Parlando: The COC Blog


Give to the COC's Year-End Campaign

By Diana Bradshaw

Year-End Campaign

Reproduced below is the Year-End Matching Campaign letter penned by Diana Bradshaw, who draws on her experience with the Joan Baillie Archives at the COC to remind us that growth and artistic excellence rely not only on a forward-looking vision but a mindful preservation of the past.

"At the Canadian Opera Company, as our season concludes each spring, we embark on the Year-End Matching Campaign. The concept is simple: any gift you make before June 30, 2014, will be completely matched in value by an anonymous donor. This instantly doubles the impact of your gift and goes a long way towards helping the COC with its annual operations.

Funds from the campaign will support key COC programs, including the Joan Baillie Archives, where I have worked for four years, alongside five knowledgeable and hard-working volunteers. Here, we collect, catalogue and preserve objects and documents from decades of the company’s history. These include administrative records, audio and video recordings of COC performances, set and costume designs, slides and photographs, as well as newspapers, journals, periodicals and gifts by long-time subscribers of memorable opera performances.

Ontario Certificate

As a repository of public history, the Joan Baillie Archives are a living record of how operatic performance has evolved in Canada over the last 64 years and where it is heading today. Furthermore, these archives are essential to the COC’s sense of identity as an artistic institution. The question of who we are is as much about how the company got here as it is about where we are going. Did you know that even the COC’s logo (take a look at the top of this page) is designed to symbolize this? As a palindrome-figure, it is open on both sides at once, suggesting that the present is framed by the continuing interaction between our storied past and our bright future.

The same is true of our experience at the opera house. Each production is part of a perpetual conversation between tradition and innovation, between our past and our future, out of which emerges the vital, contemporary present. By giving to the Year-End Campaign, you will be supporting that process on the stage, as well as in the archives.

I hope we can count on your help with the Year-End Matching Campaign this year. With your support we will be able to ensure that the past continues to inform our present and inspire our future.

Many thanks.

Diana Bradshaw

Help us collect, archive and preserve the history of the Canadian Opera Company. Maximize your gift by giving before June 30, 2014.

Call us at 416-847-4949 or Donate Now!

Photos: (middle) Provincial incorporation documents for the Canadian Opera Company; (bottom) Poster for a 1958 production of The Barber of Seville. Images from the Joan Baillie Archives.

Posted by Danielle D'Ornellas / in Opera Appreciation / comments (0) / permalink


The Big COC Podcast - Episode 25

By Gianmarco Segato, Adult Programs Manager


For Episode 25, the “BIG TOPICS!” edition, we welcome back Opera Canada editor, Wayne Gooding; opera journalist Paula Citron and, Western Canadian opera presenter and journalist, Stephan BonfieldGianmarco Segato, the COC’s Adult Programs Manager, is your host.

  • Did critics go too far with their comments about mezzo soprano Tara Erraught in Glyndebourne Opera’s new Der Rosenkavalier? –umm - YES! [Link to article]
  • The unfolding saga of San Diego Opera takes a turn for the better: a 50th anniversary season is announced… but are they out of the hole yet? [Link to article]
  • The Met reaches out to its unions — but will it be enough to prevent a dark season? [Link to article]
  • Latest scandal at La Scala — incoming chief Alexander Perreira accepts truncated, one year contract! [Link to article]
  • And finally, our panel shares their fave (and not so fave) operas of the season

Are you listening? Let us know your thoughts, opinions and suggestions by commenting here, or on Facebook, Twitter or by e-mail (

You can subscribe to The Big COC Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or in your favourite podcast player with our RSS feed (

Posted by Danielle D'Ornellas / in The Big COC Podcast / comments (0) / permalink


Don Quichotte: Meet the Suitors

In Massenet's Don Quichotte, the fair and lovely Dulcinée is wooed by a variety of suitors other than the aging knight himself. The suitors comprise of two tenors, a mezzo-soprano and a soprano, the latter two being 'pants roles'. But did you know that almost all of the suitors are COC Ensemble Studio graduates? Meet the singers who bring Dulcinée's entourage to life!

Sasha DjihanianPedro: Sasha Djihanian
Canadian soprano Sasha Djihanian is in her second and final year of the COC Ensemble Studio. After making her opera debut in Opéra de Montréal's 2009 production of The Magic Flute, she was a national finalist in the 2011 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. She also represented Canada in the 2011 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World and won the First Annual COC Ensemble Studio Competition that same year. During her time at the Canadian Opera Company, she appeared as Fiordiligi in the Ensemble performance of Così fan tutte, as Alisa in Lucia di Lammermoor, and she stepped in as Annio in a mainstage performance of La clemenza di Tito, in addition to playing the role in the Ensemble performance. Although Sasha is graduating from the program this year after completing Don Quichotte as Dulcinée's young suitor Pedro, she'll return to the COC as Zerlina next winter in Don Giovanni

You can follow Sasha on Twitter: @SashaDjihanian and watch her BBC Cardiff performance on YouTube

Ariana ChrisGarcias: Ariana Chris
A former member of the L'Atelier Lyrique de Montreal program, Ariana Chris makes her COC debut in the role of Garcias, Dulcinée's studious suitor. Ariana is a Greek-Canadian mezzo-soprano who represented Greece in the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition in 2005, and in 2010 she performed the Greek National Anthem for the 2010 Winter Olympics closing ceremony! Ariana has performed with companies such as Opera Hong Kong; Opéra de Montréal; Angers Nantes Opéra; Santa Fe Opera; Le Poisson Rouge; Carnegie Hall; Opéra Français de New York; New York City Opera, where she made her debut as Lola in Cavalleria rusticana; and has collaborated with Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. 

You can learn more about Ariana on her website, and watch her perform "Una voce poco fa" on Youtube.

Owen McCauslandJuan: Owen McCausland
Tenor Owen McCausland may only be finishing his second year in the Ensemble Studio program, but he has spent quite a bit of time on the mainstage this season. Recently Owen has appeared as the Servant in A Masked Ball, Ferrando in Così fan tutte (Ensemble Studio performance), Parpignol in La Bohème and Reverend Horace Adams in Peter Grimes, and he's currently doing double-duty this spring as Lord Cecil in Roberto Devereux. But audiences may know him best from when he stepped into the title role in La clemenza di Tito on the mainstage as well as the Ensemble performance. In Don Quichotte, Owen plays the hotblooded suitor Juan, who attempts to convince Dulcinée that the aging knight is not a suitable companion. In the 2014/2015 season, Owen returns to the Ensemble Studio program for a third year.

You can read a great review of Owen's La clemenza di Tito performance here.

Andrew HajiRodriguez: Andrew Haji
Andrew's role in Don Quichotte caps off his first successful year in the Ensemble Studio program! Previously Andrew was seen onstage at the Four Seasons Centre as Ferrando in the Ensemble Studio performance of Così fan tutte, and in a variety of Free Concert Series performances. Andrew holds a masters of music in opera from the University of Toronto (UofT) where his credits include Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore, Cecco in Haydn’s Il mondo della luna, Vanderdendur/Ragotski in Candide, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, Lacouf/Reporter from Paris in Poulenc’s Les mamelles de Tirésias, and the title role in Rob Ford: The Opera! In Don Quichotte, Andrew plays Rodriquez, the wise suitor who warns Juan to take Don Quichotte more seriously! 

You can learn more about Andrew on his website, and follow him on Twitter: @AndrewHaji


And before you go...
Sasha Djihanian as Pedro
Take a quick peek at Sasha Djihanian in costume as Pedro!

Don Quichotte runs until May 24, 2014 at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. For tickets and more information visit here.

Photo: (top) A scene from the Canadian Opera Company's 2014 production of Don Quichotte. Photo by Michael Cooper

Posted by Danielle D'Ornellas / in Don Quichotte / comments (1) / permalink

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