Opera Talks

Casual. Informative. Real.

Opera Talks is a FREE and interactive series presented by the Canadian Opera Company in partnership with the Toronto Public Library. Operaphile extraordinaire Wayne Gooding invites you to explore works from the COC’s 2017/2018 season with audio - visual elements - engaging discussion.

NEW Location: Toronto Public Library, Don Mills Branch, 888 Lawrence Ave. E. Toronto, ON, 7-8 p.m.


Admission: FREE but advanced registration is recommended by calling the Dons Mills branch of the Toronto Public Library at 416-395-5710.

Operatic First Loves and Fatal Attractions

Opera has been about the battle of the sexes for more than 400 years. The art form knows whereof it sings. This three-night series focuses on women in love—a woman who’s waiting for Mr. Right (Arabella), a naïve teen willing to die for her lover (Rigoletto), and Anne Boleyn, beheaded along with her first love by Henry VIII (Anna Bolena). We’ll explore each case in stand-alone sessions that introduce these three  operas to new and experienced audience members.

Sisters in Love (Arabella) September 27, 2017 7 - 8 p.m.

Richard’s Strauss’s Arabella, receiving its COC premiere this fall, is all about two young women dreaming of their future loves. Due to family poverty, Zdenka is forced to pass for a boy, and her older sister, Arabella, is expected to make a good marriage, even though she wants to wait for the right man. In this presentation of a romantic opera that premiered in Dresden the year Hitler took power, we meet the sisters and the men in their orbit.

The Trials of Teen Love (Rigoletto) January 31, 2018 7 – 8 p.m.

Verdi’s Gilda is one of his most vivid creations, an innocent teen swept off her feet and ravished by an amoral and powerful man. She won’t listen to her over-protective father or accept the evidence of his infidelity when it’s laid out before her—she’s so swept away, that she is willing to die for the Duke. This introduction to the COC’s winter presentation of Rigoletto explores the way a timeless trope plays out through Verdi’s brilliant bel canto music.

Trapping The Queen (Anna Bolena) April 4, 2018 7 – 8 p.m.

At the start of Donizetti’s Anna Bolena-  the queen already knows her relationship with Henry VIII is over. She still has some feeling for the king, as she does for her first lover, Lord Henry Percy (Riccardo in the opera). Riccardo is suddenly brought back from exile by the treacherous king as a pawn in a convoluted frame-up that, as we know from history, costs Anne Boleyn her head, and frees Henry to marry his third wife Jane Seymour. The piece may not stand up to strict historical scrutiny, but to introduce the COC’s spring staging of a what counted as a psychological thriller in the 1830s, this session explores one of opera’s great soprano roles—a searing portrayal of rejection, isolation and destruction.


Wayne Gooding, Editor, Opera Canada.

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