Canadian Opera Company General Director Alexander Neef has signed a new contract to stay with the company through 2021. This is very good news indeed. Neef has shown a canny ability to programme imaginatively varied programmes while keeping the house full, mostly through carefully balancing the number of performances between the more adventurous repertoire and one or two “bums on seats” shows per season. Aided by the company having moved to the technically and acoustically excellent Four Seasons Centre he has also done a great job of making the COC a company that the best singers, conductors and directors want to come to(*). That’s a problem none of his predecessors managed to crack. It’s no idle boast now when COC describes itself as “home to the best”. I feel confident that we can now look forward to another eight years of varied, high quality opera at COC.
* Confirmed to me by Larry Brownlee but to be honest the line up in the last couple of years and going forward speaks for itself. Brownlee, Graham, Archibald, Radvanovsky, Pieczonka, Braun, Schade. Hereros-Casada, Sir Andrew Davis. Carsens, the Aldens, Sellars, Malfitano, Albery. Such a change from ten years ago!