Parlando: The COC Blog


Madama Butterfly Journey: The Opera


Madama Butterfly is one of Giacomo Puccini’s greatest works and one of the most popular operas in the world. The opera tells the tragic story of Cio-Cio San, a Geisha, who falls in love with B. F. Pinkerton, a U.S. naval officer, while he is stationed in Japan. Formed through layers of symbolism, musical history, and diverse cultures, the opera is filled with unique elements from the costumes to the arias that help make it a favourite of opera goers both old and new.

Explore our production of Madama Butterfly in our new series of infographics, where we guide you through the story and characters, costumes, makeup, and wigs, and the score, set, and artistic direction of our production. Get to know the show before you go, and catch a glimpse behind the scenes of Puccini’s perennial favourite. 


Click on the image below (or here) to view!







































Posted by Kiersten Hay / in Madama Butterfly / comments (0) / permalink


Free Concert Series Highlights for September and October

Artists of the COC Orchestra in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre

We're back! After a chilly summer hiatus, the Free Concert Series in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre returns for its 2014/2015 season today with an always popular performance by artists of the COC Ensemble Studio. Their performance is just one of many highly anticipated concerts this September and October. Here are five more concerts that you won't want to miss!

Thursday, September 25, 2014
12 - 1 p.m.
Fuego Lento
Payadora Tango Ensemble

Payadora, one of Toronto's hottest new ensembles, performs highlights from their self-titled debut album. The program features sophisticated and sizzling arrangements of traditional and contemporary tango music, including new works written specifically for the ensemble. Watch the video below for a sneak preview!

Thursday, October 9, 2014
12 - 1 p.m.
A Shropshire Lad
Artists of the COC Ensemble Studio

In remembrance of the First World War, tenor Jean-Philippe Fortier-Lazure and bass-baritone Iain MacNeil perform two very different, yet equally beautiful and deeply felt settings of poems by A.E. Housman: Ivor Gurney's Ludlow and Teme and George Butterworth's A Shropshire Lad. Gurney's experience in the trenches as a private and his own war poetry lend a particular poignancy to his setting, which casts a darker light on the wartime experience when compared to Housman’s idealized pre-war poetry.

Hear Sir Thomas Allen's touching rendition of Butterworth's "Songs from a Shropshire Lad" in the video below.

Thursday, October 23, 2014
12 - 1 p.m.
Gypsy Songs
Lauren Segal and Robert Gleadow

Mezzo-soprano Lauren Segal (Meg Page in the COC’s production of Falstaff) teams up with bass-baritone and fellow cast member Robert Gleadow (Pistola in Falstaff) in a rich and spicy program featuring Dvořák’s Gypsy Songs, de Falla's Siete Canciones Populares Españolas and Ibert's Chansons de Don Quichotte, as well as a selection of duets by Brahms and Fauré. Anna Netrebko sings Dvořák’s Songs My Mother Taught Me, in the video below

Tuesday, October 28, 2014
12 - 1 p.m.
The Idea of North
Víkingur Ólafsson

Two great northern cultures meet when Víkingur Ólafsson, Iceland's award-winning rising star pianist and host of the Icelandic TV series Útúrdúr, makes his Toronto debut. In addition to performing music from his homeland and Nordic neighbours, he pays tribute to one of his greatest inspirations, legendary Toronto pianist Glenn Gould, in a performance of Bach's Goldberg Variations. Check out Víkingur's performance of Bach's Partita No. 5 in the video below for a taste of what to expect!

Thursday, October 30, 2014
12 - 1 p.m.
Divertissement à 6
Winds of the COC Orchestra and Monique de Margerie

The first of five concerts this season featuring artists of the COC Orchestra shines the spotlight on the woodwind section. An all-female wind quintet joins forces with pianist Monique de Margerie in a charming program of chamber works by Jean Françaix (Divertissement), György Ligeti (6 Bagatelles for Wind Quintet) and Francis Poulenc (Sextet). Hear a version of Françaix's Divertissement in the video below.

For more information about all of our exciting concerts this season, visit or check out our Facebook page!

Photo credit: Artists of the COC Orchestra, photo: Chris Hutcheson

Posted by Kristin McKinnon / in Free Concert Series / comments (0) / permalink


The Big COC Podcast — Episode 27

By Gianmarco Segato, Adult Programs Manager


For Episode 27, the “Money Talks” edition, we welcome back arts journalist Catherine Kustanczy, Opera Canada editor,Wayne Gooding, and Jenna Douglas, a Toronto-based collaborative pianist and author of the opera blog, Schmopera. Gianmarco Segato, the COC’s Adult Programs Manager, is your host.

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

Are you listening? Let us know your thoughts, opinions and suggestions by contacting us on our blog, Parlando, Facebook, Twitter, or by e-mail (

Posted by Meighan Szigeti / in The Big COC Podcast / 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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