The Canadian Opera Company supports and advances Canadian artists and works through its Ensemble Studio and Composer-in-Residence programmes. The Ensemble Studio, founded in 1980, consists of 6 or 7 Canadian artists selected from annual auditions who spend a minimum of one year with the COC receiving coaching in voice, language and movement; understudying principal roles; and performing in school tours, promotional events and mainstage productions. The Composer-in-Residence programme, founded in 1987, continues the COC tradition of commissioned works, including Louis Riel (1967) and Mario and the Magician (1992), composed by Harry SOMERS; Guacamayo's Old Song and Dance (1991), by Vancouver composer John Oliver; Nosferatu (1993), composed by Randolph Peters; and Red Emma (1994), composed by Gary KULESHA. In 1999, the COC presented The Golden Ass, composed by Randolph Peters on a libretto by Robertson DAVIES.
The company actively seeks ways to develop and broaden the audience for opera and increase the art form's accessibility. Toward this end, the COC is responsible for the development of surtitles. First used in the company's production of Electra in 1983, this technology provides a synopsis in English of the singers' words, projected on a screen above the stage. Based on overwhelmingly positive audience response, many opera companies throughout North America and Europe have adapted the use of surtitles, including the Metropolitan Opera of New York.
The Canadian Opera Company's recent double bill production of Béla Bartók's Bluebeard's Castle and Arnold Schoenberg's Erwartung became an international signature piece for the company. Directed by Robert LEPAGE, designed by Michael Levine and conducted by Richard Bradshaw, the production has garnered critical acclaim in Toronto and New York, received the Edinburgh International Festival's highest awards, and opened the 1994 Melbourne International Festival. Productions by film directors Atom EGOYAN and François Girard (Salome and Oedipus Rex with Symphony of Psalms) further established the COC's identity for innovative work.
Author GAYNOR G. JONES
Links to Other Sites
Canadian Opera Company
The Canadian Opera Company website. Features current news and performance schedules, profiles of the COC's general director and other members of the company, music excerpts, educational resources, and much more.
A profile of Ruby Mercer, founder of “Opera Canada” magazine. From “La Scena Musicale.”
The website for critically acclaimed Canadian baritone Peter Barcza. Features a biography, repertoire, audio clip, and more.
History of Opera Performance in Canada
An illustrated history of opera performance in Canada. From the Virtual Gramophone website.
Opera.ca is the voice of opera in Canada. Check their website for news about recent programs, and events of interest to Canada’s opera community. See also Opera.ca's regular e-newsletter “High Notes!” and links to Canada's major professional opera and music theatre companies.
Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts
A fact sheet for the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto, the permanent home of the Canadian Opera Company and the performance venue for the National Ballet of Canada. Check out the image gallery for a virtual tour of the facility.
Remembering Richard Bradshaw
Personal recollections about working with Richard Bradshaw. Written by Robert Pomakov (bass, Canadian Opera Company). From the website for La Scena Musicale.
Richard Bradshaw of Canadian Opera Company dies at 63
A CBC obituary for Richard Bradshaw, former General Director of the Canadian Opera Company.
COC names German-born Alexander Neef as general director
A 2008 CBC article about the appointment of Alexander Neef to the position of general director of the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto.
Opera Viva: The Canadian Opera Company The First Fifty Years
See illustrated excerpts from a book that chronicles the history of the prestigious Canadian Opera Company as well as the blossoming of the Canadian cultural scene in the second half of the twentieth century. From Google Books.
Opera in Canada: A conversation
This discussion with Linda Hutcheon and George Elliott Clarke explores ways in which opera in Canada has been striving to become more accessible and attract new audiences. From the “Journal of Canadian Studies.”
The website for Susan Benson, a leading designer for theatre, opera, and ballet. Features Benson's paintings, portraits, stage designs, books, and more.
A Diamond Anniversary Celebration - Ben Heppner in Concert
An announcement of a concert featuring Ben Heppner in celebration of the Canadian Opera Company's Diamond Anniversary. From the Canadian Opera Company.
This site is dedicated to the Toronto theatre scene. Scroll down the page for reviews and interviews with many of Toronto's theatrical luminaries.
Canadian Opera Company renews music director Johannes Debus’ contract
A news story about Johannes Debus, music director of the Canadian Opera Company. From thestar.com.
Shawnadithit grew anxious waiting for her uncle, Longnon, to return to camp at the junction of Badger Brook and the Exploits River, deep in the wilds of Newfoundland...