DIGITAL CONTENT HUB
Even during this era of social distancing, the power of music can continue to connect us. As we go through this unusual time together, please join us in keeping the spirit of opera alive and well at home.
Thank you to all of our members, subscribers, donors, and audience members — your commitment to the COC has made these initiatives and our plans for future performances possible.
HADRIAN WATCH PARTY
Hadrian Watch Party and Live Q&A - ONE NIGHT ONLY!
August 10 at 6:30 p.m. ET.
Post-Performance Live Q&A to follow
Attendance is free but advance registration recommended.
For the first time since its premiere in 2018, audiences can watch this groundbreaking opera in full online. This one-night-only, free streaming event, in partnership with Montréal Pride Festival, uses high-quality multi-camera footage, giving viewers an all-access pass to the artistry of the blockbuster soloists.
From celebrated singer-songwriter and composer Rufus Wainwright and librettist Daniel MacIvor, a giant in Canadian theatre, Hadrian puts an overdue spotlight on Hadrian, ruler of the Roman Empire, and his beloved Antinous. With its blend of history, political intrigue, and fantastical invention, all woven into a heartbreaking love story, Hadrian gives one of history’s greatest queer romances the full, grand opera treatment.
Following the performance, the creators will take part in a live Q&A.
THE MUSIC CONTINUES
Now, more than ever, we need music to connect and uplift us. Discover how our artists are continuing to create and share during this time of physical distancing.
COC VIRTUAL CHOIR
In May, we invited music lovers of all ages and backgrounds from around the world to join our first-ever Virtual Choir for a performance of one of the most rousing pieces in the history of opera, Verdi’s “Anvil Chorus” from Il Trovatore.
The response has been truly inspiring: we received over 200 submissions from all across the globe, and we are delighted to share their artistry with you.
Back in April, we spoke to the young artists of our COC Ensemble Studio training program, who have been keeping busy with a “new normal” of at-home virtual training thanks to a little bit of modern technology and a lot of creative thinking.
BRAHMS' FELDEINSAMKEIT | Liz Upchurch & Dominic Desautels
Pianist Liz Upchurch (Head of the COC Ensemble Studio) and Dominic Desautels (COC Orchestra Principal Clarinet) perform Brahms' Feldeinsamkeit from home. They were meant to perform an all-Brahms recital last month in our Free Concert Series.
THE FETHI NADJEM TRIO | in partnership with the Aga Kahn Museum
In partnership with the Aga Khan Museum (a programming partner for the 2019/2020 season of the Free Concert Series), the Fethi Nadjem Trio (with Marito Marques and Majd Sekkar) has come together for a special mini-concert, providing a snapshot of their work together as an ensemble. The program features music from North Africa, which the trio was meant to perform in the Free Concert Series last month.
DEBUSSY PRELUDES | Pianists of the Glenn Gould School
In lieu of their scheduled April 16, 2020 recital in our Free Concert Series, four pianists from The Glenn Gould School (Chelsea Ahn, Johann Derecho, Godwin Friesen and Pedro Larrain) presented a mini-concert featuring a selection of Debussy's Preludes, filmed remotely.
Each prelude is a miniature masterpiece that conveys a distinct mood or impression suggested by its evocative title. This virtual program includes: "The Sounds and Fragrances Swirl through the Evening Air," "The Hills of Anacapri," "The Girl with the Flaxen Hair," and "The Submerged Cathedral."
In celebration of Music Monday on May 4, a day to recognize music educators across the country, Director/Dramaturg-in-Residence Julie McIsaac returned to her childhood schools in Penetanguishene, Ontario to reflect on the impact of her musical education.
By coincidence, Julie also went to the same elementary school as our Composer-in-Residence, Ian Cusson!
Two of our Education & Outreach teaching artists, soprano Karine White and pianist Vlad Soloviev, recorded a mini concert for Art Strollers Toronto's Opera For Babies series.
This filmed-from-home concert features the Evening Prayer from Humperdinck's Hansel & Gretel and "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes" by Mack David, Al Hoffman and Jerry Livingston for the Walt Disney film Cinderella (1950).
OPERA MAKERS: ACTIVITIES FOR YOUNG CREATIVES
Opera Makers: Activities for Young Creatives is a series of bite-sized videos for young people (ages 7-12) to explore and try out at all the art forms that make up opera. Led by the Canadian Opera Company's acclaimed teaching artists, topics range from singing and composing to movement and design.
2020/2021 SEASON PREVIEW
WHAT MAKES CARMEN SO SPECIAL?
A searing portrait of a woman who is desired by everyone — but her only desire is to be free. The music is full of blazing melodies and famous arias that have made Carmen a beloved blockbuster.
A fiercely independent woman becomes ensnared in a high-stakes game among garrison soldiers, smugglers, and a superstar bullfighter, culminating in a deadly clash of passion and jealousy.
Our classic production transports audiences to a sun-drenched setting of bustling street scenes, outlaw hideaways, and a fateful climax that crackles with electricity.
TAKE A LISTEN
Music credit: Bizet’s Carmen. Claudio Abbado, conductor, with the London Symphony Orchetra, 1978. Deutsche Grammaphon
TAKE A LOOK
Photo credits: Anita Rachvelishvili as Carmen in Carmen (COC, 2016), photo: Michael Cooper; Christian Van Horn as Escamillo (centre) in Carmen (COC, 2016), photo: Michael Cooper
WHAT MAKES KATYA KABANOVA SO SPECIAL?
A loveless marriage. A tyrannical mother-in-law. A repressive small town. Katya Kabanova longs to escape her narrow domestic life — but when her desire for something more leads her to the brink of an affair, Katya must face the cruel judgment of her claustrophobic community.
This gripping drama has not been seen at the COC for nearly 30 years — making this a unique opportunity to experience this vital, modern opera.
Czech composer Leoš Janáček’s remarkable score is notable for its thoughtful portrayal of Katya, representing her joy and vulnerability with ravishing lyricism and tender beauty.
TAKE A LISTEN
Music credit: Janáček’s Katya Kabanova. Sir Charles Mackerras, conductor, with the Wiener Philharmoniker and the Wiener Staatsopernchor, 1978. London
TAKE A LOOK
Photo credits: Scenes from Katya Kabanova (Liceu Barcelona, 2018), photos: Antoni Bofill
WHAT MAKES LA TRAVIATA SO SPECIAL?
Violetta is the most captivating courtesan in all of Paris — but when she falls in love with a handsome young gentleman, Alfredo Germont, she dares to embrace a different kind of life and love.
One of Verdi’s most celebrated and popular operas, La Traviata features show-stopping arias and riveting drama, making Violetta one of the pinnacles of the soprano repertoire. This season, Sondra Radvanovsky and Vanessa Vasquez bring their vocal talents to this formidable role.
Our popular production brings 1850s Paris to lavish life with spectacular party scenes, gorgeous period costumes, and genuine Moments of love and heartbreak.
TAKE A LISTEN
Music credit: Verdi’s La Traviata. Richard Bonynge, conductor, with the National Philharmonic Orchestra, 1981. Decca
TAKE A LOOK
Photo credits: Scenes from La Traviata (COC, 2015), photos: Michael Cooper
WHAT MAKES ORFEO ED EURIDICE SO SPECIAL?
Orfeo’s beloved Euridice has died, but he’s willing to go to hell and back to find her. The gods impose one catch: Orfeo must lead Euridice out of the underworld without ever turning back to look at her, or else she will be lost forever.
Composer C. W. Gluck “changed the course of opera history” (Toronto Star) with Orfeo, stripping away the 18th century’s ostentatious style to create a bold, emotionally direct piece of theatre.
Critically acclaimed when it was last seen at the COC, this spellbinding production by director Robert Carsen is notable for its elegant simplicity and striking design.
TAKE A LISTEN
Music credit: Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice. John Eliot Gardiner, conductor, with the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists, 1993. Decca
TAKE A LOOK
Photo credits (top to bottom): Lawrence Zazzo (back to camera) as Orfeo with the COC Chorus in Orfeo ed Euridice (COC, 2011), photo: Michael Cooper; Lawrence Zazzo as Orfeo and Isabel Bayrakdarian as Eurydice in Orfeo ed Euridice (COC, 2011), photo: Michael Cooper
AT HOME WITH...
We’re checking in with members of our COC community to find out how they’re keeping busy, from their latest binge watch to figuring out their new work-from-home routines.
LATEST: At Home With... Sharon Ryman
I've been working at home since March 15, since there’s still a lot of planning for our return to the stage. My partner and I even had a bit of fun testing out Dutchman makeup on ourselves, to celebrate what would have been opening night on May 1. Our neighbor shot the photos with her long lens.
At Home With... Chloe Anderson
As a Costume Coordinator with the Canadian Opera Company, my days are usually full of a variety of tasks, and lots of face-to-face interaction! But as our spring 2020 season came to a premature end, I’ve been keeping busy putting my sewing skills to use in an entirely different way... READ MORE
At Home With... Marie Bérard
Porch concerts, virtual cooking classes and sewing... we check in with COC Orchestra Concertmaster, Marie Bérard, to find out how she's been keeping busy during this time of physical distancing... READ MORE
At Home With... the COC Ensemble Studio
We spoke to the artists of our Ensemble Studio training program to discuss how they’re coping with isolation and balancing the drive to continue making music together.... READ MORE
At Home With... Marjorie Owens
I’ve always adored Strauss but especially the crazy Strauss... So I’ve been excited to delve into Elektra. Her insanity has kept me sane during this pandemic!... READ MORE
At Home With... Rufus Wainwright
From the start of all this, I decided to record a song of mine a day until the isolation ends and post them on my Instagram channel. I call them #quarantunes or #musicaleverydays. It’s a daily version of my #roberecitals and I always appear in my bathrobe in them... READ MORE
At Home With... Simone Osborne
Our life has seemed to maintain a bit of normalcy because our sweet boy still needs to go for his walks. A silver lining at this difficult time is that we have discovered a gorgeous, expansive and relatively deserted park a few kilometres from us... READ MORE
At Home With... Adrienne Clarkson
Right now I am reading a wonderful novel by Hilary Mantel; it is not the third novel of her trilogy about Thomas Cromwell, but rather her astonishing tour de force about the French Revolution called A Place of Greater Safety... READ MORE
At Home With... Ambur Braid
COVID-19 has had a huge impact on our livelihoods as artists and is forcing us to be creative in other ways, to face challenges in a different way and to communicate effectively more than ever... READ MORE
At Home With... Johannes Debus
Reflecting on our situation in this extraordinary moment of time, the panther in Rainer Maria Rilke's poem of the same name came to my mind, as well as the many animals in our zoos around the world that share a similar destiny of captivity... READ MORE
At Home With... Alexander Neef
As I sit in my improvised home office right now, I’m reflecting on the nature of our business here at the Canadian Opera Company. The COC is about gathering people together – our artists, our musicians, our audience – to create and celebrate art... READ MORE
SUPPORT THE COC
Every donation to the COC helps support our artists and staff as we respond to this unprecedented global health crisis, and ensures we can continue to share the power of music with our audience through adapted programming created especially for this time.
OPERA AT HOME
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we started #OperaAtHome, sharing one clip every day at 11 a.m. to bring some opera into your life during these challenging times. Now you can watch our whole Opera At Home series, right here on the Digital Content Hub.
Here is soprano Angel Blue performing "Sì, mi chiamano Mimì" from Puccini's La Bohème, filmed from the rehearsal room with pianist Ben Malensek.
The COC Orchestra, conducted by Music Director Johannes Debus, performs "The Dance of the Furies" from Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice at our 2020/2021 Season Reveal event.
Soprano Ambur Braid performs Sabina's aria, "Will You Have Egypt With Me?" from Rufus Wainwright & Daniel MacIvor's Hadrian.
COC Ensemble mezzo-soprano Simona Genga and pianist Rachael Kerr shared a filmed-from-home performance of the Habanera ("L'amour est un oiseau rebelle") from Bizet's CARMEN back in April.
COC Ensemble Studio tenor Matthew Cairns performs Alfredo's "Lunge da lei...De' miei bollenti" in this excerpt from Verdi's La Traviata.