It’s the logical follow up to Alexander Neef’s speech on the opening night of The Marriage of Figaro run. The COC has announced the creation of Opera Access for New Canadians, a community outreach and engagement initiative. It will offer newcomers to Canada, including immigrants and refugees, and new Canadian citizens access to dress rehearsals and selected performances. The first phase begins this spring with the COC joining the Institute for Canadian Citizenship’s Cultural Access Pass (CAP) program, which offers new Canadian citizens one year of complimentary admission to more than 1,200 cultural attractions across the country. (There are 1,200 cultural attractions in Canada, who knew?)
The ICC will work with the COC to allocate and distribute dress rehearsal tickets to its CAP membership. A maximum of 40 free tickets will be set aside to every COC dress rehearsal as part of the opera company’s enrollment in the ICC’s CAP program. The first COC productions to be accessed through the opera company’s involvement in CAP will be Carmen and Maometto II, at the Four Seasons Centre in April and May 2016. There’s more on the CAP program at http://www.icc-icc.ca.
I think this is great. It’s vital that the Toronto scene should reflect the diversity of this incredible multiracial, multicultural city and not be stuck in a world where everyone went to Upper Canada College and has a cottage in the Muskokas. It’s also a terrific way of giving back to the community and, as Alexander said in his speech, embracing Canadian values of tolerance and inclusiveness in a world and, at times, a city where they sometimes seem to be at a premium.
Photo credit: Rebecca Davies