Parlando: The COC Blog


30 years of Cooper Shoots


It’s hard to imagine that photographer Michael Cooper has been capturing COC productions on his camera for the past 30 years. Maybe it’s all the running around from one side of the auditorium to the other, and climbing over seats that keeps him so youthful and fit. Either that, or he started working with us when he was in elementary school. In any case, this bodes well for another 30 years!

You can read more of Michael’s history with the COC in our magazine Prelude, or by listening to an interview of Michael in conversation in the video below. You can also visit his website here:


Here are some of Michael’s favourite shots.

Mezzo-soprano Krisztina Szabó as Musetta sings her seductive aria “Quando m’en vo” in the COC’s La Bohème (2005).

On a cold day in early 2005, Michael photographed the COC’s late general director Richard Bradshaw at the Four Seasons Centre, partway through construction of our longed-for opera house. Michael was also there to photograph all the opening celebrations a year later.

During performances of the COC’s War and Peace (2008), Michael captured this image of the COC Chorus from a catwalk above the stage of the Four Seasons Centre.

As soprano Ambur Braid got made up for her performance as Queen of the Night in the Ensemble Studio performance of The Magic Flute in 2011, Michael captured this amazing close up of her fabulous eyelashes.

And here are some of our favourites!

This stunning shot is from the COC’s Die Walküre (2004), part of Wagner’s epic Ring Cycle

A COC favourite, baritone Russell Braun is shown here in a poignant moment as Billy contemplates his death in the COC’s Billy Budd (2001).

A beautiful, painterly moment from the first scene of The Flying Dutchman, 2010.

It’s not just the epic moments that Michael captures on film, but also more intimate ones. Here tenor Vadim Zaplechny as Herman in the COC’s The Queen of Spades (2002) is caught in a moment of haunting stillness as the chorus whirls around him.

There are lighter moments too! This scene is from the COC’s Il viaggio a Reims, 2002.

Lawrence Zazzo (foreground) as Orfeo in the COC’s Orfeo ed Euridice (2011).

Light, shadow and a blood-stained dress produce a memorable image with Sara Fulgoni as Judith in the COC’s Bluebeard’s Castle in 2001.

Perhaps she’s bewitched by the moon… Helen Field as Salome (foreground) and Robert Tear as Herod (background) in the COC’s Salome, 2002.

In 2006, the first staged production in the new Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts was Wagner’s complete Ring Cycle. Here’s a shot from Götterdämmerung.

The company and crew of the COC's Xstrata Ensemble Studio School Tour production of Cinderella went on a tour inside Xstrata Nickel’s Raglan mine in November, 2010. The trip to perform up north was a great adventure and Michael was along to capture all of it.

There are so many more amazing images from the past 30 years. This is just a drop in the bucket. Thank you, Michael, for the stunning pictorial record you’ve created for us.

Photo credits:  Top: Michael Cooper, photo: Jason Cipparrone. All other photographs by Michael Cooper

Posted by Gianna Wichelow / in Opera Appreciation / comments (1) / permalink

Joyce Weinstein Binstock (1/28/2013 5:00:00 AM)
Michael is definitely special, as a person, family man,nephew, uncle, all his Binstock relatives,with his love & devotion for his dad & Sybil,sister & brother. He is a very considerate, giving, thoughtful, respectful & caring person. So very family contious. There is no total of Michael, it's always ongoing. So many more accolades can be expressed for Michael, but it would take a very long time to mention most of them. Of the many talents that Michael can boast of is his Photography, photo graphics, etc. etc. We wish him many more years to come to celebrate his love for Photography, to be successful in all his endeavors, together with his Annie, the girls & everyone who love him. May he be blessed with an abundance of happiness, love & enjoy good health. Love A Joyce U Butch

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



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