Parlando: The COC Blog


Artist Basics: John Relyea


Canadian bass John Relyea continues to distinguish himself as one of today's finest singing actors. Hear him prove it onstage when he appears in our production of Bluebeard's Castle/Erwartung this May, and read on to discover more about this Toronto-born international sensation!    

What he’s doing with us: John will be singing the role of the dark Duke Bluebeard in the first opera in the iconic double-bill, Bluebeard's Castle.


John as Duke Bluebeard in the Seattle Opera presentation of the Canadian Opera Company’s production of Bluebeard’s Castle, 2009. Photo: Rozarii Lynch

Where you might have seen him: Previously, John has appeared onstage in many of the world’s most celebrated opera houses including the Metropolitan Opera; San Francisco Opera (where he is an alumnus of the Merola Opera Program and a former Adler Fellow); Lyric Opera of Chicago; Seattle Opera; Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Paris Opera; Bayerische Staatsoper; Vienna State Opera; Theater an der Wien; and the Mariinksy Theater.

(l-r) Malgorzata Walewska as Judith and John Relyea as Duke Bluebeard in the Seattle Opera presentation of the Canadian Opera Company’s production of Bluebeard’s Castle, 2009. Photo: Rozarii Lynch

His past roles include the title roles in Attila, Le Nozze di Figaro, Bluebeard’s Castle, Don Quichotte, Attila, and Aleko; Zaccaria in Nabucco, Bertram in Roberto le Diable, Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Colline in La Bohème, Don Alfonso in Lucrezia Borgia, Don Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Alidoro in La Cenerentola, Giorgio in I puritani, Banquo in Macbeth, Garibaldo in Rodelinda, Méphistophélès in both Faust and La Damnation de Faust, the four villains in Les contes d’Hoffmann, Escamillo in Carmen, Marke in Tristan und Isolde, Caspar in Der Freischutz, Nick Shadow in The Rake’s Progress, Collatinus in The Rape of Lucretia, and King René in Iolanta. He last appeared onstage with the COC as the four villains in our 2012 production of The Tales of Hoffmann.

(l-r) Keri Alkema as Giulietta and John Relyea as Dapertutto in the Canadian Opera Company production of The Tales of Hoffmann, 2012. Photo: Chris Hutcheson

John is also in high demand as a concert artist, appearing regularly with orchestras such as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and the Berlin Philharmonic. 

John Relyea as the Nightwatchman (start at 2:26) in the Metropolitan Opera production of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, 2001.

He has appeared at various festivals, including Tanglewood, Ravinia, Blossom, Cincinnati May, Vail, Lanaudière, Salzburg, Edinburgh, Lucerne and Mostly Mozart, and in the BBC Proms.

John will be making a role debut as King Philip II in Verdi’s Don Carlo this summer at the Escorial in Spain. Be sure to catch him while he's here in Bluebeard's Castle, part of the iconic Bluebeard/Erwartung double-bill!

See John Relyea as Bluebeard in our current production of Bluebeard's Castle/Erwartung. For more information and to buy tickets, click here

Photo credit (banner): Shirley Suarez 

Posted by Kiersten Hay / in Bluebeard/Erwartung / comments (0) / permalink


In Memory: Peter Collins


The COC is greatly saddened by the news of the passing of Peter Collins, COC Ensemble Studio member from 2001-2004, who is remembered as a great friend and colleague with a beautiful tenor voice. We look back at some of the productions he was involved with, and wish his family and friends comfort in their time of grief. 


The Magic Flute

Peter Collins, third from the left, in the Ensemble Studio production of The Magic Flute, 2005. Photo: Michael Cooper


Coffee Cantata


Peter Collins, centre figure, in the Ensemble Studio production of The Coffee Cantata, 2003. Photo: Michael Cooper


Live Performance

Handel's Messiah by Headwaters' Concert Choir, St.Marks Anglican Church, 2007.



2006/2007 Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk - Zinovy understudy
Das Rheingold - Loge & Froh understudy

2005/2006 Wozzeck - Drum Major understudy 
The Magic Flute - First Armed Man/Priest/Ensemble
Götterdämmerung - chorus (and Norma chorus)

2004/2005 The Handmaid's Tale - Commander X

2003/2004  Peter Grimes - Peter Grimes (understudy)
Dido and Aeneas - Sailor
Coffee Cantata - Tenor (understudy)
Turandot - Prince of Persia & Calaf (understudy)
Die Walküre - Siegmund (understudy)

2002/2003  Queen of Spades - Tchekalinsky
Queen of Spades - Hermann (understudy)
Turn of the Screw - Prologue/Quint
Jenůfa - Lača (understudy)
A Masked Ball  - Magistrate & Gustavo (understudy)
Madama Butterfly - Pinkerton (understudy)

2001/2002  Il tabarro/Cavalleria rusticana - Peddlar (chorus) & Tinca (understudy)
Giulio Cesare in Egitto - Curio
Salome - Fourth Jew
Il Viaggio a Reims - Gelsomino
Boris Godunov - Simpleton (understudy)

Posted by Kiersten Hay / in In Memory / comments (0) / permalink


When it rains it pours! Accolades for The Barber of Seville come rushing in

Posted by Kiersten Hay / in Barber of Seville / comments (0) / permalink

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



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