Ensemble Studio soprano Mireille Asselin, who dazzled audiences as the maid Adele in the COC's Die Fledermaus and has been praised for her "soft-grain soprano and lovely stage presence" (Opera), returns to the mainstage as Servilia, Sesto's sister. Ensemble Studio alumna Wallis Giunta, "a gifted mezzo-soprano" (New York Times) returns to the COC from the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann young artist development program to sing Annio, Servilia's love interest. Ensemble Studio graduate bass Robert Gleadow sings the role of the guard Publio, in addition to his appearance in the COC's Tristan und Isolde this winter.
Israeli conductor Daniel Cohen makes his COC debut leading the COC Orchestra and Chorus in this production. At the age of 28, Cohen is one of today's most talented young conductors and a rising star in both the concert and operatic arenas. A protégé of Daniel Barenboim, he recently assisted the renowned conductor at the 2012 West-Eastern Divan Orchestra in the preparation of a Beethoven symphonies cycle as well as major works by Schoenberg and Boulez.
Since his debut at the age of 19, Cohen has conducted the Luzerner Sinfonieorchester and Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as the Kammerphilharmonie Graz, the European Union Chamber Orchestra and the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. At Israeli Opera, he has conducted Tchaikovsky's Pique Dame, Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk and Verdi's La Traviata and Rigoletto. He recently conducted at the Festival della Valle d'Itria and opened the operatic season of the Teatro Lirico di Cagliari with a new production of Massenet's Don Quichotte. He is currently chief conductor of the Jersey Chamber Orchestra, music director of the Eden Sinfonia in London, and artistic director of the Gropius Ensemble. He is also the permanent guest conductor of the Israel Chamber Orchestra, a position he has held since 2010.
In bringing Mozart's masterpiece to the stage, director Christopher Alden visually conceives a work that blends Roman classicism with a modernist edge. The costumes designed by Terese Wadden, who worked with the COC in 2012's double-bill of A Florentine Tragedy/Gianni Schicchi, are Roman garb but imagined as if the style had evolved through different fashion eras. The set, designed by Andrew Cavanaugh Holland, also grows out of the Roman sensibility and evokes a civic space made to impress, as well as to perform a public function. Inspiration was found in the architecture of the Lincoln and Kennedy centres, and the design incorporates cool, marble-like walls where Tito's subjects are permitted to write their dissent. The lighting is designed by Gary Marder.
The COC's La clemenza di Tito is a production from Chicago Opera Theater.