Inspired by this post at Likely Impossibilities on the Met’s 2015/16 season I thought I’d take a look at how the COC compared. Now, one season at COC wouldn’t provide much in the way of stats so I’ve looked at the eight seasons from 2008/9 to 2015/16. (In all the numbers each work in a double bill has been counted as 0.5).
Productions by composer
Verdi unsurprisingly tops the COC list with 15% (Met 17%) closely followed by Puccini (10%) and Mozart (13%) but Puccini is nowhere near as heavily represented as at the Met (21%) and Donizetti only scores 5% versus a whopping 21% in New York. Throw in Rossini and the “big 4” Italians account for 68% of productions in New York versus 36% in Toronto. I didn’t do a full analysis of the percentage of performances because I didn’t have all the data but Verdi, Puccini, Rossini and Mozart tend to get more performances per production so, as in New York, production percentages somewhat understate their position.
Productions by era
The 19th century looms large in every opera house and if one extends it to include works up to the death of Puccini (the long 19th century) it looms even larger. At the Met only 8% of productions predate 1800 and, equally, 8% postdate 1925. By contrast the respective COC numbers are 21% and 18%. The post Puccini number at COC will of course be on the up with all the various new commissions in the works.
Productions by language
The Met is very much an Italian house. 74% of performances are in Italian compared to 50% of productions in Toronto. That number probably somewhat understates the percentage of performances but it would still be well below 74%. Curiously the 9% of English language works at the Met are translations whereas the 12% in Toronto represent works originally written/performed in English. German is, given who is making the decisions, not as prominent as one might expect in Toronto but it’s still well up on the Met’s 12%.
The Met seems very, very stuck in a rut of Italian 19th century rep by a handful of composers. They aren’t alone. I strongly suspect if I did an aggregate analysis for Canadian or US regional companies (SFO and Houston aside perhaps) I’d see something similar or worse. For all my occasional (really!) grumbling about the conservatism of the COC’s programming it really does seem like we are being offered a significantly more varied diet than the patrons at the Met.