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Toronto – The Canadian Opera Company’s 2011/2012 season closes with the company premiere of George Frideric Handel’s Semele in a production directed by famed Chinese visual and performance artist Zhang Huan. Joining Mr. Zhang to present Handel’s sparkling and seductive opera about the pitfalls of love affairs between gods and mortals is Italian Baroque opera specialist Rinaldo Alessandrini, who leads the COC Orchestra andChorus. Sung in English with English SURTITLES™, Semele runs for eight performances at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts on May 9, 11, 13, 16, 19, 22, 24 and 26, 2012.
The COC’s presentation of Semele is the first opportunity for audiences to experience Zhang’s production ofSemele outside Brussels, Belgium, where it premiered in 2009, and Beijing in 2010, where it was China’s first major staging of a Baroqueopera. Zhang made his directorial debut with Semele, conceiving a work that blends aBaroque aesthetic with the splendour of China in a production the New York Times called “scenically stunning, theatrically absorbing, musically rewarding” and “a feast for the eyes.”
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Toronto – The Canadian Opera Company presents a double bill of witty one-act operas as part of its 2012 spring season with the Canadian premiere of Alexander Zemlinsky’s A Florentine Tragedy and the return of Giacomo Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, last seen with the COC in 1996. The two operas are presented in a new COC production by the legendary soprano-turned-director Catherine Malfitano and world-renownedconductor Sir Andrew Davis. A Florentine Tragedy is sung in German and Gianni Schicchi is sung in Italian, both with English SURTITLES™. The double bill of A Florentine Tragedy/Gianni Schicchi runs for eight performances at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts on April 26, May 2, 5, 12, 15, 18, 20 and 25, 2012.
The COC’s double bill is one of the rare times that A Florentine Tragedy and Gianni Schicchi have been paired together. The two works were written just a year apart, with Zemlinsky’s A Florentine Tragedypremiering in Stuttgart in 1917 and Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi at the Metropolitan Opera in 1918, and both use Florence as the backdrop for their respective stories of familial turmoil.
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.