The Canadian Opera Company unveiled its 2013/2014 season today at a press conference at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. The company's 64th season stars the world's best singers, conductors, directors and designers in a performance year with seven operas, including three COC premieres and three new COC productions. The COC presents Giacomo Puccini's La Bohème with a new production featuring some of Canada's brightest stars; COC Music Director Johannes Debus makes his Benjamin Britten debut when he conducts Peter Grimes with a production starring acclaimed Canadian tenor Ben Heppner in the iconic title role; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Così fan tutte with a new COC production by renowned film and theatre director Atom Egoyan with Debus conducting; Giuseppe Verdi's Un ballo in maschera starring great Canadian diva Adrianne Pieczonka in a role debut; George Frideric Handel's Hercules with a COC premiere and new COC production by world-renowned director Peter Sellars with a star-studded cast; Gaetano Donizetti's Roberto Devereux with a COC premiere starring soprano Sondra Radvanovsky in a role debut; and Jules Massenet's Don Quichotte with a COC premiere featuring Debus in another conducting debut and the world's pre-eminent bass Ferruccio Furlanetto in the title role.
The 13/14 season ranks among the most exciting yet for the COC with more Canadian and international stars on the mainstage than ever before. Making their COC debuts in the upcoming season are singers Phillip Addis,
Sir Thomas Allen, Paul Appleby, Layla Claire, Lucy Crowe, Grazia Doronzio, Joyce El-Khoury, Giuseppe Filianoti, Ferruccio Furlanetto, Ekaterina Gubanova, Teodor Ilinc?i, Eric Owens and Roland Wood; conductors Carlo Rizzi and Corrado Rovaris; and directors Linda Brovsky, Sergio Morabito and Jossi Wieler. Returning artists include singers Russell Braun, Alice Coote, Richard Croft, Tracy Dahl, David Daniels, Alan Held, Ben Heppner, Quinn Kelsey, David Lomelí, Allyson McHardy, Marie-Nicole Lemieux, Adrianne Pieczonka, Dimitri Pittas and Sondra Radvanovsky; conductors Harry Bicket and Stephen Lord; and directors Neil Armfield, John Caird, Atom Egoyan, Stephen Lawless and Peter Sellars. All performances take place in the company's home, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, and feature the renowned COC Orchestra and Chorus.
"More than ever, you can see how the COC has become a destination for artists of exceptional talent and renown. The artists we invite to work with us, and the opera companies that choose to collaborate on productions with us, are among the best in the world," says Canadian Opera Company General Director Alexander Neef. "Looking beyond the extraordinary calibre of the artists coming to the COC next year, audiences can expect a season that invites them to engage with opera in a way that's only possible by being part of a live theatrical experience. In the end, it is the electric exchange between artists and the audience that makes the art come alive."
The COC's 13/14 season opens with one of opera's favourite and most poignant love stories, Puccini's La Bohème. This masterpiece of youthful flirtation, passionate love and heartbreaking tragedy was last performed by the COC in 2009 and returns in a new company production directed by Canadian-born Tony Award-winning director John Caird (Don Carlos, 2007). One of the leading conductors of his generation, Italian Carlo Rizzi, leads the COC Orchestra and Chorus. The sets and costumes that capture the romance of France's Belle Époque are created by Olivier Award-winning and Tony Award-nominated designer David Farley. Making their COC debuts in the role of the fragile seamstress Mimì are two recent graduates of the Metropolitan Opera's prestigious Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, already acclaimed for their renditions of this starring role: Italian soprano Grazia Doronzio and Canadian soprano Joyce El-Khoury (Oct. 9, 19, 27, 30). The role of the poet Rodolfo, Mimì's lover, is sung by two rising young tenors, Mexican David Lomelí (Rigoletto, 2011) and Romanian Teodor Ilinc?i (Oct. 9, 19, 27, 30). Also appearing as the flirtatious singer Musetta, El-Khoury shares the role with COC Ensemble Studio graduate soprano Simone Osborne (Gianni Schicchi, 2012; Rigoletto, 2011; The Magic Flute, 2011) (Oct. 9, 19, 27, 30). In the role of the painter Marcello, Musetta's lover, are two standout Canadian baritones: Joshua Hopkins (Carmen, 2005) and, in a company debut, Phillip Addis (Oct. 9, 19, 27, 30). The role of the philosopher Colline is shared by two celebrated bass-baritones: American Christian Van Horn (Tosca, 2012) and Canadian Tom Corbeil (Death in Venice, 2010) (Oct. 9, 19, 27, 30). Addis also takes on the role of the musician Schaunard. This production of La Bohème is a COC co-production with Houston Grand Opera and San Francisco Opera. La Bohème is sung in Italian with English SURTITLES and runs for 12 performances at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts on October 3, 6, 9, 12, 16, 18, 19, 22, 25, 27, 29, 30, 2013.