Parlando: The COC Blog


David Leventi Photographs the Four Seasons Centre

Photographer David Leventi has made it his mission to document the interiors of the world's greatest opera houses in a project he has titled Bjoerling's Larynx. From his artist statement

"The opera houses in Bjoerling’s Larynx stand as symbols of their nations’ wealth and grandeur, their dedication to the promotion of the arts and to bringing communities together. They are spaces with history—architecture like the National Theatre, Prague State Opera, and Estates Theatre in Prague or the Hungarian State Theatre in Budapest that were universally recognized as being so powerful they were left standing through wars, or—like Dresden’s Semperoper and Vienna’s Wiener Staatsoper—which, though bombed, were rebuilt as symbols of their nations’ perseverance. They include a Guinness Book of World Records roundup of superlatives like The Metropolitan Opera in New York—unrivalled in size, and The Real Teatro di San Carlo in Naples—the oldest continually active opera house. There are theatres such as The Palais Garnier in Paris, with a ceiling that served as the canvas for controversial artist Marc Chagall and a chandelier that—after it fell in 1896—served as the inspiration for The Phantom of the Opera. They are houses like La Scala in Milan that have resounded with the music of Verdi, Rossini, and Bellini, or The Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia, where works by Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, and Rimsky-Korsakov premiered. They are architectural statements such as Teatro Amazonas—erected in the middle of the jungle from materials imported from across the Atlantic—built to assert Manaus, Brazil in South America as a cultural centre rivaling those in Europe."

On Monday morning Leventi photographed the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts as part of this project, making it only the second 21st-century opera house to be included (the first was the Oslo Opera House). 

You can see his stunning and detailed photos of opera houses in his online portfolio (there are 30 in total), and if you would like to see them in person, they are on display at Bau-Xi Photo through Feb. 19. More of his work can be found on his blog

Photo: photographer David Leventi (right) photographs the interior of the Four Seasons Centre. Photo by Barney Bayliss. © Canadian Opera Company 2011

Posted by Cecily Carver / in Four Seasons Centre / comments (0) / permalink


Eustache de Saint Pierre Visits the Four Seasons Centre

All visitors to the
Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts this season will be treated to the sight of Auguste Rodin's Eustache de Saint Pierre, a bronze sculpture now on display at the top of the Grand Staircase. The sculpture was donated to the Art Gallery of Ontario by Joey and Toby Tanenbaum and is on loan to the COC for two years.

The sculpture depicts a heroic figure from the Hundred Years War between England and France. The French town of Calais, which had been under siege by the English for over a year, had been reduced to a state of famine and desperation. Edward III, the English King, agreed to spare the city from starvation only if six of its wealthy and powerful men offered up their lives for execution and surrendered the keys to the city. Eustache de Saint Pierre, the man depicted in the sculpture, was the first to volunteer and the five others soon followed suit. In the end, they were not forced to lay down their lives—Philippa of Hainault, the English Queen, was expecting a child and, fearing that their deaths would be a bad omen for her child, pardoned the men. In Rodin's famous collection, the Burghers of Calais (to which Eustache de Saint Pierre belongs) the six emaciated men are depicted in sackcloth with nooses around their necks, their posture showing fear and resignation as they prepare for their act of self-sacrifice.

Ingrid Mida of Fashion is My Muse was also present at the unveiling and has published a selection of her own photos on her blog.

Posted by Cecily Carver / in Four Seasons Centre / comments (0) / permalink


A First Look at Standing Room

My lovely colleagues and I had a chance this week to test-drive the new standing room area at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, and I'm excited to show you the first photos of the new spots! With these tickets priced at $12, a night at the opera is more accessible than ever, and I hope these pictures give you a good sense of what the standing room experience will be like.


Posted by Cecily Carver / in Four Seasons Centre / comments (5) / permalink

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



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