• 5 Things to Know about LA REINE-GARÇON

    By COC Staff

    Our first-ever co-commission with Opéra de Montréal, La Reine-garçon tells the incredible story of Queen Christine of Sweden, who was raised as a boy by her father and came of age during a period of intense social, religious, and political change. 

    This exciting new chapter in Canadian operatic storytelling opens at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts next winter. Read on for 5 Things To Know about La Reine-garçon before joining us there!


    She's for real

    Queen Christine of Sweden was born in 1626 and raised as a boy by her father, Gustav II, with an eye to inheriting his throne. Fascinated by art and philosophy, bisexual, disdainful of marriage, and the Catholic leader of a Lutheran country, the adult Christine challenged almost every contemporary assumption of what a woman and monarch should be. After abdicating in 1654 at the age of 27, she toured Europe and later attempted an unsuccessful return to Sweden. She died in Rome in 1689.

    A larger-than-life character—and a score to match

    One of the most prominent composers of his generation, Julien Bilodeau first read the libretto for La Reine-garçon during an early collaboration with acclaimed librettist Michel Marc Bouchard. “I knew the orchestra had to be big, because it had to express Nordicity, nature, the Northern Lights, ice, an extremely violent storm, but also reflect the character,” he told Le Devoir. “It had to be a disproportionate orchestra because what Christine did, in her time, was disproportionate.”

    Winter is coming

    With locations spanning a snowy forest, the monarch’s personal chambers, an anatomical theatre, and a frozen lake, this production plunges audiences into the rich and brooding atmosphere of the 17th-century Swedish court. Costumes feature heavy, dark fabrics and furs, projections and lighting evoke a stunning aurora borealis, and a cleverly employed on-stage scrim make voyeurs of the audience from the opening scene.

    Production notes

    What else should audiences look out for? A female chorus represents rival kingdoms vying to woo Sweden as well as the obedient masses of a society in thrall to Puritanism. A gathering of physicians led by René Descartes evokes Rembrandt’s masterpiece “The Anatomy Lesson.” And a mysterious figure who skulks about the Queen Mother’s skirts haunts the castle by turns like a pet, a spy, or a talisman…

    More of this, please

    The world premiere of La Reine-garçon appeared at Opéra de Montréal in the winter of 2024 to enthusiastic reviews. “Finally, a new opera that doesn’t get in its own way!” raved Opera Canada. “The premiere of La Reine-garçon was the affirmation of contemporary opera’s ability to tell a compelling story…More of this, please!”

    Subscribe today to book the best seats at the best prices for this thrilling new work, appearing from January 31 - February 15, 2025 at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.
    Posted in 24/25 Season


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