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Toronto – The Canadian Opera Company kicks off the 2011/2012 season of it its wildly popular Free Concert Series in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre on Sept. 20, 2011 at 12 p.m. The series opens with annual audience favourite Meet the Young Artists, featuring the rising stars of the Canadian Opera Company’sEnsemble Studio in a program of their favourite operatic arias. Inaugurated in 2006, the 10-month festival of concerts and dance events attracts 15,000 people annually to the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, showcasing hundreds of artists from Canada and around the world.
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“Hi-octane” (Opera News)
“Susan Graham in a performance of continuous dramatic power and musical mastery” (Chicago Sun-Times)
“Compelling case for the opera as a visceral and emotional contemporary music drama” (The Sunday Times)
Toronto – From the same creative team that brought Toronto audiences to their feet night after night this past spring with the Canadian Opera Company’s Dora Award-winning production of Orfeo ed Euridice comes the COC’s 2011/2012 season opening production of Christoph Willibald Gluck’s Iphigenia in Tauris. Gluck’s masterpiece has its company premiere with director Robert Carsen at the helm of an emotionally gripping production that features Susan Graham, one of the opera world’s foremost opera stars, making her eagerly anticipated COC debut in the title role. Leading the COC Orchestra and Chorus is Spanish conductor Pablo Heras-Casado, returning to the company after his thrilling debut in last season’s Nixon in China.
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Toronto – A tragedy of Shakespearean dimensions is brought to life by some of opera’s most passionate and memorable music in the COC’s fall production of Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi. The story of the tragic jester, Rigoletto, who vows to avenge his cruelly seduced daughter but ends up losing everything he loves, comes alive in a new production by the innovative team of COC Music Director Johannes Debus, American director Christopher Alden and award-winning Canadian designer Michael Levine. Sung in Italian with English SURTITLES™, Rigoletto runs for 12 performances at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts on Sept. 29, 30 and Oct. 2, 5, 8, 13, 14, 16, 17, 18, 20, 22, 2011.
Coming together to perform Verdi’s perennial favourite are up-and-coming opera stars as well as established voices from the operatic world. Hawaiian baritone Quinn Kelsey’s stage presence and fluid voice has been turning heads in North America and Europe since he graduated from Chicago Lyric Opera’s prestigious young artist program in 2006, and he makes his COC debut as Rigoletto. Kelsey shares the role with notable Verdi baritone Lester Lynch (2001’s Billy Budd), whose commanding, rich and nuanced voice has made him a regular presence in the major opera houses of the U.S.