Parlando: The COC Blog


Opera Access for New Canadians



We are proud to announce the creation of Opera Access for New Canadians, a community outreach and engagement initiative to make the COC’s BMO Financial Group Student Dress Rehearsals and select performances accessible to new Canadian citizens and newcomers to Canada, including immigrants and refugees. The first phase of Opera Access for New Canadians begins this spring with the COC joining the Institute for Canadian Citizenship’s Cultural Access Pass (CAP) program, which offers new Canadian citizens one year of complimentary admission to more than 1,200 cultural attractions across the country.

“We are proud of providing a cultural space in this country where people are free to gather, create art and express opinions—freedoms not granted in many places around the world,” says COC General Director Alexander Neef. “The Opera Access program is a celebration of that freedom and a way for us at the COC to welcome new Canadians to our community and introduce them to our art form.”

The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, founder of the ICC, says “this new partnership with the COC provides a unique behind-the-scenes look into Canada’s premiere opera company. We are delighted.” Charlie Foran, CEO of the ICC, explains, “Our Cultural Access Pass has now grown to the point where we can offer CAP members experiences in the performing arts, as well as in cultural institutions and federal and provincial parks.”

The ICC will work with the COC to allocate and distribute dress rehearsal tickets to its CAP membership. A maximum of 40 free tickets will be set aside to every COC dress rehearsal as part of the opera company’s enrollment in the ICC’s CAP program. In addition to attending a dress rehearsal, participants will sit-in on one of the COC’s BMO Financial Group Pre-Performance Opera Chats and receive an informal tour of the COC’s opera house, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. The first COC productions to be accessed through the opera company’s involvement in CAP will be Carmen and Maometto II, in performance at the Four Seasons Centre in April and May 2016.

New citizens who have received their Canadian citizenship within the past year can register for a Cultural Access Pass. The pass is valid for one year from the date of obtaining citizenship. For more information and eligibility requirements, visit, e-mail or call 1-888-359-6998.

The creation of Opera Access for New Canadians is the formal implementation of a COC initiative first mentioned by COC General Director Alexander Neef from the stage of the Four Seasons Centre (mobile version here) on opening night of the company’s presentation of The Marriage of Figaro in February 2016. The COC subsequently hosted small groups of Syrian and Ethiopian refugees at performances of The Marriage of Figaro, facilitated by the ICC, Lifeline Syria and The Ripple Refugee Project. As Opera Access for New Canadians develops, additional partnerships will be announced that allow for increased accessibility to opera dress rehearsals and select performances for newcomers to Canada, including immigrants and refugees. 

About the Institute for Canadian Citizenship

The ICC was founded in 2006 by the Rt. Hon. Adrienne Clarkson and John Ralston Saul to welcome new Canadian citizens and foster active citizenship for all Canadians. For more information, visit

Photo credit: Lucia Graca

Posted by COC Staff / in Opera Access / comments (0) / permalink




It’s been a while since we’ve reported on the honeybees that live on the roof of the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t been as busy—really, really busy.

All that hard work has paid off and it’s official: COC bees produce the best honey!

Fred Davis, beekeeper to the hundreds of thousands of bees who live on our roof, entered this season’s harvest into the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair amber honey competition this year. The honey took first prize, with a score of 96 points out of a possible 100!

Congratulations to Fred, his volunteer assistant Vivien, and the many, many COC honeybees who worked their fuzzy behinds off all year.

Here’s the story in Fred’s words:

The bees at the COC produce a beautiful amber honey. So my enthusiastic and very eager beekeeping volunteer, Vivien (a real "newbee") encouraged me to enter the honey into the competition and I decided to enter this year's harvest in the amber category. (Other colour categories are white, golden and dark).

We learned that the Royal Winter Fair's judges scored each honey category based on 10 criteria; originally I thought the judges based the winner on flavour alone. I was reluctant at first to submit the honey because I expected that all of the entrants would be old hands at the competition circuit and have their own secret way to filter and present their honey. I truly thought that I would receive an "atta boy" e-mail from the judges. It was quite stressful trying to make the honey as clear as possible, as I am very reluctant to take anything away from the raw honey. 

But, in the end, the most gratifying part of this experience for me was knowing that natural, unprocessed honey from downtown Toronto was the best according to the judges at the Royal Winter Fair, and how lucky I am to have a partner in the COC and the Four Seasons Centre where the honeybees can flourish! 

The bees have been all wrapped up and fed for the winter, and are having a well-deserved rest.  I have been peeking in on them from time to time and dream of opening up a healthy hive this spring. 

P.S. My winning secret was to simply pass the honey once through a sieve and then once through cheesecloth. Very high tech!  

Thanks Fred! You can read previous posts on our honeybees by clicking on the “FSCPA Honeybees” tag in the right-hand column. You can also purchase honey made by the COC honeybees at the main bar at the Four Seasons Centre during performances of the COC and the National Ballet of Canada.

Photos courtesy of Fred Davis

Posted by COC Staff / in FSCPA Honeybees / comments (0) / permalink


Announcing the COC App!


Single tickets for the Canadian Opera Company performances are easier to purchase than ever before with our free new app, just in time for the spring 2016 productions of Carmen and Maometto II!

The Canadian Opera Company app is now available in Apple’s App Store and Google’s Google Play. “Our vision for the Canadian Opera Company app is to create a platform for sustained engagement with the company’s work,” says COC Chief Communications Officer Steve Kelley. “In its current form, the app gives us a basic way for users to connect with the COC via their mobile device and elevate the already rich online COC experience. Features and objectives for the app will continue to evolve as we anticipate the needs of mobile patrons of the COC.”

With the easy to use mobile application, users can:

  • • Purchase tickets to all Canadian Opera Company mainstage production performances

  • • Explore upcoming performances

  • • Get up-to-the-minute information about performance dates and times, ticket prices, promotions and venue information

  • • Stream performance and behind-the-scenes videos and browse image galleries

  • • View purchase history and access ticket information

  • • Engage with the Canadian Opera Company across all its social media channels, sharing information with friends and followers

  • • Learn more about the largest producer of opera in Canada and one of the largest in North America

To download the COC’s new free app, search Canadian Opera Company on the iTunes App Store (Apple devices) and Google Play (Android devices).

 Photo credit: Lucia Graca 

Posted by COC Staff / in COC / comments (0) / permalink

Previous << 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30  >> Next 

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



Subscribe to the COC e-mail newsletter.
Contact Tanner
Have a question? Want to share a link? Submit a comment!