Canadian Opera Company Annouces 2013/2014 Season
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by BWW News Desk
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,
"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.
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.