The Canadian Opera Company unveils its 2012-13 season of free concerts at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre

COC Ensemble Studio member Adrian Kramer sang his farewell concert at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre with accompanist Christopher Mokrzewski last May.

The most significant concert presenter in this city outside the Toronto Symphony Orchestra is Nina Draganic, the unheralded doyenne of the Canadian Opera Company’s annual 10-months of free concerts at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre.

The new season kicks off at lunchtime on Sept. 18, with a concert by the COC’s Ensemble Studio and will run its combination of classical, jazz, world and new music, dance and lecture concerts through to the end of June. Continue reading

Listening: The ghosts of Wagners future and past hover over Gluck, Elgar and Schoenberg

Susan Graham starred in the Canadian Opera Company’s production of Iphigénie en Tauride, desolately staged by expat Torontonian Robert Carsen.

Grabbing the heart with text and music takes many forms. This weekend, we have a chance to sample opera reduced to its essence, and two very operatic ways of crafting oratorio and cantata.

The first comes via CBC Radio 2’s Saturday Afternoon at the Opera, which broadcasts the Canadian Opera Company’s critically praised production of Christoph Willibald Gluck’s 1779 masterpiece, Iphigénie en Tauride, featuring American mezzo Susan Graham in the title role. Continue reading

Listening: Voices galore in Canadian Opera Company Rigoletto, Gillian Keith at Royal Albert Hall, Rollando Villazón in Verbier

Ekaterina Sadonikova was Gilda in the COC’s season-opening production of Verdi’s Rigoletto (Michael Cooper photo).

The Canadian Opera Company’s update of Giuseppe Verdi’s warhorse Rigoletto from the start of this past season is featured on today’s Saturday Afternoon at the Opera broadcast on CBC Radio 2. Music director Johannes Debus was in the pit. On stage was a decent mix of visiting and Canadian singers. Continue reading

Weekend listening: Canadian Opera Company’s Nixon in China, Les Violons du Roy in London, great pianists in Switzerland

Robert Orth and Maria Kanyova as Richard and Pat Nixon in the Canadian Opera Company’s 2010 production of John Adams’s Nixon in China (Michael Cooper photo).

CBC Radio 2’s Saturday Afternoon at the Opera today broadcasts the Canadian Opera Company’s 2010-11 season production of John Adams’ Nixon in China, starting at 1 p.m. Eastern. Continue reading

Canadian Opera Company’s Alexander Neef cements place as country’s most important vocal impresario

Alexander Neef (Michael Cooper photo).

The Canadian Opera Company announced yesterday that it has extended its contract with general director Alexander Neef to the 2020-21 season.

This was, without a doubt, the right thing for the board to do. Continue reading

Weekend listening: Andrianne Pieczonka, Jane Archibald and other operatic riches

CBC listeners get to relive the vocal fireworks as Jane Archibald sings role of Zerbinetta in the 2011 Canadian Opera Company production of Ariadne auf Naxos (Michael Cooper photo).

CBC Radio 2’s Saturday Afternoon at the Opera allows us to relive the vocal glories of the Canadian Opera Company’s spring 2011 production of Ariadne auf Naxos, by Richard Strauss. Continue reading

Listening: Two great opera options today

Larence Zazzo and Isabel Bayrakdarian in the Canadian Opera Company production of Orfeo ed Euridice, being broadcast today (Michael Cooper photo).

Last season’s spectacularly good Canadian Opera Company production of Christoph Willibald Gluck’s 1762 masterpiece Orfeo ed Euridice gets a broadcast on CBC Radio 2’s Saturday Afternoon at the Opera, starting at 1 p.m. Continue reading