The actual, for real, COC 2018/19 season

chemistexplaThis just in:

The fall season will open with Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin in the Carsen production as predicted yesterday.  The (pleasant) surprise is that Gordon Bintner will sing the title role.  Joyce El-Khoury sings Tatiana and Joseph Kaiser is Lensky.  Johannes Debus conducts.

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Maometto Secondo – really

Just back from a second look at the COC’s production of Rossini’s Maometto II.  This time I was sitting on the orchestra level and a bit closer which helps with this production.  Basic impressions remain the same as opening night; great singing, visually spectacular, but I did have some additional, and related, thoughts about both the libretto and the production.

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Maometto II

Rossini’s rarely performed opera seria Maometto II opened at the Four Seasons Centre last night in a production by David Alden and with substantially the same cast as when it played in Santa Fe on 2012.  This is the restored Maometto in the edition prepared by Hans Schellevis in an attempt to get as close to Rossini’s initial Naples score as possible.  So, no happy ending and all the complexity of Rossini’s original design.

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Pyramus and Thisbe – a world premiere

The new COC creation Pyramus and Thisbe with music by Monteverdi and Barbara Monk Feldman opened last night at the Four Seasons Centre.  I was expecting abstract and cerebral, which it is, but I was rather expecting that I might admire it more than enjoy it.  As it turned out it was a remarkably satisfying show on many levels.

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Pyramus and Thisbe

The COC’s first main stage production of a contemporary Canadian work in over fifteen years; Barbara Monk Feldman’s Pyramus and Thisbe, is now in the early stages of rehearsal and, yesterday, some of us got a bit of a preview by way of a working rehearsal.  What seems to be happening here is that the COC is creating a show of a kind that has not previously been seen on the Four Seasons stage and will shake up a lot of preconceptions of what a company like COC can offer.

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Canadian Opera Company announces rather more than just the 2015/16 season

Last night was the “event” at which the COC brass and guests, with a bit of help from Brent Bambury, announced the upcoming season to a packed house of subscribers and friends.  What struck me was how much news was packed in.  It was far more than the usual schedule presentation with announcements of several major new projects.  But first the season.   Continue reading

Why productions succeed in one place but not another?

12-13-02-b-MC-D-3024In an age of co-productions many opera productions are seen in multiple houses.  Some of them we get to see in multiple guises.  For example I’ve seen Tcherniakov’s Don Giovanni on DVD and will be seeing it live later this season in Toronto.  Spmething that’s been fermenting in my brain for a while now is why the same production can get a drastically different reception in different places.  The piece that first made me think about this was Chris Alden’s Die Fledermaus.  This was generally well received in Toronto (more perhaps by my friends and acquaintances than the print media but that’s par for the course) but universally panned in London when it played at ENO.  Bryan’s interesting comments about the Carsen Falstaff kicked off the train of thought again and made me want to put some tentative thoughts into writing.

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