Toronto, Ontario – The Canadian Opera Company’s spring season continues with a COC revival of one of the world’s most popular operas, Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème. The young and almost entirely Canadian cast is led by COC Ensemble Studio graduates, critically-acclaimed soprano Frédérique Vézina and vibrant lyric tenor David Pomeroy. Sharing the podium and leading the COC Orchestra and Chorus are conductor Julian Kovatchev, who conducted the COC’s 2004 production of Rigoletto, and COC resident conductor Derek Bate. Ensemble graduate, Maer Gronsdal Powell, who recently acted as assistant director of RusalkaWar and Peace, directs this operatic favourite. and the triumphant
La Bohème runs for 12 performances at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, April 17, 19, 25, 30, May 4, 9, 12, 14, 17, 20, 22 and 24, 2009 and is sung in Italian with English SURTITLES™.
Last performed by the COC in 2005, La Bohème is set in the raucous streets of Paris’s Latin Quarter in the 1830s and explores the love and lives of two young bohemians. Québécoise soprano Frédérique Vézina, who performed at the 2006 Inaugural Celebrations for the Four Seasons Centre, returns to the COC stage to sing the role of the fragile seamstress Mimì. Rising star tenor David Pomeroy, who sang title role in Faust and Skuratov in From the House of the Dead, is Mimì’s lover, the poet Rodolfo. New Zealand soprano Anna Leese makes her North American debut as the spirited and flirtatious, Musetta, and recent Ensemble graduate baritone Peter Barrett returns as Musetta’s lover, the painter Marcello. Former Ensemble baritone Jon-Paul Décosse is Schaunard, a musician, and last season’s Figaro, former Ensemble bass Robert Gleadow, reprises the role he sang with the company in 2005, the philosopher Colline. Bass-baritone Thomas Goerz sings the roles of Benoît, the blustering landlord, and Alcindoro, Musetta’s elderly admirer.
Although a success with audiences at its Turin premiere in 1896, critically La Bohème was given a cool reception. However, within six months it was considered Puccini’s most popular work and has since been regarded as one of the world’s most-loved operas. The sets for the COC’s production are designed by
Wolfram Skalicki with costumes by Amrei Skalicki. Stephen Ross creates the romantic Parisian lighting design.
Tickets for La Bohème are available Monday, March 2, 2009 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 $65 to $315. Special young people’s tickets for La Bohème are priced from $34 to $109. These ticket prices apply to those who are 15 years of age or under, accompanied by and sitting next to an adult.
Starting Saturday, April 4, 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.
Production Co-sponsors of La Bohème: CIBC World Markets and CIBC Mellon
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.
Bohemian Bite: La Bohème
The Canadian Opera Company and Hilton Toronto’s Tundra Restaurant present an evening of cultural and culinary arts for patrons under 30 with Bohemian Bite: La Bohème, on Saturday, April 25, 2009. Young patrons can enjoy a prix-fixe dinner inspired by the drama of La Bohème, while learning about Puccini’s passionate opera. Following the 5 p.m. dinner, guests will attend a performance of La Bohème at Canada’s first purpose-built opera house, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts at 7:30 p.m. Participants must be under 30 years of age and provide a valid photo ID when purchasing tickets. The dinner and opera package is $70 and can be purchased at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts Box Office (145 Queen St. W., Toronto) or online at www.coc.ca. Tickets for the dinner and performance must be picked up at the Four Seasons Centre Box Office prior to the event.
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 for downloading or streaming on www.coc.ca or through Universal Music at www.getmusic.ca/classical. La Bohème-themed podcasts will be online starting in March 2009. 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, 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.