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    By Public Relations
    Read the PDF version here.

    Toronto – The Canadian Opera Company ushers in spring with a feel-good comedy that hasn’t been seen on the COC stage in 30 years: Don Pasquale by Gaetano Donizetti. This colourful adaptation from acclaimed French-Canadian creative duo Barbe & Doucet transposes the opera’s storyline to 1960s Rome, where the eccentric owner of a crumbling hotel is wreaking hilarious havoc on his nephew’s love life, together with a rag-tag group of staff that includes a chain-smoking chambermaid, a greasy cook, and a positively prehistoric porter.

    Don Pasquale runs for seven performances on April 26, May 2, 4, 8, 10, 12, and 18, 2024, at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, with an additional one-night-only performance starring current and graduate artists of the COC’s Ensemble Studio on May 14, 2024.


    When curmudgeonly Don Pasquale learns his already smitten nephew won’t marry for money, he decides to get hitched himself so Ernesto can’t inherit a dime. Unbeknownst to Pasquale, however, is that his bride-to-be is none other than his nephew's beloved—and that some friendly scheming is underway to not-so-subtly convince him to do the right thing.

    Following earlier careers in dance, television, and theatre, stage director Renaud Doucet and set and costume designer André Barbe joined forces in 2000, creating over 40 new opera productions that have been recognized for their creativity and sense of spectacle. In this production, an Italian pensione serves as the backdrop to the story with scenes changes taking place with the innovative use of a clothesline incorporated into the set. Bright colours and cartoonish angles abound, as well as a bevy of faux felines in an eye-catching neon green—because in this staging, helmed by Associate Director Kathleen Stakenas, the aging title bachelor has a deep affinity for cats…as well as an unfortunate allergy to them. Lighting from Guy Simard perfectly spotlights the Technicolor playground.


    As a composer, Donizetti is known for sparkling scores that are delightful to the ear and incredibly demanding to perform. For Don Pasquale, the COC has assembled a brilliant cast that is more than capable of delivering vocal fireworks, led by Canadian conductor Jacques Lacombe.

    In a COC debut, Misha Kiria brings his “beautiful baritone voice” (Giornale della Musica) and “charismatic” (Financial Times) acting prowess to the title role of the reclusive uncle. He’s joined by Juno Award-winning and Grammy-nominated baritone Joshua Hopkins as the clever Dr. Malatesta; Hopkins was last seen on the COC stage in 2017 as Papageno in The Magic Flute. Canadian soprano and Ensemble Studio graduate Simone Osborne, hailed by the Los Angeles Times as “a joy to hear,” returns to Toronto as the fiery Norina opposite Santiago Ballerini as Ernesto, following the Argentinian tenor’s “outstanding” performance in the COC’s 2020 production of The Barber of Seville. And Canadian bass-baritone and Ensemble Studio graduate Alex Halliday joins the robust cast in the role of the Notary.

    For the Ensemble Studio performance of the opera, Alex Halliday steps into the role of Don Pasquale alongside first-year tenor Wesley Harrison as Ernesto. Both Halliday and Harrison were featured in the COC’s 23/24 season productions of Fidelio and The Cunning Little Vixen. Final-year soprano Ariane Cossette takes on the role of Ernesto’s beloved Norina, after an earlier season appearance in The Cunning Little Vixen. First-year baritone Korin Thomas-Smith performs as Dr. Malatesta, following his mainstage debut this past fall in La Bohème, and baritone and Ensemble Studio graduate Doug MacNaughton completes the cast on May 14 as the Notary.

    Don Pasquale is sung in Italian and presented by the COC with English SURTITLES™.

    Don Pasquale is a production from Scottish Opera.


    For Performances on April 26, May 2, 4, 8, 10, 12, and 18

    Don Pasquale

    Misha Kiria


    Dr. Malatesta

    Joshua Hopkins


    Simone Osborne



    Santiago Ballerini



    Alex Halliday





    For Ensemble Studio Performance on May 14





    Don Pasquale

    Alex Halliday


    Dr. Malatesta

    Korin Thomas-Smith



    Ariane Cossette



    Wesley Harrison



    Doug MacNoughton






    Jacques Lacombe



    Renaud Doucet


    Associate Director

    Kathleen Stakenas


    Assistant Director

    Marilyn Gronsdal


    Set and Costume Designer

    André Barbe


    Lighting Designer

    Guy Simard



    Renaud Doucet


    Price Family Chorus Master

    Sandra Horst


    Stage Manager

    Lesley Abarquez


    Assistant Stage Manager

    Meghan Speakman


    Assistant Stage Manager

    Jessica Severin


    Fight and Intimacy Coordinator

    Siobhan Richardson





    With the COC Orchestra and COC Chorus


    Don Pasquale runs for seven performances on April 26, May 2, 4, 8, 10, 12, and 18, 2024, at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, with an additional one-night-only performance featuring current and graduate artists of the COC’s Ensemble Studio on May 14, 2024.

    Single tickets for Don Pasquale range from $35 – $250 for adults, with Grand Ring seats available at $290 and $350, and $22 tickets available for guests between the ages of 16 and 29 through the COC’s Opera Under 30 program.

    Single tickets for the Ensemble Studio Performance of Don Pasquale are priced from $35-$75 for adults, including Grand Ring seating.

    Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling the Four Seasons Centre Box Office at 416-363-8231. For more information on booking student groups, standing room, and rush tickets, as well as other specially priced tickets available to young people under the age of 15, please visit


    Season Sponsor:
    BMO Financial Group

    Simone Osborne is generously sponsored by June Shaw & the late Dr. Ralph Shaw.

    The Ensemble Studio Performance is generously underwritten in part by the Estate of Thomas Charles Messecar Logan.

    Arianne Cossette is generously sponsored by Tony & Anne Arrell.

    Wesley Harrison is generously sponsored by Brian Wilks.

    Korin Smith-Thomas is generously sponsored by Cathy Fauquier.

    The COC Ensemble Studio is Underwritten By: 
    The Catherine and Maxwell Meighen Foundation, with major support from Anne & Tony Arrell, Marjorie & Roy Linden, The Estate of Tom C. Logan A.R.C.T., The MacNeill Family Foundation, Wendy J. Thompson, The Azrieli Foundation, RBC Foundation, and Stingray with additional support from ARIAS: Canadian Opera Student Development Fund, Marcia Lewis Brown, Neil & Blanche Carragher, Catherine Fauquier, George & Irene Hamilton, Patrick and Barbara Keenan Foundation, Joy Levine, Patricia & Frank Mills, and Brian Wilks.

    Sandra Horst and the COC Chorus are generously underwritten by Tim & Frances Price.

    The COC Orchestra is generously sponsored, in part, by W. Bruce C. Bailey, in honour of Christie Darville, COC Deputy General Director, and Johannes Debus, COC Music Director, and, in part, by The Schulich Foundation.

    Thank you to the entire COC community, including our COC Board of Directors, our Corporate Sponsors and Foundation Supportersgenerous public fundersunion partners, and — most critically — our audience. Your inspiring support ensures that opera flourishes, uniting global audiences and paving the way for a vibrant future.

    Based in Toronto, the Canadian Opera Company is the largest producer of opera in Canada and one of the largest in North America. General Director Perryn Leech joined the company in 2021, forming a leadership team with Music Director Johannes Debus and Deputy General Director Christie Darville. The COC enjoys a loyal audience, including a dedicated base of subscribers, and has an international reputation for artistic excellence and creative innovation. Its diverse repertoire includes new commissions and productions, local and international collaborations with leading opera companies and festivals, and attracts the world’s foremost Canadian and international artists. The company is an incubator for the future of the art form, nurturing Canada’s new wave of opera performers and creators with customized training and support. The COC’s purpose-built opera house, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, is hailed internationally as one of the finest in the world. For more information, visit

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    For more information, please contact: 
    Avril Sequeira, Director of Public Relations, email: [email protected]
    Davin Leivonen-Fok, Communications Coordinator, email: [email protected]

    Posted In Press Releases


Phone: 416-363-8231

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