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Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

THE SCOOP | Canadian Opera Company 2020-21 Season Opens Big With Parsifal

By Michael Vincent on February 11, 2020

COC Parsifal
COC 2020-21 Season creative (Photo : BT/A Advertising)

The Canadian Opera Company (COC), has unveiled their 2020–21 season featuring six mainstage productions.

The biggest takeaway is the COC’s September production of Richard Wagner’s Parsifal with star director François Girard and set designer Michael Levine.

Parsifal’s behemoth scope (and length!) has made this opera out-of-reach for most mid-size companies, but the COC are rising to the occasion by doubling the typical core cast to 100 artists. This will be the first fully staged Parsifal in COC history.

The COC is also launching Vox, a new membership program tailored to those under 40 seeking exclusive post-performance parties.

The 2020-21 season marks General Director Alexander Neef’s 13th and final season with the COC before leaving for the Paris Opera next year. A historical production of Parsifal in Canada is especially meaningful for him.

“Mounting the first Parsifal in Canadian Opera Company history has been a journey all its own,” Neef said in a press release statement. “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.”

Christian Van Horn as Escamillo (centre) and Sasha Djihanian as Frasquita (right, at table) in the Canadian Opera Company production of Carmen, 2016, photo: Michael Cooper
Christian Van Horn as Escamillo (centre) and Sasha Djihanian as Frasquita (right, at table) in the Canadian Opera Company production of Carmen, 2016, photo: Michael Cooper

The remainder of the season includes five other warhorses with some novel spins.

Claus Guth’s 2016 production Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro opens October 20 with Toronto favourites Russell Braun as the count and mezzo-soprano Emily D’Angelo as Cherubino.

Against the Grain Theatre founder Joel Ivany will return to the COC on January 23 for Bizet’s Carmen set in the 1940s Cuba with J’nai Bridges in the title role. His kid-friendly urban Hansel and Gretel is running now.

There’s also Janacek’s Katya Kabanova (February 6), which hasn’t been seen in Toronto since the nearly 1990s. The new production is by theatre director David Alden, so you can expect some tension on stage. It will include American soprano Amanda Majeski in her COC debut.

Verdi’s crowd-pleasing La Traviata returns on April 17 with soprano superstar Sondra Radvanovsky singing Violetta. Canadian baritone James Westman will play Baron Duphol.

Ending out the season is a spring-time production of Orfeo ed Euridice by Gluck starting May 1, and will star Iestyn Davies for his COC debut and Anna-Sophie Neher as Euridice. Neher has previously appeared in a number of COC productions, including Rusalka in 2019 and the world premiere of Rufus Wainwright’s Hadrian in 2018

Subscriptions are on sale now at coc.ca.

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Michael Vincent

Michael Vincent is the Editor-in-chief Ludwig Van and CEO of Museland Media. He publishes regularly and writes occasionally. A specialist in digital media for over 15 years, he has worked as a senior editor and is a former freelance classical music critic for the Toronto Star. Michael holds a Doctorate in Music from the University of Toronto.
Michael Vincent
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Follow me

Michael Vincent

Michael Vincent is the Editor-in-chief Ludwig Van and CEO of Museland Media. He publishes regularly and writes occasionally. A specialist in digital media for over 15 years, he has worked as a senior editor and is a former freelance classical music critic for the Toronto Star. Michael holds a Doctorate in Music from the University of Toronto.
Michael Vincent
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