Parlando: The COC Blog

9/13/2012

Introduction to Il Trovatore


Il Trovatore

What's it all about?

A story about love, betrayal and a gypsy's long-reaching revenge. Il Trovatore is quintessential Italian Grand Opera with a juicy plot worthy of the genre, part twisted story about violence and revenge, and part tragic love story.

The opera opens with a love triangle centered on Leonora, a beautiful lady-in-waiting. She is adored by both Manrico, the son of a gypsy, and the Conte di Luna, a nobleman, but she only has eyes for Manrico. The jealous Conte di Luna challenges Manrico to a duel to the death for her hand, but it's only Act I so they both survive.

Soon after the duel, Manrico discovers the secret that his gypsy mother Azucena has kept from him. It turns out that Manrico is not actually her son, but is the brother of Conte di Luna, his rival for Leonora's affections. Azucena kidnapped him as a child to avenge the death of her mother by the hands of the Conte di Luna's father, but accidentally killed her own son in the process and raised Manrico as her own. 

With his newfound claim and despite Azucena's protests, Manrico rushes to find Leonora and whisk her away from his brother, triggering a series of events that leaves Azucena's mother avenged and everybody else heartbroken.

Why is it special?

Enrico Caruso once said this about Il Trovatore: "All you need is the four best singers in the world." Due to the complex story, frenetic pacing and powerful arias, it is a demanding opera that requires dedication and boundless talent. Il Trovatore is full of hits from start to finish, containing some of the most recognizable pieces in all of opera. It is considered one of Verdi's greatest operas alongside Rigoletto and La traviata.

Watch Alexander Neef, Chorus Master Sandra Horst and Russell Braun (Conte di Luna) describe why Il Trovatore is so exciting

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Posted by Danielle D'Ornellas / in 2012/2013 / comments (2) / permalink

8/31/2012

Welcome to Inside Opera

It's the start of a new season at the Canadian Opera Company. The fall season features our star-studded production of Il Trovatore and the debut of our brand new production of Die Fledermaus.

To highlight the tremendous efforts that go into the creation of a new production, we've launched a brand new video series, Inside Opera. The series will look at the work that goes on behind-the-scenes in the costume, set and props department that gives opera its opulent look.

Our first video focuses on set construction for Die Fledermaus, specifically the showpiece for Act II: an impossibly tall, custom-built, moving staircase! The video also features interviews with our production staff who have been busy crafting all the elaborate details required of such a visually demanding opera.

Be on the lookout for our next video, as we prowl through the costume department and get a sneak peek at the fashionable frocks and gowns from Die Fledermaus.

For more videos and podcasts about the productions from this season, visit COC Radio.

Posted by Danielle D'Ornellas / in 2012/2013 / comments (1) / permalink

8/9/2012

Introduction to Die Fledermaus


Die Fledermaus

What's it all about?

With a story that could be ripped from the tabloids, or at least from reality television, Die Fledermaus is best summed up as a comedic operetta about rich people being naughty. 

The story revolves around Gabriel von Eisenstein, a self-made man who, upon verbally abusing a police officer, is sentenced to spend eight days in jail. And if that wasn’t embarrassing enough, the party of the year is set to occur the very night he’s to march himself to prison. So what does Eisenstein do? He lies to his wife, pretends to leave for prison early but attends the party instead. 

But the deception does not end there! Eisenstein’s long-suffering wife, Rosalinde, is being pursued by an ex-lover and finding it hard to refuse him. Meanwhile her maid Adele is dead-set on attending the party despite her mistress’s orders, and Eisenstein’s old friend Dr. Falke seems to have a trick or two up his sleeve and revenge on his mind. The scene is set for an evening of drinking, dancing and debauchery. 

At the end of the day, Die Fledermaus is a hilarious romp of mistaken identity fueled by champagne, ego and hubris, with a happy ending for all!

Why is it special? 

Due to its light nature, witty libretto and dazzling, hummable melodies that stay with you after a performance, Die Fledermaus is one of the most memorable nights you can have at the opera. The music is infectious, the ball is grandiose and the characters are outrageous, yet relatable. Ultimately, Die Fledermausis the perfect example of an operatic farce, complete with romantic diversions and glamorous costumes.  

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Posted by Danielle D'Ornellas / in 2012/2013 / comments (10) / permalink

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