Canadian Opera Company's Ensemble Studio to Present La clemenza di Tito, 2/3-22

Canadian Opera Company's Ensemble Studio to Present La clemenza di Tito, 2/3-22

The young artists of the Canadian Opera Company's Ensemble Studio take to the mainstage for their own performance of Mozart's final opera, La clemenza di Tito, on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 7:30 p.m. at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. This special performance of a production described as "modern music theater you mustn't miss" (Chicago Tribune) is a rare showcase of these young singers' talent and an important step in their careers as they develop into the next generation of Canadian opera stars. All tickets to the February 6 performance are affordably priced at only $25 or $55. La clemenza di Tito is sung in Italian with English SURTITLES.

The Ensemble Studio artists perform under the direction of the same artistic team as the mainstage cast, including visionary American director Christopher Alden and young Israeli conductor Daniel Cohen leading the full COC Orchestra and Chorus. Members of the Ensemble Studio frequently appear in smaller roles or understudy leading roles in COC mainstage productions. This special performance of La clemenza di Tito is an exciting opportunity for audiences to see these young Canadian artists featured in principal roles.

Written in the last year of Mozart's life and considered to be one of his masterpieces, La clemenza di Tito depicts the attempted assassination of Roman Emperor Tito, and his subsequent choice to forgive rather than punish the two conspirators, Vitellia and Sesto. Composed in honour of the 1791 coronation of Emperor Leopold II as King of Bohemia, Mozart's sublimely beautiful score showcases his sophisticated understanding of human nature. La clemenza di Tito delivers the kind of emotional immediacy that only great art possesses, and depicts its complex characters with both realism and powerful drama.

Sharing the title role of the benevolent, forgiving Tito are two young tenors: Christopher Enns and Owen McCausland. Manitoba-born Enns, a third-year member of the Ensemble, has appeared in several mainstage productions with the COC, including The Tales of Hoffmann (2012) and Ariadne auf Naxos (2011), and was praised for his "large, expressive voice" (NOW) in the 2010 Ensemble Studio performance of The Magic Flute. New Brunswick's McCausland, a Dalhousie University graduate and first-year member of the Ensemble, was recently seen as the Messenger in the COC's fall 2012 production of Il Trovatore and has been praised for his "impressively ringing tone" (La Scena Musicale).

This fall, soprano Ambur Braid was a hit as the "sexy, sparky, sensational" (Toronto Star) Adele in the COC's production of Die Fledermaus. She brings her three years of Ensemble experience to her last mainstage performance as a member of the Ensemble Studio, the challenging role of the scheming Vitellia. Mezzo-soprano Rihab Chaieb, praised for her performance as the "deliciously evil Ino" (Opera) in the 2011 Ensemble Studio performance of Semele and her ability to "[command] the stage with authority" (La Scena Musicale), returns to the mainstage as Vitellia's lovesick co-conspirator, Sesto.

In her COC mainstage debut, soprano Sasha Djihanian, first-year Ensemble Studio member and first-place winner of the 2011 Ensemble Studio Competition, portrays Tito's loyal friend Annio. Fellow Ensemble newcomer soprano Claire de Sévigné, last seen as Ida in Die Fledermaus, sings the role of Servilia, Annio's lover. Rounding out the cast as captain of the guard Publio is bass-baritone Neil Craighead, who is in his final season with the Ensemble Studio and was previously seen in the COC's productions of Tosca (2012), Rigoletto (2011) and Idomeneo (2010).

In addition to the special Ensemble Studio cast production of La clemenza di Tito on February 6, there are eight performances of the La clemenza di Tito mainstage production running from February 3 - 22, 2013 at the
Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. This is a production from Chicago Opera Theater, with costume design by Terese Wadden, set design by Andrew Cavanaugh Holland and lighting design by Gary Marder.