Tag Archives: Canadian Opera Company

bravo, COC: a blue-ribbon, 21st-century opera organization

Earlier this week, the Canadian Opera Company (COC) announced their 2012-13 season. In case you missed the slate of productions on tap, here’s the slick YouTube video they released on the announcement:

It’s a clean, fresh, energetic video–informative, too. I love all the personalities sharing with you in the video, as well. Everyone comes off as interesting and approachable, someone you’d love to sit down and have coffee and a good chat with.

The season is impressive–balanced. Watch the video and see for yourself.

But what I am most impressed with is their savvy use of smart technology to make their season announcement accessible and fun for fans. I give them a blue-ribbon for being a digital leader in every regard as North American opera companies go.

For instance, the news conference was broadcast via USTREAM, so anyone, anywhere in the world could watch and share in the event. How inclusive and wonderful!

Last February, I had a wonderful time in attendance at the Metropolitan Opera’s news conference to announce their 2011-12 season. And they had done a magnificent job– wonderful videos and photography, great remarks by Gelb and Levine, but only about 150 people could really experience that splendid event as we lucky few had. I wish more people could have seen and heard what I did. I told everyone I knew about it. By contrast, in using USTREAM to broadcast their news conference, Canadian Opera is welcoming the world to their announcement and made us all feel like fortunate insiders.

Also, during the USTREAM broadcast, the COC tweeted each new production and significant details as they were being announced. It was addictive. I was at work and needed to move off Twitter and onto something work-related but found it very hard to pull myself away. Masterful use of technology to engage anyone interested in opera and opera performance.

In the past, I have also participated in live chats during the intermissions of radio broadcasts. During the last one I took part it, Sondra Radvanovsky was answering questions to anyone registered to chat.  Did that make an impression on me? You bet it did. I felt privileged to have that opportunity to talk with the world’s reigning Verdi soprano.

The COC also has a blog and Alexander Neef, the general director, blogs, too. I just can’t say enough good things about Neef. He hails from Germany and has brought a level of sophistication (the whole ethos of German engineering isn’t far off the mark) with him that has infused the company, its hallmarks being innovation, high-quality, and forward-looking ideas that are implemented.

According to their website the Toronto-based COC  is “the largest producer of opera in Canada and the sixth largest in North America.”  Other companies, Lyric Opera in Chicago, for instance, and the Met, of course, are making performances available through live radio streams, all of which are fantastic.

Let’s see more coordinated use of technology to include operagoers, à la COC.

Comments Off on bravo, COC: a blue-ribbon, 21st-century opera organization

Filed under 21st Century Opera, Audience participation, North American Opera, opera and technology, Opera Marketing, Video

Comments Off on

Filed under 21st Century Opera, Classic Opera, North American Opera, opera news

COC’s audition for young artists now welcomes an audience

Sasha Djihanian, soprano, from Montreal, QC

For the first time in the history of the Canadian Opera Company, the final auditions for singers seeking to join the Ensemble Studio training program will be made public as a vocal competition.  In addition to an offer of a coveted position in the 2012/2013 Ensemble Studio, the singers will be competing for one of four cash prizes.

More on each of the ten finalists, all of whom hail from Canada, is available at the COC website.

Over the course of the two-hour competition, each finalist will perform two arias showcasing their vocal technique and range.  The judging panel will deliberate on site and announce the competition winners at the conclusion of the evening’s event.

A limited number of tickets priced at $30 are now on sale for the COC Ensemble Studio Competition, which takes place on Nov. 28, 2011 at 5:30 p.m. in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.

Cameron McPhail, baritone, from Brandon, MB

Select finalists will be invited to join the 12/13 Ensemble Studio, with the number of offers to be determined by the judging panel.  First, second and third prizes, worth $5,000,$3,000, and $1,500, respectively, will be awarded, in addition to a People’s Choice Award, selected by audience vote, worth $1,500.

Comments Off on COC’s audition for young artists now welcomes an audience

Filed under Contests, North American Opera, Uncategorized, young artists programs

Toronto-based COC presents Alden’s updated ‘Rigoletto’

costume concepts for The Duke

Director Christopher Alden, who staged the Canadian Opera Company’s (COC) highly acclaimed production of The Flying Dutchman, brings his singular vision to Rigoletto at the COC.

Recast in Verdi’s own era (Rigoletto was composed in 1851), Alden’s staging unfolds within the rich, ribald surroundings of a 19th-century gentleman’s club while exploring the patriarchal world in which powerful men are given free rein.

It is a new co-production with English National Opera, based on the 2000 Lyric Opera of Chicago production directed by Christopher Alden and designed by Michael Levine and will feature rising opera stars as well as established voices from the operatic world.

Quinn Kelsey

Hawaiian baritone Quinn Kelsey makes his COC debut as Rigoletto. Kelsey shares the role with notable Verdi baritone Lester Lynch (2001’s Billy Budd).

Young Russian soprano Ekaterina Sadovnikova makes her COC debut as Rigoletto’s doomed daughter Gilda, a role she recently sang at Royal Opera House Covent Garden. Sadovnikova shares the role of Gilda with COC Ensemble soprano Simone Osborne, a rising Canadian star who sang last winter with her Pamina in the COC’s The Magic Flute.

Sharing the role of the dashing but debauched Duke of Mantua are two of the most exciting and promising young artists on the horizon today: American tenor Dimitri Pittas, who has been compared in look and sound to a young Plácido Domingo; and Mexican tenor David Lomelí, a first-prize winner of Domingo’s world opera competition Operalia, who recently wowed Santa Fe audiences as Rodolfo in La bohème.

Canadian bass Phillip Ens (2010’s Aida) returns as the assassin Sparafucile. Young American mezzo-soprano Kendall Gladen makes her company debut as Sparafucile’s sister Maddalena.

COC Music Director Johannes Debus conducts.

This Rigoletto is  Rigoletto was last performed by the COC in 2004.

Sung in Italian with English SURTITLES™, Rigoletto runs for 12 performances at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts on Sept. 29, 30 and Oct. 2, 5, 8, 13, 14, 16, 17, 18, 20, 22, 2011.

Comments Off on Toronto-based COC presents Alden’s updated ‘Rigoletto’

Filed under 21st Century Opera, Classic Opera, Classical Composers, North American Opera

do you know Parlando? all about COC’s blog (and blogger!)

All Time Coloratura, aka Cecily Carver

Editor’s note: Opera Bloggers’ Month continues with this retropost featuring Cecily Carver, who blogs for the Canadian Opera Company.

The day I found Cecily Carver’s opera blog All Time Coloratura was a wonderful day. She hosts an extraordinary online resource, a treasure trove, mainly about the Toronto opera scene that offers much more to operagoers everywhere. She writes beautifully and insightfully.  Her content is interesting and relevant no matter which opera venue or venues you frequent.

COC's blog--Parlando!

So, I was delighted to learn that the Canadian Opera Company (COC), the largest producer of opera in Canada and one of the largest in North America, scooped her up as their Social and Interactive Media Coordinator, and as a result introduced a blog– “Parlando.”

The COC has an international reputation for artistic excellence and creative innovation. Tell us more about their blogging endeavors.

Canadian Opera Company's CDN$181 million Four Seasons Centre

The COC actually has multiple blogs. Alexander Neef, the General Director, has been blogging enthusiastically about his activities and travels for well over a year now and has built up a robust readership. There have also been a few blogs with a very specific focus: for the beehives on top of the Four Seasons Centre (the COC’s opera house), the Ensemble Studio (the COC’s young artists program), and the book club for Maria Stuarda this spring – the latter two are no longer on the site, but may be revived when those groups become active again.

Before you became the new Social Media Coordinator for the COC, had they noticed “All-Time Coloratura”?

Starting an additional blog was one of the reasons the company created the position, but by no means the only one. The COC has been getting progressively more involved in social media over the last several years and needed someone to manage and co-ordinate things like twitter, Facebook, blogging and so on. Part of my work will be encouraging people who are involved with the COC either behind-the-scenes or as patrons to contribute material themselves and discuss the COC on their own platforms.

From what I understand, there were many applicants for the position, and having an existing opera blog certainly helped my case. But don’t believe they set out to hire “a blogger” per se.

Tell us a little about how often you’ll be publishing and what readers can expect in terms of content?

Aida at COC

So far I’ve been publishing one item every weekday morning and I hope to maintain a pace of at least three entries per week depending on what’s happening with the company. Right now we’re preparing for our fall run which will include Aida and Death in Venice, as well as a recital with Ben Heppner and some supporting events like Opera 101. So it’s quite a busy time and there’s a lot to write about! I’ll be posting behind-the-scenes “sneak peeks” when possible but also background information, reviews, and so on. Most of the content will center on those events, but there will also be some posts about opera that are not specific to the COC.

Will you be attending most of the events?

The more events I attend, the more material I’ll have to write about (and tweet, and photograph, and so on)! I will be attending as many as possible, with smartphone in hand.

Is the blog primarily to increase numbers at your event or to increase your visibility in the international opera community?

I chose the gondola--how about you?

Those goals are mutually reinforcing, so it’s not one or the other–ideally, it’s both! And the goal that contributes to both of those things is engaging with the community that already exists around the COC–getting to know our audience, getting their feedback, and getting them talking. And while international recognition is desirable, it’s our Canadian audience that’s most important.

Tell us more about Canadian opera.

The COC is actually in the top five largest opera companies in North America, and has very high subscription and attendance rates. The majority of our productions are either sold-out or come very close. And there’s a lot of openness here to less-familiar works: both last season’s The Nightingale and Other Short Fables and War and Peace from the season before generated a huge amount of interest. I’ve been saying for a while that Toronto is an excellent place to be an opera lover – there are several smaller companies besides the COC doing excellent and interesting work here as well, like Opera Atelier, Queen of Puddings, Opera Erratica, and Tapestry New Opera.

If your blog surpasses expectations, what will the blog be like/look like in two years?

COC's 2009 Midsummer Night's Dream by Britten

I think that depends very much on how the blog is received andwhat kind of content people enjoy reading the most, which is something we’ll get a feel for as the blog matures. One thing we’re hoping for is that over time there will be more entries written by people other than myself, both from inside and outside the company.

Did you get to choose the name yourself or was it a group decision?

A little bit of both, actually. I and two other people from the Communications department pulled up chairs in my office and bandied about a bunch of names. Some of the rejected names included “Blopera”, “Operog” “Cosi fan Blog”, and a couple of rather unseemly puns. We settled on the current name after consulting with an Italian-speaker who happened to be walking by at the time, and Parlando (another term for recitative) was born.

* * *

Stop by Parlando and you can see costume sketches for Death in Venice, learn more about Sandra Sondra Radvanovsky, who will be sharing the title role in Aida with Michele Capalbo at the COC this fall, and noob rules for SRO crowds.


Filed under Interviews, North American Opera, opera blogs, Opera Marketing, profiles