The Canadian Opera Company Announces 2020/2021 Season!
For the first time in decades, a fully staged production of Richard Wagner's Parsifal will be presented in Canada, opening the Canadian Opera Company's monumental 2020/2021 season with a company premiere at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. Cast with more than 100 singers, an orchestra of 110 musicians, and a nearly six-hour run-time, this journey of one knight's quest for the Holy Grail offers Canadian audiences a rare opportunity to experience Wagner's thrilling final masterpiece in Toronto, in a celebrated COC co-production directed by François Girard.
"Mounting the first Parsifal in Canadian Opera Company history has been a journey all its own," says COC General Director Alexander Neef. "To stage a production of this magnitude, dreamed into reality by the creative giants of our industry, says so much about the strength of Canadian opera. Parsifal was a goal that we set as a community of opera lovers and it brings me immense pride to know that what we've accomplished already is a direct result of the overwhelming and continued support of our passionate supporters."
In a remarkable display of community support, hundreds of donors from all across Canada have already stepped forward to help bring Parsifal to the COC mainstage through the company's Monumental fundraising campaign. Individuals can still play a part in bringing this landmark production to Canadian audiences, and enjoy special perks and behind-the-scenes opportunities to enhance the historic experience. Full details can be found at coc.ca/Monumental.
Parsifal anchors a season that moves from sweeping legends to deeply personal stories. In the fall, it is paired with The Marriage of Figaro by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, a subversive comedy where servants topple their masters and women prove wiser than the men around them. The winter spotlights two heroines who live by their own rules: Carmen by Georges Bizet, one of the most popular operas ever composed, and Katya Kabanova by Leoš Janáček, a rarely performed 20th-century masterpiece that hasn't been seen at the COC in nearly 30 years. In the spring, audiences are transported from glittering Paris to the shadows of the underworld, with La Traviata by Giuseppe Verdi, featuring a cast headlined by Sondra Radvanovsky and Vanessa Vasquez, followed by a critically acclaimed production of Christoph Willibald Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice.
For COC General Director Alexander Neef, his final season with the company represents a full spectrum of human experience. "In curating this milestone season, we wanted audiences - whether they are joining us for the first time or as one of our regular subscribers - to come away from each performance as though they have completed a journey of their own," says Neef. "Our 20/21 operas portray blissful highs and heart-plummeting anguish; they dive into and explore epic and intimate dimensions - sometimes all in the course of a single night."
The COC welcomes back a number of internationally renowned artists to the Four Seasons Centre next season: Sondra Radvanovsky as Violetta Valéry and Joseph Calleja as Alfredo Germont in La Traviata; Russell Braun and Emily D'Angelo as the Count and Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro, with Josef Wagner reprising the role of Figaro; Michael Fabiano as Don José and Joyce El-Khoury as Micaëla in Carmen; Alain Coulombe as Zuniga in Carmen and Dikoy in Katya Kabanova; Susan Bullock as Kabanikha and Cecelia Hall as Varvara in Katya Kabanova; and Johan Reuter as Amfortas with David Leigh as Gurnemanz and Titurel, in Parsifal. Directors David Alden, Arin Arbus, Robert Carsen, and Joel Ivany also bring their creative talents back to the helm of upcoming COC productions.
20/21 also marks the COC mainstage debuts of: Christopher Ventris as Parsifal, Tanja Ariane Baumgartner as Kundry, and Mika Kares as Gurnemanz in Parsifal; Louise Alder as Susanna and Johanni van Oostrum as the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro; J'nai Bridges as Carmen and Adam Palka as Escamillo in Carmen; Richard Trey Smagur as Tikhon, Amanda Majeski as Katya; Artur Ruciński as Giorgio Germont in La Traviata; and Iestyn Davies as Orfeo in Orfeo ed Euridice.
The COC is also deepening its commitment to new and young audiences in 20/21 with the launch of Vox, a membership program for patrons aged 19-40. Vox is a way for members to connect with other arts-lovers in the city, offering a flexible, à la carte opera experience that includes behind-the-scenes access and invitations to exclusive post-performance parties with fellow members. Membership begins at $10/month, with details at coc.ca/Vox.