Canadian Opera Company
The Canadian Opera Company presents a double bill of one-act operas as part of its 2012 spring season with the Canadian premiere of Alexander Zemlinsky's A Florentine Tragedy and the return of Giacomo Puccini's Gianni Schicchi, last seen with the COC in 1996. The two operas are presented in a new COC production by the legendary soprano-turned-director Catherine Malfitano and world-renowned conductor Sir Andrew Davis. A Florentine Tragedy is sung in German and Gianni Schicchi is sung in Italian, both with English SURTITLES™. The double bill of A Florentine Tragedy/Gianni Schicchi runs for eight performances at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts on April 26, May 2, 5, 12, 15, 18, 20 and 25, 2012.
Check out the costume design sketches for both one-acts below!
The COC's new production uses Florence's breathtaking cityscape as the canvas on which Malfitano draws out the themes of class values, morality and excess of riches that underline both operas, with set designs by Wilson Chin, costume designs by Terese Wadden and lighting designs by David Martin Jacques. Inspired by how A Florentine Tragedy and Gianni Schicchi are linked in time and subject but can feel representative of two very different worlds, Malfitano's concept unites the two operas by having them take place within the same Italian palazzo but physically sets them in different time periods.
Based on an unfinished Oscar Wilde play, the darkly satiric work, A Florentine Tragedy, tells the tale of a merchant who discovers his wife is having an affair and contains one of opera's most unexpected endings with the murder of the wife's lover and the married couple's passionate reconciliation. Alan Held makes his COC debut in the lead role of Simone, the cuckolded merchant. German soprano Gun-Brit Barkmin makes her COC debut as Simone's wife, Bianca. German tenor Michael König, a regular artist with the opera houses of Frankfurt, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Vienna, Barcelona, Madrid and Paris, makes his COC debut as Guido Bardi, Bianca's lover.
In Puccini's Gianni Schicchi, American bass-baritone Alan Held sings the title role. As the street-smart peasant Gianni Schicchi, Held is at the heart of this fast-paced comedy inspired by Dante's Divine Comedy, in which a family frantically schemes to benefit their own greed when excluded from a wealthy relative's will. COC Ensemble Studio soprano Simone Osborne returns to the mainstage as Schicchi's daughter, Lauretta, singing one of opera's best-known arias, "O! mio babbino caro."
Single tickets for A Florentine Tragedy/Gianni Schicchi are $12 – $318 (includes applicable taxes). Tickets are available online at coc.ca, by calling 416-363-8231, or in person at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts Box Office, located at 145 Queen St. W., Monday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.