The Canadian Opera Company have today announced two new Opera For Toronto events this spring. First launched on February 19, 2019, with Così fan tutte: A Mozart Sample, the program aims to provide free access to opera for people and groups that are new to COC events and programming. The initiative also represents a new focus on the use of the COC’s Imperial Oil Opera Theatre at the Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Opera Centre at 227 Front Street E.
“Opera for Toronto creates a cultural access point,” says COC General Director Alexander Neef in a statement. “For our neighbours, the programming is a chance to sample opera in a casual, intimate setting while also having a chance to explore our home base and meet the passionate people on our team.”
The exclusive invite-only performances are available to those selected in civic partnerships, community-based groups, and educational organizations. These include Share the Opera, a program that provides ticket access to youth and family members who might not be able to attend a COC performance, and Opera Access for New Canadians in partnership with the Institute for Canadian Citizenship. The COC’s Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Committee and COC’s Indigenous Circle of artists will also contribute to identifying prospective invitees.
On the heels of last weeks inaugural Opera For Toronto performance — which featured appearances by well-known musicians, including conductor Bernard Labadie, sopranos Tracy Dahl, Lauren Margison, mezzo-soprano Emily D’Angelo, tenor Ben Bliss, baritone Russell Braun, and baritone Johannes Kammler — the COC will present two more events this spring.
These include a fully staged Puccini’s La Bohème at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts (FSC) on May 8. The production features the COC Ensemble Studio cast in principal roles.
La Bohème will then move to Imperial Oil Opera Theatre for a non-staged performance on May 17, 2019, also invite only.
“For us, as a company, Opera for Toronto represents an incredible opportunity to share our love of music in a format specifically created with new audiences in mind,” Neef said. “Opera for Toronto is also an open dialogue about breaking down barriers in opera; we’re looking forward to hearing and learning from our communities so that we can continue to create programs that connect with our city.”