Parlando: The COC Blog


Inside the Wardrobe: Semele


Take a close-up look behind the scenes and into the wardrobe with the costumes from our production of Semeledesigned by internationally renowned fashion and costume designer Han Feng. Catch Semele in New York City when the COC presents it at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) from March 4-10, 2015! 

Han Feng's designs combine elements of Baroque European tailoring with the patterned silks, colours and flowing fabrics of traditional Chinese theatre. Click on the arrows on the sides of the photos (they appear when you hover the cursor over them) to see various photos of the costumes, styled by COC Costume Supervisor Sandra Corazza.



This jacket, worn by Jupiter for mere minutes in the production, is one of the most grand pieces among the costumes; one befitting the ruler of the gods! The rich gold in both the jacket and wings imply the grandeur and rank of the god. Despite this, he quickly removes it when he enters onstage in Act II to meet his lover Semele, taking on a human form in plain breeches and an open white shirt in order to appear in front of her. Another reason for the hasty removal may be the fact that the jacket and wings are quite heavy, making it very difficult to wear! 



Ambur Braid as Semele and Christopher Enns as Jupiter in the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio performance of Semele, 2012. Photo: Michael Cooper.

Jane Archibald as Semele (foreground) and William Burden as Jupiter (background) in the Canadian Opera Company production of Semele, 2012. Photo: Michael Cooper.



One of the brightest garments in the opera is Semele's wedding robe, which she wears with a pink dress in Act I during the preparations for her wedding to Athamas. The large, bright red pattern shows the role of colour in Chinese wedding ceremonies, where red is considered a lucky colour signifying love, prosperity and happiness.



Mireille Asselin as Semele and Philippe Sly as Cadmus (background) in the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio performance of Semele, 2012.  Photo: Michael Cooper.



Semele, the woman whom Jupiter falls in love with, has several costumes throughout the opera. This silk dress is paired with a large pink robe in a heavier silk fabric, but is quickly removed during Act II when Jupiter arrives to romance her. The backless look of the dress also imitates the pink silk dress Semele wears in Act III, while the cut of this one, with its wrap effect and flutter sleeves, implies that it is being worn in a more casual, relaxed setting, like a nightgown or undergarment.



Jane Archibald as Semele and William Burden as Jupiter in the Canadian Opera Company production of Semele, 2012. Photo: Michael Cooper.



Juno, Jupiter's wife, appears in several outfits throughout the opera. Her main costume however is comprised of a black silk corset, full skirt, and purple velvet bolero jacket, all suggesting her royal stature and rank as a goddess and Jupiter's wife. The coiled and piled nature of her pearl necklace also mimics the wig paired with the costume, which features a beehive hairstyle formed from braids.



Rihab Chaieb as Juno in the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio performance of Semele, 2012. Photo: Michael Cooper.

The COC presents Semele at the Brooklyn Academy of Music from March 4-10, 2015. For more information or to buy tickets, visit the BAM website here.

Costume photo credits: Costumes from the Canadian Opera Company production of Semele, 2015. Director and set designer Zhang Huan, costume designer Han Feng. Costume styling: Sandra Corazza. Photos: Kiersten Hay.

All production photographs: Michael Cooper.

Posted by Kiersten Hay / in Semele / comments (0) / permalink


Free Concert Series Highlights for March

Vesuvius Ensemble

There is so much variety in the Free Concert Series this month. Test your opera chops in a special March Break interactive concert, or experience an Indonesian-inspired gamelan like you've never heard before. There's something for every age to enjoy!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015
12 — 1 p.m.
Gamelan Plus
Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan

The Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan is the only ensemble of its kind in Canada and has delighted and challenged audiences worldwide for over 30 years. Performing traditional and cutting-edge new music on an assortment of bronze and wooden instruments, collectively known as a gamelan, the eight-member group breathes new life into the centuries-old tradition of the Indonesian archipelago. For this performance, they are joined by guest soprano (and COC Ensemble Studio grad) Claire de Sévigné for a program featuring works by John Siddall, Nic Gotham and Allen Cole.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015
5:30 — 6:30 p.m.
Chansons Refusées
Alex Samaras and Bobby Hsu present A Sondheim Project

Alex Samaras is quickly becoming one of the leading vocalists on the Canadian jazz and new music scene. Along with Bobby Hsu and a trio of kindred musical spirits, he explores the forgotten songs of Broadway with an emphasis on the music of Stephen Sondheim and other legendary theatre songwriters, bridging the worlds of musical theatre and modern jazz in a unique and compelling new way.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015
12 — 1 p.m.
Humber Latin Jazz Ensemble

Spice up your March Break with Humber College’s Latin Jazz Ensemble’s unique blend of Afro-Cuban and jazz sounds guaranteed to get your salsa on. Percussive, melodic, zesty and always inspired, Humber College’s Latin Jazz Ensemble, led by Grammy and Juno Award-winner Hilario Durán, is a performance not to be missed.

Thursday, March 19, 2015
12 — 1 p.m.
Opera Interactive
Humber Latin Jazz Ensemble

You can bring the whole family to our always-popular, interactive March Break concert! Join opera comedienne Kyra Millan, collaborative pianist Tina Faye and COC Ensemble Studio baritone Iain MacNeil in a lively interactive concert featuring favourite operatic arias and sing-along choruses. Audience members of all ages can listen to, learn about and try their hand at the fascinating art of opera!

Artists of the COC Orchestra

Tuesday, March 31, 2015
12 — 1 p.m.
Where the Light Gets In
Jaffa Road

Award-winning Toronto-based world music group Jaffa Road creates a unique sonic landscape that draws organically from the worlds of Jewish, Arabic and Indian music, modern jazz, electronica, rock, pop and dub. With on-stage chemistry as electrifying as it is intense, the group presents highlights from their Juno-nominated album, Where the Light Gets In, as well as a sneak peek of new material from an upcoming release.

Let us know what you're most looking forward to in the comments or on our Facebook page!


Photo Credits (top to bottom): Vesuvius Ensemble, 2011. Photo: Karen E. Reeves; Kyra Millan leads audience members in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre. Photo: Karen E. Reeves

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


Happy Valentine's Day from the COC!

No matter if you love or hate Valentine's Day, we’ve got you covered with productions that celebrate love old and new, weak and strong, punishable by guilt or punishable by the Criminal Code of Canada… ahem. 

To help you celebrate the love in your life, we’ve created a series of Valentines to share with the ones that you love. Print them out on any sheet of 8.5" x 11" paper double-sided [select “flip lengthwise” (the long edge of a sheet of paper) if available in your printing options when printing double-sided to allow for both sides of the Valentines to line up correctly], cut them out, and share them with the opera lovers in your life today! If you would prefer to send them digitally, check out our Facebook page or Twitter feed for shareable versions.  

Download the PDF print-at-home versions by clicking here



Find out more about our current productions of Don Giovanni and Die Walküre here

Photo Credits: Michael Cooper

Posted by Kiersten Hay / in Valentines / 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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