• Important Fall 2020 Programming Update

    By Alexander Neef


    When we announced the cancellation of our spring season back in March, Fall 2020 seemed a distant point on the horizon.

    For the past four months, we have been actively exploring every option regarding what our return to the stage might look like in these strange times. There is much to consider: opera gathers talent from all around the world to work together in close quarters, requires an extensive rehearsal schedule, and — to remain economically viable — an auditorium full of audience members, without whom no live performance is complete.

    Given these factors and the ongoing impact of COVID-19, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the fall portion of our 2020/2021 season.

    For the health and safety of our staff, artists, and audience members, our theatres will remain dark and the following in-person performances and events are impacted this fall:

    • Wagner’s Parsifal has been rescheduled for 2022/2023 and Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro will not take place this fall;
    • the world premiere of our recently commissioned Opera for Young Audiences, Fantasma, will be rescheduled to a later date in the 2020/2021 season;
    • the annual Ensemble Studio Competition and Centre Stage Gala will not take place this fall;
    • the Free Concert Series in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre will not have live performances scheduled while physical distancing is in effect, but we are working to ensure that the music continues in a digital format;
    • our in-person Education & Outreach activities will also be paused until further notice.

    We are proceeding as planned with the remainder of our 2020/2021 season. Bizet’s Carmen, Janáček’s Katya Kabanova, Verdi’s La Traviata, and Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice are not impacted by this announcement.

    Flexible Ticketing Options

    We have developed flexible options for subscribers with impacted tickets, which include returning tickets as a tax receiptable donation, converting their value to a gift certificate credit that will never expire, or receiving a refund if our other options are not suitable for our subscribers’ present situation. We know this time has had a difficult financial impact not just on us, but on so many individuals and organizations.

    If your subscription has been impacted by our fall programming announcement, learn more about your options by clicking here.

    will be performed in fall 2022

    I recognize that this news may be especially disappointing as we were poised to reach a major milestone this fall with the COC’s first-ever production of Wagner’s Parsifal. That being said, the commitment of our COC community, and particularly our incredibly generous Monumental Campaign supporters, has ensured that we will still mark this milestone in the near future: we have been able to reschedule Parsifal for the fall of 2022. This special fundraising campaign’s benefits will be available to supporters in the 2022/2023 season, when we are able to properly celebrate this historic achievement together.

    Thank you for ensuring the music continues

    While this is a difficult time, I want to emphasize how moved I have been by our generous supporters and their kind words. Another silver lining has been recognizing that opera can continue to connect us all through new, innovative ways: our Virtual Choir received submissions from across the globe, the young artists of the Ensemble Studio created a new Songs of Hope concert specifically for this time that will premiere on July 9, and we have transformed our educational materials for this digital era through our Opera Makers video series for young people.

    We need your voices to shape our new fall

    We are looking forward to continuing to innovate, and I am confident that we will still offer our audiences many opportunities to engage with the art form this fall. To that end, we want to hear directly from our public in helping us shape our upcoming digital activities — in the coming days, our community will receive a survey regarding what you have been enjoying online during this time and what you would like to see next. I will also be hosting a virtual roundtable to discuss any questions about this news with you on July 6 at 7 p.m. More information on both the survey and roundtable will be sent to your inbox soon.

    Our company has a long history of innovation and resilience. We have overcome adversity before and emerged all the stronger for it. With your support and engagement, I know we can continue that legacy. Let us answer this challenge with the same creativity, collaboration, and bravery that defines opera at its best.

    See you soon.


    Alexander Neef
    General Director
    Posted in News


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