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The Canadian Opera Company’s 2019-2020 Season

I. Theorin as Turandot in Madrid (© Javier del Real)

The Canadian Opera Company has resumed its gala season reveal, with an hour-long selection of musical numbers to accompany the announcement of the 2019-2020 season. The presentation opened with the overture to Il barbiere di Siviglia, thus giving a hint as to what is in store.

The season will open in September with Robert Wilson’s production of Turandot, an opera last presented by the COC in 2004. There is double casting for the nine performances: Tamara Wilson and Marjorie Owens in the title role; Sergey Skorokhodov and Kamen Chanev as Calaf; and Joyce El-Khoury and Vanessa Vasquez as Liu. Carlo Rizzi will conduct. This production was performed in Madrid in November and will be presented in Vilnius before its trans-Atlantic voyage. It will also be seen in Houston. Ensemble Studio member Lauren Margison then gave a fine account of Liù’s aria, “Signor, ascolta.”

Also in the fall season we will see Dvorák’s Rusalka in David McVicar’s production from the Lyric Opera of Chicago, with Sondra Radvanovsky in the title role. Pavel Cernoch will be The Prince, Elena Manistina, Jezibaba, and Keri Alkema the Foreign Princess. Johannes Debus will conduct. The opera was last presented here in 2009. Ensemble Studio member Lauren Eberwein then sang Rusalka’s “Song to the Moon.”

January will see a return of Joan Font’s production of Il barbiere di Siviglia, a widely-travelled production last seen here in 2015. Vito Priante will be Figaro, Emily D’Angelo will sing Rosina, and Santiago Bellerini, Almaviva. Speranza Scappucci will conduct. Russell Braun and Ms D’Angelo then gave a lively account of the duet “Dunque io son...”.

Barbiere will run in tandem with Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel, with Emily Fons as Hänsel, Simone Osborne as Gretel, and Michael Colvin as The Witch. (He is sure to make that memorable.) Joel Ivany will direct, and Maestro Debus will conduct. Ensemble Studio members Simone McIntosh and Anna-Sophie Neher then sang the ever-enchanting “Evening Prayer”.

The Spring season will see the return of two productions, the first being Tim Albery’s present-day setting of Aida, last seen in 2010. Tamara Wilson will sing the title role, with Russell Thomas as Radamès, Clémentine Margaine as Amneris, and Roland Wood as Amonasro. Jader Bignamini will conduct. The orchestra then played the dances from the Triumphal Scene.

Concluding the season will be Christopher Alden’s intense production of Der fliegende Holländer, returning for the fourth time, last seen in 2010. Johannes Debus will conduct, with Vitalij Kowaljow in the title role, Marjorie Owens as Senta, and Michael Schade as Erik. Owen McCausland then performed the Steersman’s song “Mit Gewitter und Sturm aus fernem Meer.”

The main aim of the evening is to get subscribers to renew their subscriptions and, with reception both before and after the presentation, I am sure it succeeds very well. Full information can be found on the COC website.

Michael Johnson



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