A video clip featuring Jon Vickers performing "La fleur que tu m'avais jetée" (Flower song) from Georges Bizet's Carmen. From YouTube.
Watch Jon Vickers perform "Parlar non vuoi" from the opera Il Trovatore. With Edith Della Pergola. From YouTube.com.
The 1830s present something of a hiatus in the history of opera performance in Canada. Research into the reasons for this has hardly begun but the economic depression, political unrest, and the cholera epidemics of the period may explain the apparent decline. When opera made a comeback in the 1840s and 1850s the old repertoire had been discarded (the Quebec City performance of J.-J. Rousseau's Le Devin du village in 1846 under Napoléon Aubin by a local society was an exception) and a new and far more challenging repertoire was introduced. The grand operas of Auber, Bellini, Boieldieu, Donizetti, Rossini, and Verdi made far greater demands not only on the singers but also on the accompanying orchestras. The new repertoire became known to Canadians mostly through truncated versions, single excerpts, overtures, and medleys. Research by Dorith Cooper and Mireille Barrière has revealed that operatic troupes frequently visited Canada, though rarely gave full-fledged performances. Arthur (Edward Shelden) and his wife Ann Childe Séguin, of the RAM, and W.H. Latham of the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London, visited Montreal in 1839, singing excerpts from operas such as La Cenerentola, La Sonnambula, Il Matrimonio segreto, and La Gazza ladra. The Séguin troupe returned to Montreal and also visited Toronto on several occasions 1840-9 to perform miscellaneous opera excerpts and truncated versions of operas. In 1843 a French company from New Orleans, headed by Julie Calvé presented Adam's Le Chalet, Auber's Les Diamants de la couronne and L'Ambassadrice, La Fille du régiment, and the last two acts of Anna Bolena.
As the population grew and, with it, a network of steamship and rail transportation, famous singers began to include Canada in their tours. Between 1841 and 1854 John Braham, Euphrasie Borghese, Laure Cintie-Damoreau, Jenny Lind, Auguste Nourrit, Teresa Parodi, Henriette Sontag, and the prodigy Adelina Patti all gave recitals in Montreal, Quebec, or Toronto. Such celebrities undoubtedly inspired local amateurs, and soon the first persistent signs of regular performance were evident. Between 1850 and 1900 major Canadian cities enjoyed performances of numerous travelling US companies headed by famous US prima donnas such as Emma Abbott, Minnie Hauk, Emma Juch, and Clara Louise Kellogg.
Montreal was visited in 1853 by a travelling troupe under Luigi Arditi (perhaps the first troupe visiting Canada to sing Italian opera, including Norma and Ernani, in the original language), and as early as 1871 there was a local production of Der Fliegende Holländer. All-Offenbach seasons were offered at the Theatre Royal in 1874, 1876, and 1877 by a Paris company that starred Zulma Bouffard, a friend of the composer. Emma Albani and her company came in 1883, 1890, and 1892 to the Academy of Music to present Lucia di Lammermoor, La Traviata, Les Huguenots, and Lohengrin, all of course starring the Canadian prima donna. A great period of activity in Montreal, which was to last until World War I, began with the resident Opéra français (1893-6), which presented French and Italian grand opera as well as operettas and legitimate drama at the Théâtre francais. In 1899 both the Charley Opera of New Orleans and the Durieu-Nicosias troupe of Paris invaded Montreal, the first playing at Her Majesty's Theatre, the second at the Monument national, for spectacular seasons of French exotica, including Halévy's La Juive, Reyer's Sigurd, Gounod's Mireille and La Reine de Saba, and Meyerbeer's Robert le Diable and L'Africaine. The sophistication of the city's audiences is demonstrated by the fact that Montreal was chosen for the premieres of Victor Herbert's operettas Cyrano de Bergerac (1899) and The Singing Girl (1899), and for Sousa's The Charlatan (1898). A small troupe of singers from the Metropolitan Opera performed in Winnipeg and Regina in 1899, and the main New York company visited Montreal in 1899 and 1901, bringing Emma Calvé's famed Carmen both times, and returning in 1911 with a production of Tannhäuser with Fremstad and Slezak, and of Aida with Emmy Destinn, the latter conducted by Toscanini. The Mascagni Grand Opera Co presented fully staged productions of Cavalleria Rusticana, Zanetto, and Iris in Montreal in 1902, directed by the composer, and Leoncavallo visited in 1906. In 1904-5 there were three visits by the Savage English Grand Opera Co, which brought rare performances of Verdi's Otello and Wagner's Parsifal. The young Florence Easton (later buried in Montreal) was Gilda in Rigoletto.
The most important chapter in the pre-World-War-I history of opera performance in Montreal undoubtedly was that concerning the Montreal Opera Company (1910-13), the three seasons of which embraced not only a wealth of activity at His Majesty's Theatre but also regular tours to Quebec City, Ottawa, Toronto, and even Rochester, NY. Among the many Canadian premieres offered were Puccini's Manon Lescaut and Tosca, Mascagni's L'Amico Fritz, Giordano's Fedora, Charpentier's Louise, and Massenet's Le Jongleur de Notre-Dame and Cendrillon. In the wake of this organization came the National Opera Co of Canada, which presented one quixotic season, 1913-14, in Montreal and on tour, dominated by such international luminaries as Marie Rappold and Leo Slezak. The era came to an end in March 1914 with a three-week visit of the Quinlan English Opera Co at His Majesty's Theatre; Wagner's complete Der Ring des Nibelungen was sung in Canada for the first time (and by 1990 still the only time), along with Tannhäuser, Lohengrin, The Flying Dutchman, and Tristan und Isolde.
Opera was slow to take root in Quebec City, largely as a result of clerical opposition to theatrical entertainments, whether spoken or sung. As late as 1911 the archbishop of Quebec exhorted the citizens to boycott the visiting Montreal Opera Co, on the grounds that the libretti of the works being offered were 'detrimental to morals.' Some performances took place as scheduled, but Manon and Thaïs were banned. Among noteworthy performances was one by a visiting company 10 Jun 1864 of Rossini's Barber of Seville and several in 1879 of Boieldieu's La Dame blanche, conducted by Calixa Lavallée (after two weeks in Montreal) with Canadian singers.
Landmarks in the long and varied operatic history of Toronto began in 1825 with the performances mentioned above and were followed in 1843 by two presentations of Sir Henry Bishop's The Miller and His Men. The French Opera Troupe from New Orleans visited in 1850 with excerpts from half a dozen operas. The Arditi company visited Toronto 8 Jul 1853 for the city's first fully staged grand opera, Norma, with Rosa Devries in the title role, and returned in 1854 with Lucia di Lammermoor and Daughter of the Regiment. Arditi was also the conductor for appearances by Mme Sontag's Italian Opera Co in 1854. 'The whole of the first act of Lucrezia Borgia' was done with local performers and piano accompaniment in 1853. Five years later the Holman Juvenile Opera Troupe made the first of several visits that were to culminate in George Holman's settling in Toronto and presenting regular seasons, 1867-73, of opera and drama at the Royal Lyceum Theatre with his Holman English Opera Troupe. Other visitors included Parodi's Italian Opera Co in 1859, and the Cooper Opera Troupe and the French Opera Co from New Orleans in 1860.
Indeed Toronto, like Montreal, rarely had a season without the visit of a travelling troupe, notably the Emma Abbott Grand Opera Co in the 1880s. In 1883 Emma Albani for the first time sang opera on her native soil: Lucia di Lammermoor at the Grand Opera House. She returned 3 Jan 1888 for a production of Lohengrin by the National Opera Co. Lohengrin, Rigoletto, Carmen, and Les Huguenots were the grand operas given in the 1890-1 season, a particularly busy one, with a total of 91 opera and operetta performances. A group of singers from the Metropolitan Opera Co visited in 1892, and the main company presented six operas in 1899. The premiere of a Victor Herbert operetta The Fortune Teller took place in Toronto 14 Sep 1898 at the Grand Opera House. In 1905 the Savage English Grand Opera Co gave the first performance in Canada of Parsifal. The Montreal Opera Co first visited Toronto in 1911, and the Boston Opera made four visits 1915-17, bringing such treats as the young Maggie Teyte in Faust and La Bohème and Luisa Villani in Montemezzi's L'Amore dei tre re.
It must be stressed that among Canadian cities even Montreal and Toronto, at the turn of the century, rarely had full seasons of opera. The hazards of arranging visits of foreign companies resulted in extreme fluctuations from year to year. Local productions, rare though they were, depended usually on the importing of singers for certain roles. By 1990 little research had been conducted on the orchestras that accompanied grand opera: was the instrumentation reduced? did local musicians participate? It may be assumed that in the main visiting troupes brought their own orchestras. The accommodation of the troupes presented few problems in the larger cities since theatre buildings, no matter how inadequate for grand opera, at least were plentiful. However, the name 'grand opera house,' which adorned auditoriums all across Canada (see Concert halls and opera houses), gave no indication of the actual use and suitability of the building. More likely than not, in all but the largest cities these opera houses rarely accommodated or could accommodate anything more ambitious than operetta.
Operetta, however, did flourish, in local productions and visiting ones. There were few English-Canadian towns where Victor Herbert, Reginald de Koven, and especially Gilbert & Sullivan were not cultivated (eg, Calgary's first operetta was Trial by Jury in 1890, and Regina's was The Pirates of Penzance in 1909). Indeed many Gilbert & Sullivan productions were mounted in Canada within a few months of their premiere. And there were few French-Canadian towns in which Offenbach, Messager, Lecocq, or Planquette were not popular. Bateman's troupe performed Offenbach operettas in Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto in 1868. Planquette's Les Cloches de Corneville had a great vogue across the country and in 1904, in its English adaptation (The Chimes of Normandy), was the first operetta presented in Edmonton. Charles Hutton began his Gilbert & Sullivan productions in St John's in 1894. Another favourite was von Flotow's comic opera Martha, of which local productions took place in Halifax and Victoria. Winnipeg heard Iolanthe as early as 1883, when the Hess Opera from England visited, and Halifax heard The Mikado in 1887, two years after its premiere. (See also H.M.S. Parliament.) London, Ont, for some seasons enjoyed the presence of the Holman English Opera Co, which moved there in 1873. In 1899 Kingston was the first to hear Leo, the Royal Cadet, composed by the resident Oscar Telgmann, who also presented it in other Ontario towns. Grand opera made its appearance in Vancouver in 1891, when the CPR's Vancouver Opera House opened with a production of Lohengrin by the Emma Juch English Opera, a US company.
If Canada still had not produced a single enduring company in which Canadian talent furnished the majority of singers, by World War I, she nevertheless had made an impressive contribution to the great companies of the USA and Europe. The first singer to soar abroad, Emma Albani, was also the most famous, but others won international recognition: Francis Archambault, Donald Brian, Edmund Burke, Craig Campbell, Eugene Cowles, Pauline Donalda, Louise Edvina, Kathleen Howard, Edward Johnson, Béatrice La Palme, Christie MacDonald, F.-X. Mercier, Whitney Mockridge, Irene Pavloska, Albert Quesnel, and Marie Toulinguet. (See also USA.)
World War I dealt a blow to opera performance in Canada, and recovery proved slow. The main professional company to appear in the years prior to the middle of the century was the New York-based San Carlo Opera Company. Almost every year it visited Canadian cities, from Vancouver and Winnipeg to Toronto and Montreal, providing a wide variety of the standard literature and including some Canadians in its casts. In this period once again Montreal showed the greatest initiative. Resident companies were the Société canadienne d'opérette, which, despite its name, presented several grand operas 1925-36, and the Canadian Opera Company of Montreal of 1931, which mounted a single production, Roméo et Juliette at Loew's Theatre with Edward Johnson and Queena Mario, with Wilfrid Pelletier conducting. In a short-lived revival 1933-4, the latter company presented concert performances with piano accompaniment of The Marriage of Figaro, Gluck's Orpheus, Honegger's Le Roi David, and Debussy's Le Martyre de St-Sébastien at the Mount Royal Hotel. More enduring were the Variétés lyriques (1936-55); and Pauline Donalda's Opera Guild of Montreal, founded in 1941 and active until 1969. A forerunner of the latter, the Dominion Grand Opera Company presented only La Traviata and Faust in 1940 at His Majesty's before folding. The casts included many Canadians. In 1940 the Montreal Festivals (1936-65) for the first time programmed an opera: Pelléas et Mélisande. This work, as well as the festival's productions of Ariadne auf Naxos in 1946 were Canadian premieres. Among the Canadian premieres given by the Opera Guild were Le Coq d'or in 1944 and Fidelio in 1946.
Toronto and Montreal were visited by Antonio Scotti's troupe in 1921 and the Russian Grand Opera Co in 1922 and 1923, the latter offering Boris Godunov, Eugene Onegin, and the Rimsky-Korsakov operas The Snow Maiden and The Tsar's Bride. Local activity in Toronto included performances by the Savoyards, established in 1919, and by the Toronto Opera Chorus, founded in 1920 by the voice teacher Giuseppe Carboni and active until his death in 1934. It presented amateur performances of Adam's Le Chalet, Gounod's Philémon et Baucis, and other works. Edoardo Ferrari-Fontana founded (ca 1927) the Music and Arts League of Toronto, which presented operatic programs. The Toronto Conservatory Opera Company, established by Ernest MacMillan and Countess Laura de Turczynowicz (Laura Blackwell), produced several operas, beginning in 1928 with Hansel and Gretel and including Dido and Aeneas and Hugh the Drover, but the company ceased its activities in 1930. Between 1935 and 1939 there was a veritable onslaught of Toronto productions by competing local companies of varying calibre, including the Opera Guild of Toronto and the Canadian Grand Opera Association, both established in 1936 and performing operas by Verdi, Gounod, Wagner, Puccini, and others. Less ambitious, but enduring for a longer period, were the Rosselino Opera Company, which presented programs of operatic scenes or of entire operas 1944-51 at Eaton Auditorium, the Eaton Operatic Society (1931-65), and the Canada Packers Operatic Society (1942-55), the last two specializing in Gilbert & Sullivan and other light works.
As in many other Canadian cities outside Montreal and Toronto, in Winnipeg the staple diet of music theatre in the decades after World War I was Gilbert & Sullivan, and such popular favourites as The Chimes of Normandy or Balfe's The Bohemian Girl. In addition to local amateur productions Winnipeg received occasional visits from such companies as the Royal English Opera and the D'Oyly Carte. The mainstay of musical theatre in Vancouver has been Theatre Under the Stars (TUTS), which in 1940 began to present open-air performances of operettas at Malkin Bowl. In Ottawa H. Bramwell Bailey directed a Grand Opera Co 1949-64. The names of numerous other light opera societies of the period will be found in the entries on individual cities.
Another genre, the folk ballad opera, received an important stimulus 1927-31 in the CPR Festivals, particularly those at Banff, Quebec City, Toronto, Vancouver, and Victoria. It cannot be denied, however, that on the whole Canada was a desert in so far as grand opera was concerned. For the opera lover, even in the largest cities, a professional stage performance was a treat not available at all in some seasons and limited to the standard works in others. It may be noted that the opera composer considered by many the greatest of all, Mozart, has been mentioned rarely so far in this article. It is likely that the American Opera Company presented the first Marriage of Figaro in Toronto (and possibly also in Montreal) in 1929, the Salzburg Opera Guild, visiting both cities in 1937 the first Così fan tutte, and the Montreal Opera Guild the first Magic Flute in 1945.
There was one bright light, however: the broadcasts, weekly during the season, from the Metropolitan Opera in New York which, beginning in 1931 (and continuing in 1991), have brought superbly performed operas to Canadians from coast to coast, not only providing enjoyment, but also building potential audiences for local productions and establishing critical standards.
The unprecedented growth of opera in Canada after World War II was aided by a number of factors, including the expansion of broadcasting and recording, the influx of European immigrants for whom attendance at the opera had been a habit, and the growing prosperity of the 1950s and 1960s. More fundamental was the recognition by a few far-sighted people at the RCMT that opera could grow permanent roots only if training and employment opportunities were developed simultaneously, backed by powerful institutions and private support. In practice this meant the establishment of the Royal Cons Opera School (University of Toronto Opera Division) and the formation of the CBC Opera Company and close co-operation between the two. Under the initial direction of Arnold Walter and the later guidance of Ettore Mazzoleni, with Herman Geiger-Torel, Nicholas Goldschmidt, and Ernesto Barbini as its main figures theatrical and musical, the school rapidly attracted young singers from all regions of Canada. The first production, The Bartered Bride (1947), was followed by the first Opera Festival (three productions, 1950), which in turn grew into the Canadian Opera Company, a company presenting a professional season independent of the school. In 1958 the company began extensive touring and subsequently it gave the first operatic performances ever heard (1967) in many parts of Alaska, the Yukon, and the Northwest Territories. By 1980 the COC had become the longest-established and most productive opera company in Canada's history.
Elsewhere opera companies were formed in less accommodating circumstances. The Opéra national du Québec, a school founded by Edouard Woolley in 1948, presented four seasons in Montreal, Quebec City, Trois-Rivières, and parts of New Brunswick. In 1949 a performance of Don Giovanni launched the Nova Scotia Opera Association, which mounted several productions in Halifax and toured in other Maritime centres. The Light Opera of Edmonton was established by H.G. Turner in 1950. The Regina Conservatory Opera (1951-69) produced one or two operas each year, ranging from standard repertoire to commissioned works. The Grand Opera of Montreal, established in 1957, gave Don Giovanni and The Barber of Seville before it ceased operations in 1958.
In chronological order, there followed the Vancouver Opera (founded 1959), the Hamilton Opera Company (1961-72, its residue absorbed into Mohawk College Opera Workshop, after 1976 Mohawk College Theatre), Quebec City's Théâtre lyrique de Nouvelle-France (1961-70, renamed the Théâtre lyrique du Québec in 1967), the Edmonton Opera Association (founded 1963), Quebec City's Société lyrique d'Aubigny (founded 1968), Winnipeg's Manitoba Opera Association (founded 1969 but not presenting a production of its own until 1973), the provincially sponsored Opéra du Québec (1971-5, performing in both Montreal and Quebec City), the Atlantic Opera Society in Halifax (1972-80), Calgary's Southern Alberta Opera Association (Calgary Opera Association, founded 1972), Pacific Opera Victoria (founded 1978), the Saskatoon Opera Association (founded in 1978), the Opéra de Montréal (founded 1980, a successor of the Opéra du Québec), Opera Hamilton (founded 1980), Victoria's Canada Opera Piccola (1982-8), Montreal's Opéra-Comique du Québec (founded 1984), Quebec City's Opéra du Québec (founded 1984), Ottawa's Opera Lyra (founded 1984), and Opera East in Nova Scotia (founded in 1988). Most of these companies have mounted from one to four productions a year, using mainly professional Canadian singers and playing for a period of from several weeks to a few months, with additional performances out of town. The four prairie and British Columbia companies mentioned above formed a co-operative organization, Opera West, to pool their resources and co-ordinate their schedules.
One measure of the growth in popularity of opera after 1980 has been the proliferation of smaller community and specialist opera companies. In the Toronto area alone, Co-Opera Company Canada, the Cosmopolitan Opera Association, Opera Atelier, Mississauga City Centre Opera, Opera Ora Now, and Toronto Operetta Theatre are some of the companies of this nature that were operating in 1991.
Operas have been regular or at least recurrent features of several festivals, including Festival Ottawa (Canada), the Guelph Spring Festival, the Montreal Festivals, the Stratford Festival, and the Vancouver International Festival, among others.
Other efforts of the mid-20th century deserving recognition include the Opera Guild of Montreal which continued production until the retirement of its director, Pauline Donalda, in 1969; the Minute Opera of Montreal, which presented shorter works 1949-53; the productions of the Banff Centre SFA after Ernesto Vinci established a voice department in 1949; the McGill Opera Studio, founded in 1956 by Edith and Luciano Della Pergola; the Toronto Opera Repertoire, established in 1967 and directed by Giuseppe Macina; the Dalhousie University Opera Workshop (Halifax) which presented its first production in 1971; and the Opera in Concert series of rarely heard works, accompanied on the piano, established by Stuart Hamilton in 1974 at the St Lawrence Centre in Toronto.
Of paramount importance have been the opera presentations of the CBC, in the 1940s and 1950s on radio and, beginning 14 May 1953 with Don Giovanni, on TV. These high-quality productions not only have brought opera to areas outside the large cities but have made it possible to present works, both from the traditional and the modern repertoires, that lack conventional box office appeal. Furthermore they have provided employment to Canadian singers during the many months between the short seasons of the major companies. The Toronto-based CBC Opera Company (1948-55), the CBC Toronto TV productions of Franz Kraemer, and the CBC Montreal TV program 'L'Heure du concert' (1954-66) have been the corporation's main vehicles for opera. Studio productions declined during the 1970s, but towards the end of the decade there were live telecasts of Festival Ottawa productions (eg, The Magic Flute 1977, The Barber of Seville 1978), followed in the 1980s by occasional live telecasts of productions by various Canadian opera companies. There also were productions in collaboration with the BBC and the PBS (the US educational network), eg, Verdi's Macbeth (1978), a CBC French-network production of Madama Butterfly (1978), and a live telecast of the COC's 1978 performance of Joan of Arc.
Amateur productions of musical comedies and the simpler operas continued throughout Canada. Presentations of a professional calibre have been staged by the Variétés lyriques of Montreal (active until 1955), the Theatre Under the Stars of Vancouver, Melody Fair of Toronto (1951-4), and Rainbow Stage of Winnipeg (begun 1954, outdoor performances).
With the growth of Canadian activity visits by foreign opera companies have decreased. The Metropolitan Opera paid regular visits to Montreal and Toronto during the 1950s, but the venues of those cities, the Forum and Maple Leaf Gardens respectively, while providing room for large audiences, proved unsatisfactory both as auditoriums for sound and as stages for theatre. The Metropolitan Opera also visited Vancouver in the 1960s. By 1991 no feast of opera by visiting troupes had been surpassed by that at the World Festival of Expo 67, when the major companies of Hamburg, Milan, Moscow, Stockholm, and Vienna made their North American debuts at the PDA in Montreal.
Author James B. McPherson, Helmut Kallmann, Gilles Potvin
Charlesworth, Hector. 'Grand opera in Canada,' Canadian Courier, vol 12, 12 Oct 1912
'The present state of grand opera in Canada,' The Year Book of Canadian Art 1913, compiled by the Arts and Letters Club of Toronto (Toronto 1913)
Lamontagne, C.-O. 'Lettre à Frédéric Pelletier,' Entre-Nous, vol 1, May 1930
Walter, Arnold. 'The present state of opera in Canada,' Cons B, Feb 1950
Beraud, Jean. 350 Ans de théâtre au Canada français (Montreal 1958)
Neel, Boyd. 'Opera,' The Arts in Canada, ed Murray Ross (Toronto 1958)
Hamelin, Jean. 'Pourquoi nos chanteurs d'opéra doivent-ils s'exiler?' Châtelaine, Jan 1962
Kallmann, Helmut. 'From the archives: the Montreal Gazette on music from 1786 to 1797,' CMJ, vol 6, Spring 1962
Mercer, Ruby. 'Opera in Canada,' International Musician, May 1962
- 'Canadians like opera,' Music Across Canada, May 1963
Kallmann, Helmut. 'History of opera in Canada,' OpCan, Sep 1964
'Salute to Canada,' special Canadian issue of Opera News, vol 31, 13 May 1967
Morey, Carl. 'Pre-confederation opera in Toronto,' OpCan, Sep 1969
Mercer, Ruby. 'A 150-year history,' OpCan, Fall 1973
Geiger-Torel, Herman. 'Canada, an operatic desert?' German-Canadian Yearbook, vol 2, (Toronto 1975)
Eaton, Quaintance. Opera Caravan: Adventures of the Metropolitan Opera on Tour 1883-1956 (New York 1978)
Rosenthal, Harold, and Warrack, John. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Opera, 2nd ed (London 1979). Includes entries on Canada, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver
Potvin, Gilles. 'A short history of opera in Canada,' Mcan, 44, Fall 1980
Lussier, Charles A. 'L'Opéra a-t-il un avenir?' OpCan, Spring 1981
Barrière, Mireille. 'La Société canadienne-française et le théâtre lyrique à Montréal entre 1840 et 1913,' PH D thesis, Laval University 1989
Kallmann History of Music in Canada
Amtmann La Musique au Québec
'Opera in Montreal and Toronto'
Look at the Record
Links to Other Sites
A profile of Dame Emma Albani, Canadian Opera star of the 19th century. From the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online.
Gino Quilico: Interview
This "La Scena Musicale" interview focuses on the life and musical career of the acclaimed operatic singer, Gino Quilico.
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.
Jon Vickers in Britten's Peter Grimes
Jon Vickers performs as Peter Grimes in Britten's opera "Peter Grimes." From YouTube.
This 1993 interview with Jon Vickers is from the Metropolitan Opera website.
Royal Opera Canada
The Royal Opera website features news about current programs and multimedia samples of opera performances.
Search for album details, audio and video clips, and special features about your favourite classical performers at the ANALEKTA website.
A R I A S: Canadian Opera Student Development Fund
This site offers the latest news and information about programs developed by A R I A S: Canadian Opera Student Development Fund, a non-profit volunteer organization supporting Canada's opera community and opera singers in training.
The Metropolitan Opera
The website for the magnificent Metropolitan Opera in New York offers opera synopses, current season schedules and a wealth of historical information about past performances and performers. Also features a MET Quiz, online newsletter and information about the American Ballet Theatre and the Ashton Celebration.
Canadian composer Harry Somers dies
A CBC obituary for acclaimed Canadian composer Harry Somers.
History of Opera Performance in Canada
An illustrated history of opera performance in Canada. From the Virtual Gramophone website.
Opera McGill Presents Louis Riel
Notes about a 2005 production of the Canadian opera “Louis Riel.” From the Faculty of Music, McGill University.
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.
Opera Lyra Ottawa
The website for Opera Lyra Ottawa. Check out “Opera 101” and the superb online study guides that feature opera history and terminology, listening strategies, student activities, and much more.
The website for the Vancouver Opera. Features synopses of upcoming opera productions, background information about the opera company, the Vancouver Opera Guild, the Opera Speaks program, and more.
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.
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.
The website for Tapestry, a Canadian opera company that is dedicated to the creation, development, and performance of new opera works.
An informative article about the age-old challenges facing young opera singers in training. From “Tabaret,” the magazine for the University of Ottawa.
Queen of Puddings Music Theatre
The website for Toronto’s Queen of Puddings Music Theatre. Find out more about its distinctively fantastical approach to classical opera, related educational programs, and much more.
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.”
Tosca by way of Texas
Faculty members Dixie Ross-Neill and Bill Neill highlight some of the fundamental goals of operatic training at Opera McGill. From the McGill Reporter.
Browse or search this extensive site for biographies, discographies, and brief audio excerpts from recordings featuring Canadian and international classical composers and performers. Also search for details and audio clips of Canadian orchestras and other classical music groups. Subscription required to access full tracks.
Glossary: Operatic Terms
A glossary of terms associated with opera performance. From the website for the Manitoba Opera.
Rubes paid a price to bring opera to Canada
An article about Jan Rubes' pivotal role in establishing professional opera in Canada. From thestar.com.
Jon Vickers - Parlar non vuoi
View Jon Vickers perform "Parlar non vuoi?" from the opera "Il Trovatore." With Edith Della Pergola. From YouTube.com.
University of Toronto: Opera Division
The website for the illustrious Opera Division at the University of Toronto's Faculty of Music. Features faculty and alumni profiles, events listings, and academic program information.
Who's Afraid of Classical Concerts?
Scroll down to Page 31 for an article about attracting audiences to live performances of classical music. From the scena.org website. A PDF file.
Interview with Adrianne Pieczonka
An interview with Adrianne Pieczonka about her starring role in the San Francsico Opera's production of "Tosca." From the San Francisco Opera channel on YouTube.
This video features an interview with soprano Teresa Stratas and scenes from a rehearsal. From YouTube.
This blog is devoted to the production of Vancouver Opera's "Lillian Alling." Features details about planning the opera, notes about the opera's origins, staff, and performers, and words and music from the opera.
Westben: Rural recitals a vocal luxury for Toronto opera stars
A news story about an appearance by soprano Adrianne Pieczonka, baritone Brett Polegato and others at the 10th anniversary edition of the Westben festival in Campbellford, Ontario. From thestar.com.
The website for Canadian soprano Wendy Nielsen.
The website for Opera Atelier, an internationally renowed company that produces opera, ballet, and drama from the 17th and 18th centuries. Check out "Baroque Opera Explained" for an introduction to this music genre.
International Resource Centre For Performing Artists
Check out the International Resource Centre For Performing Artists for the latest news and programs from this innovative cultural organization.
Interview with Marc Hervieux and John Fanning
Watch a video clip in which Canadian opera stars Marc Hervieux and John Fanning discuss their two roles, the tragic clown in Pagliacci, and the hilarious trickster in Gianni Schicchi. From YouTube.
La fleur que tu m'avais jetée
A video clip featuring Jon Vickers performing "La fleur que tu m'avais jetée" (Flower song) from Georges Bizet's "Carmen". From YouTube.
Layla Claire shines bright at the Aix Festival
A news story about an appearance of Canadian soprano Layla Clair at the Aix festival in France. From thestar.com.
The website for internationally renowned soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian. Listen to audio clips from selected recordings. Also, click on "Press" for links to related reviews and interviews.
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...