Tag Archives: Toronto

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

COC nabs three Dora Awards

The Canadian Opera Company (COC) swept the Opera Division Monday evening during the The Dora Mavor Moore Awards, an annual ceremony honoring the best in Toronto Theatre. All totaled, the COC won three awards that evening:

  • Orfeo ed Euridice, directed by the Toronto-born Robert Carsen, won the award for Outstanding Production (Opera Division).
  • Alan Oke, front, as Gustav von Aschenbach

    Alan Oke, who played Gustav von Aschenbach in October 2010’s Death in Venice, won the award for Outstanding Performance (Opera Division).

“Scottish tenor Alan Oke sang the role superbly, with a flexible lyrical sound, wonderful pitch and clear words, conveying all of Aschenbach’s tortured speculations and desires within the very specific reaches of Britten’s melodic limning of his character.”Globe and Mail
  • Harry Bicket, who conducted Orfeo ed Euridice, won the award for Outstanding Musical Direction (General Theatre Division).

Hearty congratulations to everyone at the COC on their successful season.

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Filed under 21st Century Opera, Baroque Opera, Modern opera, North American Opera, Opera Awards

Opera Atelier offers new Don G, partners with Glimmerglass in 2011-12

Don Giovanni is designed by OA’s award-winning design team of Gerard Gauci and Martha Mann.

Toronto is going to be one hot spot for opera in 2011-12.  

Opera Atelier, Canada’s premier baroque opera/ballet company,opens its 2011-12 season with a period production of Don Giovanni and features Canadian baritone Phillip Addis (the Count in OA’s 2010 production of The Marriage of Figaro) as the rakish Don.  The production also features soprano Carla Huhtanen (Zerlina), baritone Vasil Garvanliev (Leporello), soprano Peggy Kriha Dye (Donna Elvira), soprano Meghan Lindsay (Donna Anna), baritone Curtis Sullivan (Masetto/Commendatore), tenor Lawrence Wiliford (Don Ottavio) and the full corps of the Artists of Atelier Ballet.
Italian conductor Stefano Montanari makes his Opera Atelier debut conducting Tafelmusik Orchestra.  Don Giovanni will be directed and choreographed by OA’s Co-Artistic Directors Marshall Pynkoski and Jeannette Lajeunesse Zingg respectively. 
Don Giovanni runs October 29, 30, November 1, 2, 4 and 5, 2011.
For the first time in the company’s history, Opera Atelier will embark on a co-production with The Glimmerglass Festival. OA’s acclaimed production of Jean-Baptiste Lully’s Armide will first be produced in Toronto prior to making its debut at North America’s most prestigious opera festival.   

In collaboration with Glimmerglass, Armide will be the most lavish production in OA's history

In Lully’s Armide – the operatic masterpiece of the 17th century – Muslim and Christian worlds collide. Christian knight Renaud and the Muslim warrior princess Armide play out their doomed love affair against a backdrop of hopeless obsession, jealousy and magic.
“Glimmerglass has long had an association with baroque music, especially Handel and the Italian repertoire, but I wanted to present a French baroque work to our audiences,” said Francesca Zambello, Glimmerglass Festival Artistic & General Director. “To produce Armide properly, we would need collaborators who could bring us the right style, as well as an eye to historical craft. I thought [Opera Atelier] would be an ideal producing partner.”
According to OA Co-Artistic Director Marshall Pynkoski, “Armide is a seamless melding of opera and ballet into a unique form of storytelling. As such, it promises to be the perfect showcase for Opera Atelier’s Glimmerglass debut.”
Armide will star soprano Peggy Kriha Dye in the title role, tenor Colin Ainsworth as the Christian knight Renaud, and bass João Fernandes as Hidraot, with the full corps of Artists of Atelier Ballet. Opera Atelier’s Music Director David Fallis conducts the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir.
 Armide runs in Toronto in April 14, 15, 17, 18, 20 and 21, 2012 and at The Glimmerglass Festival July and August 2012.
 Performances for Opera Atelier’s 2011-12 Season will take place at the Elgin Theatre (189 Yonge Street) in Toronto with evening performances at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday matinee performances at 3:00 p.m.  Subscriptions start at $90 and are on sale now by calling 416-703-3767 ext. 222. Single tickets for Don Giovanni go on sale on August 2, 2011.  For more information visit www.operaatelier.com.

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Filed under Classic Opera, North American Opera

COC unveils 2011-2012 line-up, and the byword is wow!

Love from Afar. Phillip Addis (right, on swing) as Jaufré Rudel and Rachel Harnisch (below) as Clémence in the Vlaamse Opera production, 2010

The Canadian Opera Company’s 2011-12 season is its most innovative yet, featuring seven productions spanning centuries of opera:  one double bill, no fewer than four COC premieres – two being performed for the first time in Canada – and three new productions.  

Besides showcasing freshly conceived productions such as the the 21st-century opera Love from Afar by Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho, which incorporates Cirque du Soleil style elements, they continue to attract the foremost Canadian and international opera singers, conductors, and designers to Toronto. 

Other Canadian premieres include the 20th-century opera A Florentine Tragedy, by Alexander Zemlinsky. Gluck’s Iphigenia in Tauris will see its COC premiere as will Semele, the first Handel opera to be performed at the Four Seasons Centre, in a staging that features an actual Ming Dynasty ancestral temple. If that’s not ambitious enough, they will introduce a new production of RigolettoGianni Schicchi, The Tales of Hoffmann, and the operatic potboiler Tosca round out the rest of the season. 

From the COC's 2008 production of Tosca. Photo: Michael Cooper

“The Canadian Opera Company’s job – the job of any opera company – is to find the best way to express the essential truths that lie at the heart of every opera,” says COC General Director Alexander Neef.  “It’s going to be very exciting to watch the work of the artists we’re bringing to the COC unfold on our stage, especially when they are matched with equally thrilling productions. The COC has always been defined by its big achievements, and the coming season will see us explore repertoire we haven’t touched before.” 

And if all that newness wasn’t enough, they introduced a brand-spanking new logo, too. 

A scene from the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie production of Semele, 2009, featuring a Ming Dynasty temple.

Based in Toronto, the Canadian Opera Company is the largest producer of opera in Canada and one of the five largest in North America.  Sold-out houses have been the norm since the Four Seasons Centre opened in 2006. For more complete casting and creative team information, please see the Show Pages at coc.ca.


Filed under 20th Century Opera, 21st Century Opera, Classic Opera, North American Opera, Premieres

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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