In the centenary of Benjamin Britten's birth, the COC presents Peter Grimes, his gripping opera about an alienatEd Fisherman and the seaside village he struggles to inhabit. Acclaimed Canadian tenor Ben Heppner (Tristan in Tristan und Isolde, 2013) returns to the COC in the title role. COC Music Director Johannes Debus makes his Britten debut when he leads the COC Orchestra and Chorus through Peter Grimes' evocative score, last heard at the COC in 2003. Award-winning Australian director Neil Armfield (Ariadne auf Naxos, 2011; A Midsummer Night's Dream, 2009; Billy Budd, 2001) directs this co-production from Opera Australia and Houston Grand Opera. Singing the role of Grimes' unwavering advocate, Ellen Orford, is recent COC Ensemble Studio graduate soprano Ileana Montalbetti. Captain Balstrode, one of Grimes' few friends, is sung by one of the leading singing actors today, Alan Held (Kurwenal Tristan und Isolde, 2013; A Florentine Tragedy/Gianni Schicchi, 2012). COC Ensemble Studio alumni, tenor Roger Honeywell and baritone Peter Barrett, portray the vengeful Bob Boles and Grimes' friend, Ned Keene, respectively. Canadian bass-baritone Tom Corbeil (who also appears in 2013's La Bohème) is the lawyer Swallow, and critically acclaimed American mezzo-soprano Jill Grove (Aida, 2010) is Auntie. Peter Grimes is sung in English with English SURTITLES and runs for seven performances at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts on October 5, 8, 11, 17, 20, 23, 26, 2013.
Renowned Canadian film and stage director Atom Egoyan (directing Salome, 2013) returns to the COC with a new production of Mozart's sublime musical depiction of the frailties of the human condition, Così fan tutte. Egoyan's concept takes its inspiration from the opera's subtitle, The School for Lovers. He approaches the production as one where love is examined, dissected and manipulated, exploring the themes of love, temptation and deceit in this wry comedy about two couples gambling with one another's faith and desire. Award-winning set and costume designer Debra Hanson makes her opera debut with Così fan tutte and, with Egoyan, creates a production that stylistically progresses through time from the 18th-century to present day. Led by COC Music Director Johannes Debus with the COC Orchestra and Chorus, this new production features a cast of up-and-coming opera talent in the roles of the young lovers, alongside distinguished veterans. Cast as the sisters are two Canadians: soprano Layla Claire in her COC debut as Fiordiligi and Ensemble Studio graduate mezzo-soprano Wallis Giunta (Annio in La clemenza di Tito, 2013) as Dorabella. Singing the roles of the sisters' two suitors are American tenor Paul Appleby in his COC debut as Ferrando and COC Ensemble graduate bass-baritone Robert Gleadow (Steersman in Tristan und Isolde, 2013; Publio in La clemenza di Tito, 2013) as Guglielmo. World-renowned Canadian soprano Tracy Dahl makes a highly anticipated return to the COC stage after a 19-year-long absence, in the role of the conniving Despina. Sir Thomas Allen, one of the finest lyric baritones on the world stage, makes his COC debut as the wily Don Alfonso. COC resident conductor Derek Bate leads the COC Orchestra and Chorus for one performance. Così fan tutte was last performed on the COC mainstage in 2006 and is sung in Italian with English SURTITLES. The production runs for 10 performances at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts on January 18, 24, 29, February 1, 6, 7*, 9, 15, 18, 21, 2014.