Parlando: The COC Blog


Our Evenings with the Raconteurs


[This is a guest post by Olga Kwak, our digital marketing co-ordinator]

Stories have a powerful quality of staying with us. I spent much of last weekend mulling over the stories that I heard at the Raconteurs/COC storytelling events: “Love Lost” last Wednesday night and “The Muse” on Thursday night.

As I mentioned last week, Raconteurs presents a monthly evening of storytelling at No One Writes to the Colonel. There are three rules for telling stories at their events: the story must be true, it must have happened to you, and there cannot be any notes (as in, you have to tell it from memory).

"Love Lost" was predictably a woeful evening of painful loses, but there were lighthearted gems as well, like the fellow who tried to win back his ultra-Christian girlfriend with a burning Chia Pet bush. Or the storyteller whose favourite love lost was a five year-old girl named Jennifer — when he was in kindergarten. In his self-appointed Act I, he proclaimed, “She wore her hair in pigtails. And it was awesome.”

For the evening of tales from "The Muse", we saw members of the Canadian Opera Company join us. Long-time Speakers Bureau member John Rutherford recounted his life in England teaching art, after the war — that’s World War II, he reminded the crowd of mostly 20- and 30-somethings.


As every good story deserves, some were embellished a little more than others. Comedian James Gangl told the same story both evenings, but in a different manner, so as to fit the theme of each night. It brings to mind the question whether Hoffmann would tell his own stories of Olympia, Antonia and Giulietta differently each time. In a way, that’s what each production of The Tales of Hoffmann attempts to do.

At the concept discussion for The Tales of Hoffmann director Lee Blakeley revealed that, as this was the third time this production has been presented, it’s completely different from the first two. Just like any good story, the facts have been embellished just a little more, to create a completely new picture, one that will excite Toronto when it debuts on April 10. Aren’t we lucky?

Photos: Alex Nursall

In the next post, there's a recipe for the specialty cocktail, "Hoffmann's Muse," created just for this event.

Posted by Olga Kwak / in 2011/2012 / comments (0) / permalink

Posted by Cecily Carver / in 2011/2012 / comments (0) / permalink


Tales for Hoffmann

What do reluctant animal lovers, credit card applications in the Caribbean, and plantar warts have in common? They’re all ripe subjects for a good story.

Stories are the backbone of our next COC production, Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann. In the opera, the poet E. T. A. Hoffmann recounts his tales of love and inspiration to his fellow bar patrons in a Gothic-Romantic setting worthy of a Tim Burton film.

Toronto’s storytelling community is thriving, most notably because of Raconteurs, who organize a monthly storytelling night at No One Writes to the Colonel (the bar is named after another famous author’s book. The author? Gabriel García Márquez). On every second Wednesday of the month, patrons are invited to come with their stories, based around a theme for the evening. Some are funny, some are poignant. All of them are entertaining.

We’ve teamed up with Raconteurs to host two special nights of storytelling based on The Tales of Hoffmann. This evening’s theme is “Love Lost.” Tomorrow night you’ll catch stories inspired by “The Muse.” Both evenings are sold out online, but if you wish to come there may be a few tickets left at the door.

Join us at The Colonel (as it’s fondly known to the locals) at 460 College St, just west of Bathurst. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. both tonight and tomorrow night but come earlier to grab one of the few remaining tickets!

If you can’t make it, we’ll post a few of the photos and videos from the night next week.

Posted by Olga Kwak / in 2011/2012 / 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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