By Gianmarco Segato, Adult Programs Manager
For Episode 18, our “KICKSTARTING (literally) the fall season” edition, we welcome back Opera Canada editor, Wayne Gooding; Alia Rosenstock, Associate Artist Manager with Dean Artists Management as well as Ali Kashani, the COC’s Associate Director, Institutional Gifts (and opera aficionado.) Gianmarco Segato, the COC’s Adult Programs Manager, is your host.
You can tell things are heating up in opera land as we had lots to talk about this week:
Are you out there listening? What would you like us to talk about next time? Let us know by sending us your ideas/comments by commenting here, on Facebook, Twitter or by e-mail (email@example.com).
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This fall, spend your Sunday nights at the opera in your own living room with COC General Director Alexander Neef and CinéTFO+'s Sunday opera program! At 8 p.m. each Sunday, from September 22 to October 20, watch as Alexander introduces each of the late 19th-century French operas featured below and shares his insights about the productions, history and cast.
Sunday, September 22, 2013, 8 p.m. - Massenet's Manon, Grand Teatre del Liceu, 2007
This production of Massenet's tragic opera features superstars Natalie Dessay and Rolando Villazón as the two devoted but suffering lovers who are never quite on the same page as they desperately try to hold on to their romance. Director David McVicar uses an amphitheatre-like setting and features dancer-actors in complex choreographies, reflecting the action and inner thoughts of the leads. Not a production to miss, you can watch a clip from Manon and the Chevalier’s cheerful Act II duet on YouTube.
Sunday, September 29, 2013, 8 p.m. - Chabrier's L'étoile, Opéra Comique, Paris, 2008
This classic opéra bouffe by Emmanuel Chabrier has encountered a new popularity of late. The late 19th-century opera deals with a menacing monarch, a series of mistaken identities, botched romantic entanglements and not one, but two marriages at the end! The Opéra Comique production is colourful and whimsical to match the fantastical tone of the opera, and lends itself nicely to the light-hearted plot.
Sunday, October 6, 2013, 8 p.m. - Bizet's Carmen, Opéra de Lyon, 2012
This popular production of Bizet's Carmen wowed and stunned the opera world last year, with a very Moulin Rouge-inspired staging that turned an opera about revolutionaries into an opera about the bourgeois lifestyle and those who fight against it. José Maria Lo Monaco plays a stunning Carmen, a woman who wants to be watched but will control exactly how you see her, a woman with no qualms about shifting her affections from the soft-hearted Don José (Yonghooon Lee) to the exciting Escamillo (Giorgio Caoduro.)
Sunday, October 13, 2013, 8 p.m. - Lecocq's La fille de Madame Angot, Opéra de Lausanne, 2011
One of the most successful French light operas around, La fille de Madame Angot deals with orphan Clairette who is bethrothed to an honest wig-maker but has her sights set on a dashing young revolutionary writer instead. After she makes her intentions known by publicly reciting one of the poet's controversial pieces, she's arrested and discovers that her writer may not be what he seems! The Opéra de Lausanne production reveals a bright and colourful France, reflecting the ambitions and dreams of the young people at the heart of the story.
Sunday, October 20, 2013, 8 p.m. - Gounod's Roméo et Juliette, Arena di Verona, 2011
What could be more perfect for Gounod's popular adaptation of Shakespeare's beloved romantic tragedy, than a performance in fair Verona? The two star-crossed lovers, played by Nino Machaidze and Stefano Secco, charm each other and the audiences in this 2011 performance set in Verona’s ancient arena with a large cast, fleshing out Shakespeare's story about two warring families. Check out the trailer above for a preview of this extravagant production.
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When the Canadian Opera Company's 2013 production of La Bohème premieres this October at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, do you know who your Rodolfo will be?
You have a choice between three charming tenors: Michael Fabiano, Eric Margiore and Dimitri Pittas.
Toronto audiences may be familiar with American tenor Dimitri Pittas from his recent and memorable appearance with the COC for 2010's Rigoletto as the smarmy Duke of Mantua. Before he made his role debut at the COC, Dimitri was an apprentice artist with the Santa Fe Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, and was a member of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. Since then he has performed at the Met in many romantic and tragic lead roles. The popular young tenor was also cast as Rodolfo by one of our co-producers, Houston Grand Opera, in its performance of this production last year (see photo above.) Dimitri returns to the COC this winter, making his role debut as Riccardo in Un ballo in maschera alongside Adrianne Pieczonka's role debut as Amelia. Learn more about Dimitri on his website, or follow him on Twitter and Facebook. You can also meet Dimitri in our Artist Basics post.
Dimitri will be performing on October 3, 6, 9 and 12, opposite Italian soprano Grazia Doronzio as Mimì.
Italian-American tenor Eric Margiore makes his COC debut as the romantic Rodolfo this fall after recently performing the same role at the St. Margarethen Opera Festival and Central City Opera. Professionally trained at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Glimmerglass Opera and Chautauqua Opera young artist programs, Eric is also an accomplished recitalist, having recently performed in Verdi's Requiem twice this year, once alongside celebrated soprano Angela Meade at the Grand Teton Music Festival, and another with the Stockton Symphony Orchestra. Learn more about Eric on his website.
Eric performs on October 18, 22, 25 and 29, opposite Italian soprano Grazia Doronzio as Mimì.
Making his COC debut is American Michael Fabiano, an internationally recognized tenor and graduate of the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. Michael won the Grand Prize in the Metropolitan Opera's National Council Auditions in 2007 and quickly went on to debut around the world at La Scala, the English National Opera, Teatro San Carlo, San Francisco Opera and more. This busy tenor joins us as Rodolfo this October, a week after he finishes his run as Edgardo in L'Opéra national de Paris's production of Lucia di Lammermoor. Learn more about Michael on his website, and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.
Michael performs on October 16, 19, 27 and 30, opposite Canadian soprano Joyce El-Khoury as Mimì.
La Bohème runs from October 3 to October 30 at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. Visit our La Bohème performance page for more information and to purchase tickets.
Photos: (top) (l – r) Vuyani Mlinde as Colline, Michael Sumuel as Schaunard, Dimitri Pittas as Rodolfo and Joshua Hopkins as Marcello in the Houston Grand Opera's 2012 production of La Bohème. Photo by Felix Sanchez; (middle) Dimitri Pittas. Photo by Kristin Hoebermann; (middle) Eric Margiore; (middle) Michael Fabiano.
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Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001