Parlando: The COC Blog


COC Filling Over 100 “Super” roles for spring productions

(From the House of the Dead by Leos Janáček – The COC’s production was presented in 2008. There were 63 supernumeraries in this production, of which 56 were men. The male supers had to be bald or willing to shave their heads.)

Have you ever wanted to be a part of the Canadian Opera Company and have the chance to hear a powerful singer from only a few feet away? You just might get that chance! On Saturday, February 16, the COC is looking for over 100 people to join us as supernumeraries in the spring for Lucia di Lammermoor, Salome and Dialogues des Carmélites.

What's a supernumerary?

Supernumeraries, a.k.a. supers, are the extras of the opera world and play a variety of non-singing roles. They are vital to enhancing the operatic experience presented on stage. Members of Canadian Actor’s Equity, ACTRA or any other professional performing arts union are not eligible to be supers. 

What do you have to do?

No singing or acting experience is required to be a super, but those selected must have flexible schedules in order to meet the rehearsal and performance demands of the production they are asked to join. In order to fill the super roles, the COC is looking for 72 men and 45 women between the ages of 18 and 65, and ranging in height from five-foot-three to six-feet tall.  

(Oedipus Rex with Symphony of Psalms by Igor Stravinsky – The COC’s production was first mounted in Toronto in 1997 and was then revived in 2002, both in Toronto and at the prestigious Edinburgh International Festival. This production called for 78 supernumeraries.)

What are the requirements for each opera?

Over 150 performers, including 41 female and 60 male supers, make up one of the largest casts in the COC’s history when internationally acclaimed Canadian Robert Carsen directs Francis Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites. The 101 supers play a vital role in telling the story of an order of Carmelite nuns caught up in the terror of the French Revolution. The production runs from May 8 – 25, 2013 for eight performances at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.

For Lucia di Lammermoor, we require seven male supers. Staged by renowned director David Alden, this bel canto masterpiece transports audiences to 19th-century Scotland where Lucia is treated as chattel in a brutal, power-driven society. The supers help create crowd scenes as townspeople and serve as guests at Lucia’s arranged wedding, which leads to the opera’s devastating conclusion. The production runs for nine performances at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts from April 17 – May 24, 2013.

Five male and four female supers contribute to celebrated director Atom Egoyan’s searing vision of Salome. As guards, attendants, bathers and the executioner, they help bring Richard Strauss’s opera to life. This operatic tale recounts how King Herod’s step-daughter, Salome, demanded the head of John the Baptist in exchange for performing the seductive Dance of the Seven Veils. Running from April 21 – May 22, 2013, this production has eight performances at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. 

How to Apply

Attend our open call, taking place on Saturday, February 16 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Opera Centre (227 Front St. E., Toronto), to see if you can make your stage dreams a reality by becoming a super. For any questions, e-mail

Photos: David Pomeroy as Skuratov (centre) and Andrew Stewart as Čerevin (bottom) in the COC’s production of From the House of the Dead, 2008. (top); Michael Schade as Oedipus in the Canadian Opera Company's production of Oedipus Rex with Symphony of Psalms, 2002 (bottom). Photos by Michael Cooper.

Posted by Danielle D'Ornellas / in Behind the Scenes / comments (21) / permalink

Kim Atkins (2/4/2013 6:08:00 PM)
I am a long time subscriber and huge opera fan. Would you make any exception re: the ages 18-65. I have to be away Feb 16 as well. Hopefully Kim Atkins
Danielle (2/4/2013 7:46:00 PM)
Hi Kim, I would recommend emailing for specific details, they can go into their requirements further. But please be sure to attend the call on Saturday, February 16.
Beate (2/8/2013 12:00:00 AM)
Can people over 6 feet (6'3") apply?
Judi Chambers (2/8/2013 3:59:00 PM)
Hello, my height is 5'1" and I also wear glasses. Should I consider coming to open call? Many thanks.
Danielle (2/8/2013 4:01:00 PM)
Hi Judy, I still recommend emailing for specific details for measurements and casting requirements.
Danielle (2/8/2013 4:18:00 PM)
Hi Beate, I would recommend emailing for specific details with regard to any deviation from the height and measurement requirements.
Jay (2/10/2013 5:37:00 PM)
Alas...the fates have worked against chance at stardom is not to be..i just turned 67...too old...too old...the horror of it all
Kira Braun (2/13/2013 5:56:00 PM)
I will be there! :)
mona nahmias (2/13/2013 9:39:00 PM)
I am retired, my schedule is very flexible. I have been around little theatres all my life. I would welcome this opportunity to be on stage in an opera that I love.
Pat Davison (2/13/2013 9:50:00 PM)
Would glasses be a problem?
Marlene Hutzul (2/14/2013 3:50:00 PM)
What date will the open call take place? There is only a time indicated above.
Danielle (2/14/2013 4:09:00 PM)
Hi Pat, glasses may be an issue. I'd recommend emailing for any details concerning eyewear. Marlene - The call is Saturday, February 16.
Kat (2/16/2013 4:00:00 AM)
Hi, what is the compensation?
Trish Sinclair (2/16/2013 5:00:00 AM)
Hi there! I was regretfully unable to attend today's Supernumary casting call by 2pm. I continue to be extremely interested in applying on the off-chance that you continue to need additional ladies who meet all requirements after the February 16 call. I do meet your basic age and height requirements. I would greatly appreciate any further consideration of my application. Many thanks, Trish Sinclair 
Laurel Gibson (2/16/2013 5:25:00 PM)
I have been an extra in stage plays but just heard about the current opera casting call on the CBC news today, Feb. 16th. Could I have future casting call dates emailed to me? I am a young retiree with flexible time and a love of opera. Thank you for assistance. Sincerely, Laurel Gibson
Catherine Oliver (2/16/2013 5:42:00 PM)
Just heard about the open call late for me. Will there be a second one?
John Barbowski (2/16/2013 6:32:00 PM)
Did you get your quota of supers? I was unable to attend your casting call on Sat. Also, I am slightly beyond you needs; although I am 67, people say I look more like 50, I am in good physical shape, (play squash 3 times per week), I am 6'2" and weigh 195 lbs. I am also a COC Opera subscriber. No response needed unless there is an opening. john b
Danielle (2/19/2013 5:19:00 PM)
Hi Kat, supers are an unpaid position but there is a small daily stipend. Any questions about compensation should be sent to For anybody inquiring about additional supernumerary positions, please email with your measurements and you may be contacted if there is a spot available. Thank you for your interest.
Joffre F. Silva (4/12/2013 8:54:00 PM)
Hello. I'd love to be part of it. Do you still have available spots?
Gina Kharazmi (4/12/2013 10:39:00 PM)
Would love to be a part of this Thank you Gina Kharazmi
Danielle (4/15/2013 4:00:00 AM)

Please email with your height and measurements!

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



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