Tag Archives: Four Seasons Centre

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.

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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

Canadian Opera Company’s on the radio–big-time

The Canadian Opera Company will broadcast its entire 2010/2011 mainstage season across Canada in conjunction with broadcast partner CBC Radio 2. For the second year in a row, all mainstage operas will be aired nationally on CBC Radio 2 and on Radio-Canada’s Espace Musique over the course of the season. The company’s season can now be heard coast to coast as well as internationally via CBC Radio 2’s, Radio-Canada’s, and the COC’s websites.

Benjamin Britten’s Death in Venice will air on Saturday, December 11, 2010, on “Saturday Afternoon at the Opera” hosted by Bill Richardson,from 1 – 5 p.m. EST (2 – 6 AT; 2:30 – 6:30 NT). Air dates for Espace Musique will be confirmed.

Future broadcast dates, including Mozart’s The Magic Flute, John Adams’ Nixon in China, Rossini’s La Cenerentola, Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos, and Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, will also be confirmed.

The complete season of operas from the 2010/2011 season will be available for internet streaming through CBC Radio 2’s Concerts on Demand, cbc.ca/radio2, and Espace Musique, radio-canada.ca/espace_musique, with select operas available on the COC website, coc.ca, for a period of 12 months after the initial streaming date.

In addition repeat broadcasts of the COC’s last season include November 6, 2010 for Maria Stuarda; November 13, 2010 for The Flying Dutchman; November 20, 2010 for Carmen; and November 27, 2010 for Otello. Last season’s broadcasts marked the first time the COC’s complete season aired on the radio in its entirety in almost 20 years.

Many of them can be live-streamed directly from the COC website as audio productions. Do visit  the COC’s websites for lots of goodies, including a video montage of scenes from the COC’s Death in Venice.

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how about COC’s indie pop & opera mashup!

Indie darlings Broken Social Scene and members of the Canadian Opera Company (COC’s) Ensemble Studio are combining forces for a truly special special event, Operanation VII, Cinderella: Rock the Ball. Operanation takes place at the beautiful Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts on October  29.  So, pack your sedans and head to Toronto, one of the most vital opera meccas in North America.

The theme of this event is inspired by the opera La Cenerentola, the Cinderella story as written by Rossini. It includes a special (sold-out) VIP dinner before the party. Tickets are $150.

The evening’s performances will include triple-threat Clara Venice, Canadian artist who is an electric violinist, theraminist, and vocalist, who will give a special performance when the clock strikes midnight. Her style has been described as “electro-pop-meets-cabaret-show,” and she’s planning a special genre-bending performance. She’s keeping some of the details of her midnight performance under wraps: “I’ve created something extra-special and never-yet-performed, so expect a few surprises.”

We also have it on good authority that the audience is in for another surprise–that there will be two drag queens playing the roles of the “ugly stepsisters.”

Parlando, the COC Blog, has Q&As with Ambur Braid and Wallis Giunta, who will sing with Broken Social Scene, as well as a behind-the-scenes perspective from Barney Bayliss on preparing the Four Seasons Centre for the party and a primer on the work of Clara Venice.

Fashion designers and jewelers dressing the artists include Evan Biddell, Farley Chatto, McCaffrey Haute Couture, and Myles Mindham. The cocktails and appetizers will be provided by Rose Reisman Catering.

Does this sound like a can’t miss event or what? Canadian Opera Company, stop back with pix from this fabulous fall event that we know without a doubt is going to Rock the Party.


Filed under 21st Century Opera, Benefit, North American Opera, Opera Marketing