LSM Newswire

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

COC Premiers Rusalka

coc premieres Dvořák’s HEARTBREAKING fairy tale, RUSALKA

Toronto, Ontario – The Canadian Opera Company’s winter season continues with the COC premiere of Antonín Dvořák’s tragic love story, Rusalka. Helikon Opera’s artistic director, Dmitri Bertman, who staged last season’s critically-acclaimed From the House of the Dead, directs this luminous production from Theater Erfurt in Germany. The opera features rising star American soprano Julie Makerov in the title role and renowned Canadian tenor Michael Schade as the Prince. Eminent American conductor John Keenan, who has conducted major works with the Metropolitan Opera, Kirov Opera and the Santa Fe Opera, makes his COC debut leading the COC Orchestra and Chorus. Rusalka was programmed for this season by the late Richard Bradshaw to commemorate the COC’s co-founder Nicholas Goldschmidt’s 100th birthday. Rusalka runs January 31, February 5, 8, 11, 14, 17, 20, and 23, 2009 and is sung in Czech with English SURTITLES™.

Julie Makerov, who appeared in this season’s Don Giovanni, and in the COC’s 2006 production of the Ring Cycle, returns to the COC stage to sing the role of the water nymph Rusalka who falls in love with a mortal prince. Michael Schade, singing the part of the Prince, makes his first appearance with the COC in five years and his Four Seasons Centre stage debut. Moldavian powerhouse Irina Mishura, last seen as Azucena in Il Trovatore, sings Ježibaba, the malevolent witch who, in exchange for Rusalka’s immortality and voice, gives Rusalka a chance to win the heart of the Prince. Acclaimed baritone Richard Paul Fink, Alberich in the COC’s Ring Cycle, is Rusalka’s devoted old friend, the Water Gnome. Former Ensemble Studio soprano Joni Henson, who sang Elisabeth de Valois in two performances of Don Carlos and Gutrune in the COC’s Ring Cycle, is the Foreign Princess vying for the Prince’s heart. Set designer Hartmut Schörghofer and costume designer Corinna Crome, recreate Rusalka’s mystical worlds, both in water and on land. Thomas C. Hase lights this production.

Dvořák’s Rusalka is derived from Hans Christian Andersen’s popular fairy tale The Little Mermaid, Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué’s story Undine and Karel Jaromír Erben’s A Garland of National Tales. The opera premiered at the National Theatre in Prague in 1901. Although Dvořák was known more for his symphonic and chamber works than his operas, Rusalka achieved great success. Blending rich melodic phrasing with harmonic depth, the opera became – along with Bedřich Smetana’s The Bartered Bride – one of the most popular Czech operas. Rusalka also features the beautiful aria “Song to the Moon,” which brings to aching life this timeless story.

Single tickets for Rusalka are available Monday, December 1, 2008 online at www.coc.ca, or by calling 416-363-8231, or in person at the Four Seasons Centre Box Office (145 Queen St. W., Toronto). Ticket prices for all performances range from $60 to $290. Special young people’s tickets for all performances throughout the season are priced from $30 to $98. These ticket prices apply to those who are 15 years of age or under, accompanied by and sitting next to an adult.

Starting Saturday, January 17, 2009 at 10 a.m., $20 tickets are available for patrons between the ages of 16 and 29 through the Opera for a New Age program presented by TD Bank Financial Group

and may be purchased online at www.coc.ca or in person at the Four Seasons Centre Box Office (145 Queen St. W., Toronto). Student group tickets are $20 per student and may be purchased by calling 416-306-2356. Remaining Opera for a New Age tickets will be released as $20 rush seats at 11 a.m. the morning of the performance, subject to availability.

Presenting Sponsor of SURTITLESä: Sun Life Financial

Official Automotive Sponsor of the COC at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts:

Jaguar Land Rover Canada

Official Media Sponsors: CTV and The Globe and Mail

The COC Ensemble Studio is Canada’s premier training program for young opera professionals and provides advanced instruction, hands-on experience, and career development opportunities. The Ensemble Studio is supported by the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage, RBC Financial Group, and other generous donors.

COC ANCILLARY EVENTS AND INFORMATION:

BMO Financial Group Pre-Performance Opera Chats

The COC offers free 20-minute introductions to the opera and its theme in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 45 minutes prior to every performance.

Appetite for Opera: Rusalka

Appetite for Opera returns to Hilton Toronto’s Tundra Restaurant on Thursday, January 22, 2009 for Appetite for Opera: Rusalka, an evening that combines the cultural and culinary arts in an innovative gourmet event designed to delight and intrigue opera novices and seasoned fans. The evening begins with a cocktail reception at 6:15 p.m. followed by a multi-course dinner at 7 p.m. and costs $89 per person. Each course is accompanied by a specially chosen wine, while COC Volunteer Speakers Bureau representative Robert Morassutti and the Hilton chef Kreg Graham provide fascinating links and insights between food, wine, and opera. Ticket and dinner packages can be purchased online at www.coc.ca.

Canadian Opera Company Podcast Series

The Canadian Opera Company and Universal Music present a FREE podcast series that explores the depths of music in opera. Podcasts are available on www.coc.ca or through Universal Music at www.getmusic.ca/classical. Rusalka-themed podcasts will be online starting in December 2008. These are entertaining programs designed to give listeners a chance to learn about opera, COC productions, and hear interviews from the artists and creative team. Throughout the year, listeners can tune in to hear music from the COC’s 2008/09 season, roundtable discussions with special artists, as well as preview operas in the COC’s 2009/10 season. Each podcast is created and hosted by COC personnel.

About the Canadian Opera Company

Based in Toronto, the Canadian Opera Company is the largest producer of opera in Canada and one of the largest in North America, and has an international reputation for artistic excellence and creative innovation. The COC currently enjoys a remarkable 99% attendance rate for its mainstage season. The company’s new home, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, was designed by Diamond and Schmitt Architects Inc. and is Canada’s first purpose-built opera house. The contemporary expression of a traditional five-tiered, European horseshoe-shaped auditorium was specifically designed for opera with the highest level of acoustics and provides unparalleled intimacy between the audience and the stage. Acclaimed as one of the best opera houses in the world, the Four Seasons Centre is also the performance venue for The National Ballet of Canada.

Canadian Opera Company Website

The Canadian Opera Company website, at www.coc.ca, contains information on all productions including synopses, historical background, and production photographs.

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