By Christopher Alden
A new Canadian opera, Pyramus and Thisbe by Barbara Monk Feldman, receives its world premiere today (appearing along with Monteverdi's Lamento d’Arianna and Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda). This modern triple bill not only features a striking new opera, but manages to cover almost the entire span of operatic history throughout its three parts. Director Christopher Alden expands on some of the historical and thematic ties between these pieces in his program notes.
During the past 400 or so years since it was first “invented” in Renaissance Italy, the operatic art form has always had an intriguingly schizophrenic nature. On one hand, it has always depended for its survival on the support of the rich and powerful patrons for whom a night at the opera is just as much a social as it is an esthetic experience. But on the other hand, with its magically alchemical mingling of words and music, opera has managed to penetrate into dark, mysterious and even painful realms of human experience, soothing its audience with sweet sounds while it tells its subversive stories.
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A fresh take on Verdi's timeless classic La Traviata opened at the Four Seasons Centre to thunderous applause and praise from both critics and patrons alike. Take a look at the beauty and tragedy that has made our current production so enchanting through the reviews and social media posts gathered in our latest Storify!
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Out of a pool of 120 aspiring opera singers from across the country, we selected eight to compete at Centre Stage: Ensemble Studio Competition on November 3, 2015, our annual celebration of the next generation of opera stars selected from nationwide auditions for the COC Ensemble Studio – Canada’s premier training program for young opera professionals. The competition features the young singers vying for cash prizes ranging in value from $1,500 to $5,000.
The young singers featured in the 2015 vocal competition are: mezzo-soprano Emily D’Angelo (Toronto); mezzo-soprano Lauren Eberwein (London, Ontario); soprano Eliza Johnson (Stratford, Ontario); mezzo-soprano Marjorie Maltais (Clermont, Quebec); soprano Samantha Pickett (Kitchener, Ontario); baritone Zachary Read (Halifax); baritone Bruno Roy (Montreal); and mezzo-soprano Pascale Spinney (Laval, Quebec).
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Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001