianne Pieczonka in her COC role debut as the passionate and fiery heroine. Italian conductor Paolo Carignani, former general music director of Oper Frankfurt, makes his company debut leading the COC Orchestra and Chorus. Tosca runs for 14 performances on Jan. 21, 25, 29, 31, Feb. 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 16, 21, 23 and 25, 2012 at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts and is sung in Italian with English SURTITLES™.
Tosca’s fast-paced plot is full of romance and intrigue. Set in Rome in 1800, Tosca is a famed opera singer whose lover has revolutionary sympathies. In trying to protect the man she loves from a blood-thirsty chief of police, Tosca finds herself caught in a web of corruption, lust and betrayal and ultimately commits an act of murder. The title role is one of the composer’s most complex and fascinating heroines, fit for great operatic actresses. Pieczonka, most recently with the COC last spring in the title role of Ariadne auf Naxos, calls Tosca her “dream role” and has drawn high praise for her portrayal since making her role debut in 2008: “She was radiant,” says the Los Angeles Times, and “Pieczonka’s Tosca is the quintessential diva, rendering her signature arias with ease and verve” describes SF Weekly. Sharing opera’s hallmark “diva” role is American soprano Julie Makerov, whose vocalism and dramatic intensity as Tosca has made her “every inch the imperious diva, moving from flashing-eyed jealous lover to abused woman to penitent murder,” says the Florida Sun Sentinel. Makerov returns to the COC following outstanding acclaim for lead performances in 2010’s The Flying Dutchman and 2008’s Rusalka.
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Toronto – This February, the Canadian Opera Company presents the Canadian premiere of acclaimed Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho’s Love from Afar (L’amour de loin), a haunting and vivid musical creation that has become one of the most performed and successful operas composed of this century. This new COC production is helmed by COC Music Director Johannes Debus and visionary director Daniele Finzi Pasca, and features an all-Canadian cast of voices both familiar and new to the COC stage: baritone Russell Braun, soprano Erin Wall and mezzo-soprano Krisztina Szabó. Sung in French with English SURTITLES™,Love from Afar runs for eight performances at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts on Feb. 2, 4, 8, 10, 12, 14, 18 and 22, 2012.
Since the opera’s premiere in 2000 at the Salzburg Festival, Love from Afar has captivated audiences worldwide with performances at Théâtre du Châtelet, Sante Fe Opera, Stadttheater Bern, Finnish National Opera, the Bergen International Festival, English National Opera and Vlaamse Opera. Arguably the greatest opera of the 21st century, it has been praised as a “haunting and resonant work... transfixing and utterly distinguished” by the New York Times.
Toronto – Soprano Sasha Djihanian, a native of Montreal, claimed the top prize last night at the inauguralCanadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio Competition at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, selected from 10 finalists to receive the $5,000 award. Soprano Claire de Sévigné, also from Montreal, won the second prize of $3,000 and tenor Owen McCausland from Saint John, New Brunswick was awarded the third prize of $1,500. In addition, Sudbury soprano Lindsay Barrett was selected by the audience as the winner of the Audience Choice Award, worth $1,500.
The 10 finalists from across Canada were selected from over 160 singers in preliminary auditions in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and New York. Each finalist performed two arias with piano accompaniment in front of a live audience and an adjudicator panel comprised of COC General Director Alexander Neef, Music Administrator Sandra Gavinchuk, Head of the Ensemble Studio Liz Upchurch, and guest judges Opera Canada editor Wayne Gooding, and Canadian soprano, voice teacher, and Ensemble Studio alumnaWendy Nielsen.