Parlando: The COC Blog


Free Concert Series Highlights for January

Canadian Art Song Project in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre

Happy New Year! We're ringing in 2015 with concerts that celebrate the fresh, the new and the exciting this January. Whether it's the world premiere of a new work, exciting young artists or an emerging genre that you're hearing about for the first time, there is something for everyone this month in the Free Concert Series. But don't worry, there's still room for old favourites!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015
5:30 - 6:30 p.m.
Easy to Love: The Cole Porter Song Book
Amy McConnell & William Sperandei Quartet

Juno Award-nominated duo, vocalist Amy McConnell and trumpeter William Sperandei, are joined by pianist Brian Dickinson and bassist Ross MacIntyre in a heartwarming hour dedicated to some of the best-loved songs from master composer and lyricist Cole Porter. Don't miss out on Amy's rendition of perennial favourites like “Night and Day,” “I've Got You Under My Skin” and "Easy to Love." Hear Ella Fitzgerald's version of "Easy to Love" below:

Thursday, January 8, 2015
12 - 1 p.m.
Ritmo Flamenco Dance and Music Ensemble

It's a family affair for Ritmo Flamenco. Award-winning dancer/choreographer Anjelica Scannura (recently featured in the COC’s production of Don Quichotte) moves beyond geographical and stylistic boundaries searching for the obscure Arabic roots of flamenco. Joined by her parents, Ritmo Flamenco’s music director and master composer/flamenco guitarist Roger Scannura and dancer/teacher/artistic director Valerie Scannura, Canada’s pre-eminent flamenco family seamlessly works together, as only a family can, to create a beautiful, heart-felt piece.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015
12 - 1 p.m.
Cross Cultural Journey
Justin Gray's Indo-Jazz Collective

Never heard of Indo-Jazz? Then you'll want to check out this concert! Indo-Jazz is an emerging genre that explores the synthesis of two musical worlds. Humber alumnus, professor and bassist Justin Gray leads the audience and the talented young artists of the Indo-Jazz Collective on a cross-cultural journey through his unique compositions that blend elements of traditional Indian classical raga music and contemporary jazz. Get a taste of the genre in the video below, featuring Justin.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015
12 - 1 p.m.
A Celebration of Canadian Art Song
Canadian Art Song Project

Don't miss the world premiere of Enchantments of Gwendolyn, presented by the Canadian Art Song Project. It's a new song cycle by Marjan Mozetich based on texts by Gwendolyn MacEwen, performed by mezzo-soprano Allyson McHardy and pianist Adam Sherkin. The program also includes sopranos Joni Henson and Nathalie Paulin performing works by some of Canada’s finest composers of song.

Thursday, January 29, 2015
12 - 1 p.m.
Introducing the Academy
COC Orchestra Academy

Discover a new generation of orchestra musicians in this special presentation. Now in its second year, the COC Orchestra Academy is a unique opera-focused mentorship program offering talented young artists from The Glenn Gould School and the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music the opportunity to experience playing as part of a world-class orchestra in an operatic production, under the mentorship of professional musicians in the COC Orchestra. This concert sees members of the Academy perform alongside their mentors in a program of gems from the chamber music repertoire.

Ballet Jorgen in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre

Is there a concert you're most looking forward to? Share it with us in the comments!

Banner photo credit (top to bottom): Canadian Art Song Project performs in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, photo: Tracy Kay; Artists of the COC Orchestra, photo: Chris Hutcheson

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


Artist Basics: Jennifer Holloway

With the new year comes new talent to the COC, including American mezzo-soprano Jennifer Holloway's company debut! Jennifer is known across the globe for her “nuanced dramatic impulses” and a “voice that is liquid, lambent, and lit from within.”

What she’s doing with us: Jennifer will be making her company debut as woman scorned Elvira in our upcoming production of Don Giovanni.

Where you might have seen her: Jennifer's recent performances have met with wide critical acclaim, including her English National Opera debut as Prince Orlofsky in Christopher Alden’s striking production of Die Fledermaus (a co-production with the Canadian Opera Company); her breakthrough performance at Argentina’s Teatro Colón as Temple Drake in the world premiere of Oscar Strasnoy’s new opera, Requiem; and her return to the Metropolitan Opera for Tebaldo in Don Carlo, conducted by the late Lorin Maazel. Jennifer has previously sung the role of Donna Elvira for both Pittsburgh Opera (2012) and Tulsa Opera (2011).

Jennifer Holloway as Irene in Teatro Real's Tamerlano, 2008 [first seen riding the elephant at 59:00]


Jennifer also has a wide variety of concert work under her belt, with highlights including her first appearances with the Marseille Philharmonic and Maestro Lawrence Foster in a concert tour of China, and with the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra in a program including the world premiere of Frédéric Chaslin’s Love and a Question, a series of songs based on poetry by Robert Frost, which Chaslin composed for her.

Jennifer Holloway singing Frédéric Chaslin’s Love and a Question


Acclaim for Jennifer Holloway as Donna Elvira in Mozart's Don Giovanni:

“Jennifer Holloway as Donna Elvira was the most impressive of the women, singing with fine line, intensity and ample intelligence.”
Mark Kanny, Pittsburgh Tribune Review, 2012

“Ms. Holloway had... an expressiveness that came to the fore in "Mi tradi," in which Elvira lays bare her conflicted soul.”
Andrew Druckenbrod, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 2012

"Holloway's [mezzo] soprano captures the high-strung intensity of Donna Elvira, a woman driven madin every sense of the wordby love for the wrong sort of man. Holloway almost spits out "Ah! chi mi dice mai" with a bitter vengefulness, only later to wrestle with inexplicable yet inescapable feelings of love in "Mi tradi quell' alma."
–James D. Watts Jr., Tulsa World, 2011

Photo Credit (top image): Jennifer Holloway. Photo: Arielle Doneson, 2014.

Find out the latest news on Jennifer by following her on Twitter @jennhollowaaay

Catch Jennifer Holloway in the COC's production of Don Giovanni, opening in January 2015. For more information and to buy tickets, visit here.

Posted by Kiersten Hay / in Don Giovanni / comments (0) / permalink


Broadsheet Music: A Year in Review

Mark down 2014 as the year the Canadian Opera Company put out an album with Broken Social Scene and Fucked Up. No, really. Broadsheet Music: A Year in Review is a collaborative effort between the The Globe and Mail and renowned record label Arts & Crafts, with the COC as a presenting partner, to create a diverse mix of songs based on the big issues and stories that affected the lives of Canadians this past year. These songs are collected in a free album featuring original songs created by diverse artists including celebrated indie collective Broken Social Scene, Polaris Music Prize winning hardcore punk band Fucked Up, Calgary’s Reuben And The Dark, and songstress Tamara Williamson, among others.

Topics explored in this unique project include missing aboriginal women in Western Canada, the divisive battle for Jerusalem, sexual violence and a culture of silence, and the loss of comic Robin Williams. The project comes to life in audio, video, photography and editorial, with elements featured both online at as well as in print. The album is made available as a free download for a limited time from Arts & Crafts.

Broadsheet Music bucks the trend of traditional year-end best-of lists in a massive and meaningful way,” said Jared Bland, Arts Editor of The Globe and Mail. “Together with our project partner Arts & Crafts and presenting partner Canadian Opera Company (COC), our goal was to commission a peerless collection of timeless songs, built by musical peers in a crystallized time. It is our gift to our readers, and the fans of these diverse and extraordinarily talented Canadian artists.”

Working in collaboration with Arts & Crafts and music director Charles Spearin (Do Make Say Think, Broken Social Scene), a collection of unique Canadian artists assembled in late fall to create distinctive and impactful songs. You can hear the COC Ensemble Studio’s own Karine Boucher and Owen McCausland on Fucked Up’s song, “Voce Rubata”, a seventeen-minute Italian opera in six acts looking at the misleading illusions of liberty and the voice.

“We are honoured to partner with The Globe on this ambitious and creative idea,” said Jonathan Shedletzky, Project Manager of Arts & Crafts. “The project provided the opportunity for a diverse collection of our artists to collaborate on the creation of meaningful and challenging pieces.”

This collaborative effort resulted in a 38-minute album of six songs covering a breadth of topics vital to our country and our time:

  • ● Reclamation and human accountability – “Golden Facelift” – Broken Social Scene

  • ● Missing aboriginal women in Western Canada – “Red River” – Reuben And The Dark

  • ● Sexual violence and a culture of silence – “The Next One” – Tamara Williamson and Absolutely Free

  • ● The misleading illusions of liberty and the voice – “Voce Rubata” – Fucked Up

  • ● Exploring the divisive battle in the Mid-East – “Jerusalem” – Jason Collett and Zeus

  • ● Ode to one of our era’s most affective comedians – “No Doubt Or Fire” – Brendan Canning

Visit to listen to Broadsheet Music: A Year in Review and read related content.

Image Credit: The Globe and Mail

Posted by Kiersten Hay / in Ensemble Studio / comments (3) / permalink

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



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