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.
OPERA AT HOME
FROM THE VAULT
Every week, enjoy a full-length COC performance from the company's archives. Videos are live for one week only –– sign up for our weekly alerts to make sure you don't miss these streams.
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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.
Our very first filmed-from-home performance featured soprano Amanda Majeski and pianist Rachael Kerr performing Katya's Key Aria from Act II of Janáček's Katya Kabanova.
COC Ensemble Studio tenor Matthew Cairns performs Alfredo's "Lunge da lei...De' miei bollenti" in this excerpt from Verdi's La Traviata.
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... the COC Ensemble Studio
When your job relies on creating music and rehearsing face-to-face these times become especially challenging. 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.
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
COC VIRTUAL CHOIR
Sing along (or bang a pot) to Verdi's famous "Anvil Chorus" as part of our community Virtual Choir. No musical experience required.
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.
New videos are released every Wednesday. Sign up here to receive weekly alerts as each instalment becomes available online.
For opera singers, it’s not always about singing the loudest; it’s also about singing the clearest. Soprano Karine White uses a series of tongue twisters to teach kids the concept of diction and what kinds of exercises an opera singer might use to warm-up before singing.
THE MUSIC CONTINUES
Even during this time of physical distancing, music can help fulfill our need for human connection. Here you can find videos of our at-home community performances.
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).
HELP US RETURN TO THE STAGE
An anonymous donor is matching every gift we receive by June 30!
The closure of our performance venues has significantly impacted the COC’s operations, prompting the launch of our Help Us Return to the Stage fundraising campaign.
Opera is a uniquely collaborative art form; in recognition of this core community spirit, we will be spotlighting the many artists and community members who come together to create opera at the COC.
All campaign donations will provide vital funds as we move forward with our plans for future performances — and every gift made by June 30 will be matched for double the impact on our return to the stage.
2020/2021 SEASON PREVIEW
For the very first time, the Canadian Opera Company presents Wagner’s Parsifal. With a cast of over 100 singers, an orchestra of 110 musicians, and a nearly six-hour runtime, Parsifal forms the cornerstone of this monumental 20/21 season – a journey through the epic and intimate.
WHAT MAKES PARSIFAL SO SPECIAL?
As the first Parsifal in the COC’s history, this production is a major landmark for opera in Canada and a rare chance for audiences to immerse themselves in Richard Wagner’s final work.
Director François Girard transports Wagner’s Knights of the Holy Grail into our potential future: a post-apocalyptic world that has been brutally wounded by climate change and societal division.
Equal parts epic saga, poetic meditation, and sublime musical experience, Parsifal is an invitation for us to find a way to heal during our own challenging times.
TAKE A LISTEN
Music credit: Wagner’s Parsifal. Herbert von Karajan, conductor, with the Berliner Philharmoniker, 1981. Deutsche Grammophon.
TAKE A LOOK
Photo credits: Scenes from the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Parsifal, 2013, photos: Ken Howard
WHAT MAKES THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO SO SPECIAL?
Mozart’s clever comedy is a whirlwind of mistaken identities and delicious twists and turns that unfold over a single crazy day as Figaro and Susanna get ready to tie the knot.
When the lecherous Count Almaviva attempts to seduce Susanna before her wedding, Figaro and Susanna join forces with the spurned Countess to deliver an unforgettable lesson about love.
Mozart wrote his most luminous and profound music for this subversive story of servants who topple their masters and women who prove wiser than the men around them.
TAKE A LISTEN
Music credit: Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro. John Eliot Gardiner, conductor, with The English Baroque Soloists, 1994. Archiv
TAKE A LOOK
Photo credits: Josef Wagner as Figaro and Jane Archibald as Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro, (COC, 2016), photo: Michael Cooper; A scene from The Marriage of Figaro, (COC, 2016), photo: Michael Cooper
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