Amy Strizic

The Canadian Opera Company designed a playful Winter Season…

  Alexander Franks

All right I’ll be honest. Did every time I describe the show I was seeing tonight, did I use the phrase, “Figaro! Figaro! Figaro!” Yes, I did. For one, it is the one of the most iconic parts of the show so easily quotable and it is impossible to sing it without smiling. Go ahead […]

  Amy Strizic

The Canadian Opera Company has set out a delicious 2019/20 season. I have been excited to see Turandot since last fall when the upcoming season was released. Knowing little about the particulars of storyline, I anticipated seeing Puccini’s work, in particular that glorious piece “Nessun Dorma” with excitement and high expectation. I knew still less […]

  Amy Strizic

The Canadian Opera Company’s production of Otello is passionate, bleak, dramatic, and nearly everything one could want from an opera. Based on Shakespeare’s tempestuous tragedy, it is far from a comedic opera one might imagine with giggling maids, young lovers, and sets dripping with brocade and jewels. The set is modern and stark, a creative […]

Several cast members made their mainstage Canadian Opera Company…

  Dom Harvey

Opera is sustainable when you can enjoy it without fully understanding it or taking it seriously. Few works rely on this more than Così fan tutte, which continues to entertain really-rather-refined audiences who would blanch at its antediluvian gender politics in a modern work. The official title translates as “all [women] do it”, and it’s […]

  Lorenzo Pagnotta

The Canadian Opera Company’s latest production of Elektra opened up recently to warm us right up, piercing through the snow. The Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts was abuzz with folks of all ages. I wondered if this was a result of COC’s efforts to make opera exciting for younger audiences, or many of […]

  Kelly Bedard

A theme you will find in my reviews of Luminato shows is that I tend to feel like the festival is not really for me. I have fairly conventional theatre taste and fairly passive political beliefs (at least among the liberal consensus of my community) so Luminato’s artsy, brazen, avant-garde vibe is really just not […]

The eclectic pairing of a visually ambitious but narratively light 20th century Russian mixed bill directed with theatrical ambition and a rich Italian bel canto full-length narrative with restrained character-focused direction makes for a beautifully balanced spring season for the Canadian Opera Company, a stretch of programming that offers something for everyone no matter why […]

  Kelly Bedard

The Overcoat: a musical tailoring (Canadian Stage with Tapestry Opera & Vancouver Opera) This new opera is a strong achievement for Tapestry- a smallish contemporary opera company that suffers for exposure while staying admirably dedicated to their fresh-feeling operatic ideals (James Rolfe’s score is pretty and the opera is light, modern and distinct in a […]

  Kelly Bedard

The Canadian Opera Company’s current season is an intriguing examination of a problem from two angles. On one hand, they’re presenting their Rigoletto, last seen not-so-long-ago in 2011. It’s an aesthetically sublime, beautifully performed production of an opera with problematic subject matter. There’s also The Abduction from the Seraglio, an aesthetically dull, awkwardly performed production […]

  Kelly Bedard

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (National Theatre presented by Mirvish Productions) I saw the UK’s National Theatre production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time when it played Broadway a few years ago with the incomparable Alex Sharp in the lead role of Christopher, an autistic teenager who […]

  Lisa McKeown

This dance-opera conceived and designed by co-directors Michael Greyeyes and Yvette Nolan and librettist Spy Denommé-Welch investigates the emotional history and contemporary cultural significance of Canada’s residential school system. The production itself is multi-faceted, combining orchestral music, a choir, opera, and modern dance. The story divides into three movements: in the first, the dancers enter […]

  Duncan Derry

The lights go down, the famous crashing motif begins and the curtain immediately flies up to reveal the chapel of a massive Roman church, into which an escaped prisoner appears, searching for refuge. Giacomo Puccini’s famously sensational work cuts through all the introductory formality (no overture!) and instead plunges us straight into the drama, sparing […]

  Kelly Bedard

There are a few refreshing intellectual, social, and theatrical ideas in Peter Hinton‘s new production of Harry Sommers’ 1967 Canadian history opera Louis Riel. The judgemental chorus seated high in a jury box of designer Michael Gianfrancesco’s perfectly measured creation, watching history happen with the cold detachment Riel’s dramatic and important story so often receives […]

  Kelly Bedard

The Canadian Opera Company has been slogging through Wagner’s interminable Ring Cycle over the past three seasons. And I’ve been slogging through my reviews of said marathons of melancholy Germans singing about dwarves. The summary was always the same: the set is bonkers but impressive, the singers and orchestra are technically sound, no one is […]

  Kelly Bedard

Yes yes yes and once again yes. In five years covering the Canadian Opera Company, I’ve never seen a rep season with this much storytelling depth and theatrical impact. I’ve never seen a perfect balance between homegrown talent, international stars, and homegrown international stars. I’ve never seen female characters with this much agency and this many […]

For anyone seeking reassurance that opera still has a place in the modern world, Maometto II is an excellent place to start. Directed by David Alden, the COC’s current production (onstage until May 14th) blends dramatic tension and modern themes to create an utterly compelling performance that is difficult to tear yourself away from. Luca […]

  Kelly Bedard

Directed by Joel Ivany in his mainstage debut with the Canadian Opera Company and designed by Michael Yeargan (set) and Francois St-Aubin (costumes), the COC’s current production of Carmen (onstage at the Four Seasons Centre until May 15) is very clean. The stage, the blocking and everything else is neat and tidy with precisely delineated […]

The genie in the lamp meets his match in this operatic adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1891 short story The Bottle Imp, a morality tale (or perhaps morality thriller) about a bottle whose magic grants limitless wishes to its owner – but with, if you can believe it, a price. A co-production of Scottish Opera […]

  Kelly Bedard

Right up front, I have to say that I just don’t love Wagner. I’ve tried, I’ve tried so hard (I was well-rested, well-fed, well-Mentos’d to keep me alert during this latest interminable Wagnerian ordeal), but I cannot force myself to invest in overblown German dramatics about trolls for five hours at a time. The plot […]

  Kelly Bedard

Both of Canadian Stage’s current offerings are about people sleeping with people they shouldn’t be sleeping with. Both remarkably self-satisfied domestic dramas purport to be about “so much more” but that’s really about it. In the one-act contemporary opera Julie, well-to-do scorned woman Julie (Lucia Cervoni) sleeps with her callous, manipulative, engaged servant Jean (a […]

  Duncan Derry

Historically, operas that choose to focus on love tend to privilege sweeping romances, richly orchestrated melodrama, couples separated by social mores, and, more often than not, a gloriously tragic finale. If you’re going to have several dozen musicians thrumming beneath your story of romantic entanglement, then it seems more than fair for your performances to […]

  Kelly Bedard

Oh, Giuseppe Verdi, how I adore your dedication to stories worth telling. You are, of course, a splendid composer whose soaring melodies and lush orchestrations fly beautifully from the mouths of the COC’s chorus and the bows of its spectacular orchestra (here under the capable baton of Marco Guidarini) but the real reason I love […]

  Theresa Perkins

Popular culture has resoundingly strong opinions and plenty of advice on love. Love is all you need. Love is a battlefield. Love changes everything. Live, laugh, love. Eat, Pray, Love. The list goes on. But, what is this Crazy Little Thing Called Love? For those people who Want To Know What Love Is,* Benjamin Folstein’s […]

  Kelly Bedard

There are a few operatic conventions that really get me down. The first is a wackadoo story that let’s say isn’t exactly grounded in human truth. The second is overdramatic Tragedy with a capital t. Though the two productions that make up the Canadian Opera Company’s spring season embody, respectively, these qualities to a tee, […]