Parlando: The COC Blog


Artist Basics: Joshua Hopkins

Canadian baritone Joshua Hopkins has captured the attention of critics worldwide for both his voice and dramatic ability. He has performed across North America and Europe to captivated audiences, and will soon be singing on the Four Seasons Centre stage in our upcoming production of The Barber of Seville!

What he’s doing with us: Josh will be performing the iconic role of Figaro in Els Comediants' hilarious production of Rossini's The Barber of Seville with us this spring. He has previously sung as the world's most famous barber with both Vancouver Opera and Lyric Opera of Kansas City, to much critical acclaim! 

Where you might have seen him: So far this season Josh has made his Lyric Opera of Chicago debut as Tadeusz in The Passenger, sung as Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro with Glyndebourne Festival, Dallas Opera and with the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon. In concert, he has performed with Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra as Dr. Pangloss in Bernstein’s Candide and has appeared in recital with the Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago.

Past seasons include performances as Marcello in a new production of La Bohème at the COC and as Schaunard in a revival of the popular Franco Zeffirelli production of the same opera at Metropolitan Opera. In the 2013/2014 season Josh made international debuts at Oper Frankfurt as Guglielmo in Così fan tutte and at Washington National Opera as Papageno in The Magic Flute. Other roles that season included a return to Glyndebourne as Argante in Handel’s Rinaldo.

Joshua Hopkins as Figaro in Lyric Opera of Kansas City's production of Il barbiere di Siviglia, 2012


Future seasons will see the baritone’s return to Lyric Opera of Chicago, Washington National Opera, Santa Fe Opera, and Houston Grand Opera.

What the critics have said:

"…one element of the endeavour transcends even this overall consistent standard – the quality and lithe exuberance of baritone Joshua Hopkins’ Figaro. Vancouver audiences have enjoyed Hopkins as a lieder singer who combines an innately appealing instrument with musical sensitivity and precision. Here he delivers a stunning interpretation of Figaro, rooted in his physical sense of the character. He has the tone, the timing, and the confidence to make it appear effortless fun; from quicksilver recitatives to solo work and ensembles, Hopkins is the focus of the production. And he couldn’t be better.”
-The Vancouver Sun (reviewing the Vancouver Opera production of Il barbiere di Siviglia)

"As for the muckraking Figaro, Hopkins played him as a delightfully flamboyant and unapologetically pompous charmer, with a physical presence approximating something between Will Ferrell and Liberace.  His entrance had him madly cutting off mullets, dying hair, and powdering noses with hilarious speed—all the while nailing the vocal theatrics of the “Largo al factotum” aria."
-The Georgia Straight (reviewing the Vancouver Opera production of Il barbiere di Siviglia)

"Joshua Hopkins was perfect – conversational and believable – as the lovestruck painter Marcello…"
-The Globe and Mail (reviewing the Canadian Opera Company production of La Bohème)

"To my ears, particularly impressive was the warm and gorgeous baritone of Joshua Hopkins, who is now deservedly at the Met."
-La Scena Musicale (reviewing the Canadian Opera Company production of La Bohème)

"The versatile Canadian baritone Joshua Hopkins is a standout Schaunard, singing with robust sound and flair."
-The New York Times (reviewing the The Metropolitan Opera production of La Bohème)

See Joshua Hopkins as Figaro in our upcoming production of The Barber of Seville. For more information and to buy tickets, visit here

You can also follow Josh on Twitter at @barihopkins

Photo credit: Dario Acosta

Posted by Kiersten Hay / in Barber of Seville / comments (0) / permalink


Free Concert Series Highlights for April

Infusion Dance

Believe it or not, it's finally springtime! Escape the April showers in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre where you'll experience fresh, new talent alongside long-time Free Concert Series favourites.

Thursday, April 2, 2015
12 — 1 p.m.
Chamber Connections: Brahms
Artists of The Glenn Gould School

Three exciting, international rising stars from The Glenn Gould School (pianist Jean-Sélim-Abdelmoula, violinist Cordelia Paw and horn player Mikhailo Babiak) unite to perform one of the undisputed highlights of the entire chamber music repertoire: Brahms’ Horn Trio in E-flat major, Op. 40. The program also features Bach's Partita for Violin Solo No. 2 in D Minor.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015
12 — 1 p.m.
elegant equations
Peggy Baker Dance Projects

Celebrated choreographer Peggy Baker presents an intimate preview of locus plot, a full evening work set to premiere in her company’s upcoming season. locus plot takes the pristine mathematical underpinnings of locus (schematic renderings of mathematic formulae) and disrupts this abstraction with explosions, collapses and slides into dramatic dance-theatre scenes that refocus the dynamics of mathematics as charged interactions on a human level. The piece also showcases thrilling music by Canadian pianist and composer John Kameel Farah.

Thursday, April 21, 2015
12 — 1 p.m.
Raagini Dance
Bageshree Vaze, artistic director

Raagini Dance creator Bageshree Vaze reveals 21st-century Kathak and Indian classical dance aesthetics in a contemporary, global reality. Bageshree's dynamic solo performances and excerpts from the world premiere Kathak trio, Paratopia, highlight signature qualities of Kathak dance: complex footwork, sparkling pirouettes, intricate facial and hand gestural language and dynamic movements. The program includes live tabla music by Vineet Vyas.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015
12 — 1 p.m.
The Futile Precaution: Highlights from The Barber of Seville
Artists of the COC Ensemble Studio

The young artists of the COC Ensemble Studio present highlights from one of the most beloved and sparkling works in the operatic repertoire: Rossini’s comic masterpiece, The Barber of Seville. Don't miss this sneak preview before the Ensemble Studio's special mainstage performance of the opera on May 15!

Thursday, April 30, 2015
12 — 1 p.m.
In Praise of Women: Music for Harpsichord
Stephen Hargreaves

American pianist Stephen Hargreaves presents a richly varied program of harpsichord music composed or inspired by women. Alongside harpsichord compositions by Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre and Patricia Morehead, the concert features piano music by women transcribed for harpsichord, including Stephen's own transcription of Fleurs de France by the only female member of Les Six, Germain Tailleferre. Music celebrating women in mythology rounds out the program.


Banner Credit: Infusion Dance, 2014. Photo: Kevin Lloyd Photography

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


In Memory: Joan Watson


We were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our Principal Horn player, Joan Watson, on Thursday, March 12. Joan was a mainstay of the COC Orchestra for over 20 years, bringing her immense talent and indomitable spirit not only to the orchestra, but to the company as a whole. Her fortitude and strength was visible to the very end, even playing the first rehearsal for the company’s performances at the Brooklyn Academy of Music earlier this month. Unfortunately, she was unable to participate in the tour. All of us at the COC offer our condolences to her husband, COC tuba player Scott Irvine, her family, and her many friends and colleagues. She will be greatly missed.

"Joan’s sudden passing is a great shock and loss for all of us. It is hard to imagine, that she won't be sitting in the Principal Horn chair any more - a chair she gave special distinction and authority to. She was a great force full of energy. Her passion for everything she was doing was exemplary. Interested in passing on her vast experience to the next generations, made her a highly estimated mentor and motivator for so many young musicians. It was her idea to bring our own COC Orchestra Academy into being. Until the very end of her life she was working on that project committedly. We hope that this project will further grow and blossom, giving us all an opportunity to keep her memory alive." — Johannes Debus, COC Music Director

Joan Watson (left) performs with artists of the COC Orchestra at the company’s 2015/2016 Season Announcement on January 14, 2015. 


Joan Watson and husband Scott Irvine perform in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, 2014. 


Joan Watson and COC Music Director Johannes Debus perform in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, 2014. 


Joan Watson performs in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, 2012.

Banner: Karen E. Reeves. Photos: Chris Hutcheson; Karen E. Reeves. 

Posted by Canadian Opera Company / in In Memory / comments (2) / permalink

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