With the limited options for presenting in-person opera during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, the Canadian Opera Company has announced plans to temporarily pivot away from live events with a mostly digital season.
The COC’s Fall 2020 season programming will span three categories:
1.) From the Opera House will include online broadcasts of past performances from the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts available online for a limited time.
Late-September will feature a rebroadcast Songs of Hope: From Our Homes to Yours, an event recorded last spring with the 2020 COC Ensemble Studio members.
Audiences will be able to see COC’s Free Concert Series revived over a three-days from Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre with performances from a wide range of styles and genres.
2.) COC in Conversation will begin in October with MusicMindBody, a panel discussion led by Music therapist Dr. SarahRose Black and COC Music Director Johannes Debus exploring music’s impact on our minds and bodies.
The COC will also launch Key Change, a new interview-based podcast exploring the experience of attending operas. The podcast will be co-hosted by Robyn Grant-Moran (a member of the COC’s Indigenous Circle of Artists) and Julie McIsaac (COC Director/Dramaturg-in-Residence).
3.) Opera for Toronto will centre on presenting local pop-up concerts, including a new partnership with the Art Gallery of Ontario in January 2021 with Artists of the COC Ensemble Studio performing live socially distanced performances in the gallery space.
The COC stated the pivot to a digital format is temporary, and that they are actively preparing for a return to in-person productions as soon as possible.
Four mainstage productions are tentatively scheduled for Winter and Spring 2021: Georges Bizet Carmen (January 23 – February 19, 2021), Leoš Janáček’s Katya Kabanova (February 6 – 20, 2021), Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata (April 17 – May 14), and Christoph Willibald Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice (May 1- 15).
The fall 2020 season announcement follows the news late August that COC General Director Alexander Neef has left Toronto to begin his new role as head of Opéra national de Paris one year early. He will continue to lead the COC in a dual capacity until a new leader can be found.
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