Canadian Opera Company Orchestra Featured in Special Engagements at 21C Music Festival

Canadian Opera Company Orchestra Featured in Special Engagements at 21C Music Festival

Canadian Opera Company Music Director Johannes Debus and the internationally acclaimed COC Orchestra step out of the orchestra pit of the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts to launch the "Canadian edition" of the 21C Music Festival, performing the opening concert on May 24, 2017 at Toronto's Royal Conservatory of Music at Koerner Hall. This is the first of two engagements with COC artists at the 21C Music Festival.

The May 24 concert features Debus conducting the COC Orchestra, alongside COC Ensemble Studio mezzo-soprano Emily D'Angelo, COC Ensemble Studio graduate tenor Andrew Haji, and the Elmer Iseler Singers with conductor and Artistic Director Lydia Adams. The program includes two pieces by the festival's Artistic Advisor, Brian Current: his The Seven Heavenly Halls will receive its Ontario premiere and Naka (Northern Lights) its world premiere. The two works are part of a massive six-movement work, entitled River of Light,which traces creation myths from six different cultures. The Seven Heavenly Halls is centred on Judaic traditions and Naka on Dene traditions from the Northwest Territories. Also on the program are South Korean composer Unsuk Chin's snagS&Snarls andCanadian composer Samy Moussa's Kammerkonzert, plus the Canadian premiere of Matthew Aucoin's The Orphic Moment. Naka is commissioned by The Royal Conservatory/Koerner Hall and generously supported by Kris Vikmanis and Denny Creighton. The Seven Heavenly Halls was commissioned by The Azrieli Foundation.

The following night, on May 25, the Canadian Art Song Project (CASP) brings works by three Canadian composers: Andrew Staniland's Peter Quince at the Clavier (Ontario premiere), Lloyd Burritt's Moth Poem (Ontario premiere), and Ana Sokolovi?'s Dawn Always Begins in the Bones, CASP's new commission to celebrate Canada 150. The all-Canadian cast is comprised of COC Ensemble Studio members: Danika Lorèn (soprano), Emily D'Angelo (mezzo-soprano), Aaron Sheppard (tenor) and Bruno Roy (baritone), with COC Ensemble Studio graduate Iain MacNeil (baritone), and Mélisande Sinsoulier (piano), as well as the Head of the COC Ensemble Studio, pianist Liz Upchurch.

The COC Ensemble Studio, underwritten in part by Peter M. Deeb, Marjorie and Roy Linden, RBC Foundation and The Slaight Family Foundation, is Canada's premier training program for young opera professionals and provides advanced instruction, hands-on experience, and career development opportunities. The Ensemble Studio is also supported by the Government of Canada, the Hal Jackman Foundation and other generous donors.

Based in Toronto, the Canadian Opera Company is the largest producer of opera in Canada and one of the largest in North America. Under its leadership team of General Director Alexander Neef and Music Director Johannes Debus, the COC is increasingly capturing the opera world's attention. The COC maintains its international reputation for artistic excellence and creative innovation by creating new productions within its diverse repertoire, collaborating with leading opera companies and festivals, and attracting the world's foremost Canadian and International Artists. The COC performs in its own opera house, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, hailed internationally as one of the finest in the world. Designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects, the Four Seasons Centre opened in 2006. For more information on the COC, visit

The 21C Music Festival is presented by The Royal Conservatory of Music, and all festival concerts take place at The Royal Conservatory's TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning (273 Bloor Street West, Toronto). Tickets are available online at , by calling 416-408-0208, or in person at the Weston Family Box Office.

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