Parlando: The COC Blog


The School Tour goes to Nunavik, Day 2

[This is a guest post by Katherine Semcesen, the COC’s senior manager of education and outreach. Katherine is accompanying the Cinderella cast and crew to the Xstrata Raglan nickel mine in northern Quebec this week as part of the Ensemble Studio School Tour. This post was written the evening of Nov. 16]

Weather permitting, we can ______________ (fill in the blank).

This is an expression we've used a lot today. We experienced first hand the challenges faced by the workers at the Xstrata mine and those living in the north, after our plans to travel were diverted by a force greater than anything on earth: Mother Nature herself.

The day started off by the cast meeting in the cafeteria for a nice hearty breakfast and multiple cups of coffee awaiting our departure to Donaldson Airport. The Ensemble Studio singers were well rested after their long journey to the Mine Complex the day before and were eager to fly out to Salluit and perform for the students at Pigiurvik and Ikusik schools. Knowing that the weather was the key element that could really jeopardize our plans, we kept one eye on our coffees and another eye on the increasing snow drifts. But the weather did look promising at the start of our day.

Yannick, my fantastic counterpart at Xstrata who's been co-ordinating the logistics of our travel and accommodation, found me sitting enjoying my cup of coffee and gave me the "everything-will-be-fine-but-can-we-chat?" smile. I was informed that the visibility at Donaldson Airport was poor and that snow drifts and ice accumulation would delay us for at least an hour. The snow here is like powder and if we were at Pearson Airport in Toronto, there would be several ploughs trying to clear the runways as quickly as possible. But here in the great white north, if a runway was cleared, one would find it completely covered with snow again two seconds later as snow drifts across the land quite consistently. And so began the rescheduling of our itinerary: "Weather permitting, we'll depart for Salluit at 10 a.m." Lo and behold, the skies over the Raglan Mine Complex cleared as if Mother Nature was giving us the sign that we were to begin our journey to Salluit.


Posted by Katherine Semcesen / in Xstrata Ensemble Studio School Tour / comments (3) / permalink


The School Tour goes to Nunavik, Day 1

[This is a guest post by our Director of Public Relations, Claudine Domingue. Claudine is accompanying the Cinderella cast and crew to the Xstrata Raglan nickel mine in northern Quebec this week as part of the Ensemble Studio School Tour]

We started well before dawn on Monday, Nov. 15, 2010, at the COC’s Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Opera Centre.  Seen here are Andrea Grant (Cinderella music director), Michael Lewandowski (Cinderella stage manager), Heather Jewson (Cinderella’s stepsister Tisbe); Ambur Braid (Cinderella’s stepsister Clorinda), Michael Uloth (the Beggar/the Page), Michael Barrett (the Prince). Rihab Chaieb (Cinderella), Katherine Semcesen (COC’s Senior Manager of Education and Outreach) and me. The only person missing from this shot is our photographer, Michael Cooper, who is behind the camera. And, yes, you've read correctly: There are four men on this trip, and every one of them is named Michael!


Unfortunately, some of our set luggage couldn't fit on the two tiny King Air 100 planes (each seats up to six passengers only). We were very fortunate that Xstrata's CEO Ian Pearce was with us, and he quickly commandeered another plane so that electric piano, piano stand, backdrop screen and two larger boxes got to take an unaccompanied trip straight to Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec.



Posted by Claudine Domingue / in Xstrata Ensemble Studio School Tour / comments (1) / permalink


And They're Off

The artists of our touring production of the child-friendly opera Cinderella departed Toronto in the very early hours this morning for the Xstrata Raglan nickel mine in Northern Québec. The mine is accessible only by air (their journey involves four airplanes), the ground is permafrost, and judging from the photos sent from Raglan, there are some spectacular views of the aurora borealis. The preparations for the trip involved arranging for heavy-duty winter gear for the cast and figuring out how to fit the entire Cinderella production (including set, costumes, and piano) on a Dash-8 airplane.

They will be giving two performances in the Inuit communities of Salluit and Kangiqsujuaq on Nov. 16 and 17, as well as a program of operatic arias for employees of Raglan mine on Wednesday evening. 

Over the next few days our operatic travelers will be sending back photos and video from the trip. Watch Parlando to see what they're getting up to!

Here's a video excerpt from Cinderella, adapted from the operas by Massenet and Rossini:

Photo: Cinderella cast. © Canadian Opera Company

Posted by Cecily Carver / in Xstrata Ensemble Studio School Tour / 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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