Parlando: The COC Blog


Introduction to The Brothers Grimm

The Brothers Grimm

What's it all about?

The brothers in question are Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, two aspiring writers who are currently working below their pay grade as dictionary researchers. One day the brothers are solicited by a colleague Brentano to write a book full of folk tales and campfire stories. So the brothers start on an adventure to liberate stories from their friends and acquaintances! Through their travels they collect three key stories. Dortchen, a young maid besotted by Wilhelm, provides them with the seed for Rapunzel, shop-keeper Frau Viehmann introduces the moral tale of Little Red Cap and the narcoleptic Colonel Krause spins them the tale of Rumpelstiltskin

How can I see this production? 

The Brothers Grimm is currently touring across Ontario with Hansel and Gretel for the Xstrata Ensemble Studio School Tour and can be seen this December during GrimmFest, which runs from December 4 - 8. The Brothers Grimm will be performed on December 7 and 8 at Daniels Spectrum (formerly Regent Park Arts and Cultural Centre). Tickets are $25 for adults, $15 for children and can be purchased online or on the phone.

Why is it special?

The Brothers Grimm is believed to be the most performed Canadian opera of all time and celebrates its 500th performance at GrimmFest on December 7. Join us for a party with snacks, a costume booth and poster signing. The 11 year-old opera has also become an international production with a European premiere last March at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff and an American premiere at the Nashville Opera in 2011. Over the past eleven years the opera has been seen by over 140,000 school children in Canada, the United States and Europe. 


Who are the brothers Grimm?

Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm were scholars who excelled in philology (the study of words and language) and medieval German literature. They combined their passions and became folklorists who collected common folk tales and adapted them to better fit their time. The resulting book entitled Children's and Household Tales was published in 1812 and contained 86 stories. Forty-five years later the book was on its seventh edition and the number of tales had grown to 211! For more information, read about the history of the brothers Grimm

Who is Dean Burry?

Newfoundlander Dean Burry credits an elementary school teacher for inspiring him to progress with composition. Burry took his love of the arts to Mount Allison University and earned his master's in composition at the University of Toronto. After starting at the COC as a Ticket Services representative, Burry developed the COC's After School Opera Program in 1997 - a program he still runs today. Two years later, Burry was commissioned to write The Brother's Grimm. His other major works include Isis and the Seven Scorpions and The Hobbit

Learn more about Dean Burry by reading our full biography and an interview about The Brothers Grimm.


Who stars in it?

The cast of The Brothers Grimm is primarily made up of our Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio members. The members of the Ensemble Studio are the COC’s resident artists and since its inception in 1980, over 150 young professional Canadian singers, opera coaches, stage directors and conductors have acquired their first major professional operatic experience through the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio. 

Our Jacob Grimm is baritone Cameron McPhail and we have two Wilhelm Grimms, tenors Owen McCausland and Christopher Enns. You can catch Owen and Christopher sharing the role of Tito in the upcoming Ensemble performance of La clemenza di Tito.

Sopranos Claire de Sévigné and Mireille Asselin play the love-struck Dortchen Wild. Both Claire and Mireille performed in Die Fledermaus with Mireille in the role of Adele and Claire as Ida, Adele's sister.

Bass-baritone Neil Craighead plays multiple roles in The Brothers Grimm such as Brentano, Colonel Krause, Rumpelstiltskin and soprano Lindsay Barrett, the Audience Choice winner at last year's Ensemble Competition, returns to sing the role of Frau Viehmann.;

For more information about The Brothers Grimm and to purchase tickets, visit our GrimmFest page.

Photos: (top) Lindsay Barrett, Cameron McPhail, Neil Craighead, Owen McCausland, Claire de Sévigné; (middle) Mireille Asselin and Lindsay Barrett; (bottom) Owen McCausland, Neil Craighead and Cameron McPhail in the Canadian Opera Company's Xstrata Ensemble Studio School Tour production of The Brothers Grimm, 2012. Photos: Chris Hutcheson.

Posted by Danielle D'Ornellas / in Xstrata Ensemble Studio School Tour / comments (2) / permalink

Jennifer Stolte (11/22/2012 4:07:00 PM)
Can you tell me what age the Brothers Grimm is appropriate for? I am wondering if it would be suitable for my 6 year old.
Danielle (11/22/2012 4:15:00 PM)
Hi Jennifer, The Brothers Grimm is appropriate for children from kindergarten to Grade 6, thanks for asking!

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



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