Parlando: The COC Blog


Super Jim Lucas!

Meet Jim Lucas, supernumerary-extraordinaire! Supernumeraries, a.k.a. supers, are the extras of the opera world and play a variety of non-singing roles. Jim has been a “super” with the COC in approximately 60 productions, beginning with Der Rosenkavalier in 1990, in which he recalls having to navigate a tricky spiral staircase dressed as a lackey while holding a sword. He remembers his hands trembling with nerves when he shared a scene with the Marschallin, sung by soprano Carol Vaness, but that initial experience got him hooked. Jim had been a COC subscriber prior to trying his luck as a super, but it was a conversation at a house party with a COC staff member that inspired him to audition for Rosenkavalier. He is a visual artist, and already had an interest in both theatre and opera, so he thought to himself, “Why not?”

That first opera led to dozens of appearances in productions spanning 23 years. He considers the highlight of his time with the COC (so far!) an experience in Don Pasquale when the director didn’t like what an onstage actor was doing in his role, and so decided to replace him at the last minute with Jim, who then spent the entire day in rehearsal with the director, and was on stage that evening at the dress rehearsal.


Posted by Claire Morley / in Behind the Scenes / comments (2) / permalink


The Big COC Podcast - Episode Eleven - bel canto


For Episode 11, the very special “It ain’t just trills, bel canto edition, our panel chats with conductor extraordinaire, Stephen Lord. Joining him are Opera Canada editor, Wayne Gooding, together with Gianna Wichelow, the COC’s Senior Communications Manager, Creative (A.K.A. the Opera Whistler!). Gianmarco Segato, the COC’s Adult Programs Manager, is your host. 

Here are just a few highlights from our chat:

  • What exactly does bel canto mean; more importantly, what is it not?
  • The Callas myth – was she the best exponent for bel canto?
  • Bel canto operas are “undramatic” – well…no, they’re not!
  • “Paper and ink weren’t cheap!”; in other words – why assume bel canto operas should to be cut?
  • Want to see a really good updating of a bel canto opera…?
  • Lucia di Lammermoor’s ending: a Tristan reversal?
  • Want to hear a really good tenor…?

Are you out there listening? Do you like our new introduction? What would you like us to talk about next? Let us know by sending us your ideas/comments by commenting here, on Facebook, Twitter or by e-mail (

Posted by Gianmarco Segato / in The Big COC Podcast / comments (0) / permalink


Light and Shadow: Clea Minaker Adds her Touch to Egoyan’s Salome

By Suzanne Vanstone, Senior Communications Manager, Editorial

A scene from Salome

The story of Salome has always been a shocking one. Be it the biblical account, Oscar Wilde’s play, or Richard Strauss’s opera, the subject matter is erotic and brutal. The young girl Salome, to the horror of her stepfather Herod, demands the head of John the Baptist in return for performing the Dance of the Seven Veils. Acclaimed film director Atom Egoyan first mounted Salome for the COC in 1996, and subsequently in 2002, and brings his searing production back this spring. Joining him for this remount is shadow designer and performer Clea Minaker, whose work with shadow and light will further unveil the abuse and violence at the opera’s core.

An artist’s work is influenced by so many factors and Egoyan discusses his thoughts about when he first directed this work. “I see this production as originally part of a trio of projects I had where I was dealing with the notion of abuse. In Exotica (1994), Salome (1996), and The Sweet Hereafter (1997), young women had been traumatized by a history of abuse. Each of the characters – Christina in Exotica, Salome and Nicole in The Sweet Hereafter – react differently, but it is clearly an abusive situation. I don’t understand how you can’t address that in the production – it’s there.


Posted by Danielle D'Ornellas / in 2012/2013 / comments (1) / permalink

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Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001



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