The Canadian Opera Company announced its next season this morning, and there’s plenty to be excited about. There will only be one remount — we’ll see three new COC productions and three house debuts of co-productions.
Kaija Saariaho’s L’Amour de loin is the season’s contemporary work and a fantastic decision. I believe this will be the first time a Saariaho opera is seen in Toronto, and she is also the first woman composer ever in the COC programming. The main connection between the two distant lovers in the opera will be the Pilgrim, to be sung by the mezzo Krisztina Szabo in potentially a fascinating trouser role. Russell Braun and Erin Wall are the troubadour and the lady. (February 2012)
Adrianne Pieczonka will sing Tosca.
Now, I am a religious fanatic about her Puccini CD and have been telling everybody who will listen and many who won’t that she will be one of the greatest Puccinian voices of the early 21C, but I’ve also read and heard from multiple sources that her SFO etc. Toscas lacked in the acting department and did not display the kind of dangerous and dark charisma necessary for the role. This performance will put that grumbling to rest. She is by now well familiar with the role, and will proceed to own it. Mark my words and talk to me in a year. (Jan-Feb 2012)
Andrew Davis will conduct and Catherine Malfitano direct the Florentine double bill (April, May 2012) consisting of the Eine Florentinische Tragödie by Alexander Zemlinsky and Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi.
A few days ago I was thinking I should start this post with a whinge about the dearth of the baroque operas at the COC, but I can’t do that now: Handel’s oratorio-opera Semele will open in May 2012, and there will be dancing in the streets. One hopes, that is — it seems that the director Zhang Huan will move the Greek mythological story as told by a German-English baroque composer into the setting of the Chinese imperial Ming dynasty. Will it work? We are eager to find out. Semele will be sung by the coloratura soprano Jane Archibald, the young Joan Sutherland lookalike (and I hear, soundalike) who we’ll see as Zerbinetta in April.
Cecilia Bartoli in a recent Robert Carsen production of Semele:
Other squeal-worthy stuff: a new Hoffmann from the Flemish Opera (Johannes Debus conducting, Lauren Segal sings Nicklausse, Russell Thomas/David Pomeroy as Hoffmann and three different sopranos for the Hoffmann’s three heartbreaks), and a spanking new Rigoletto (co-prod with ENO).
The biggest star of the season (in fact, so big that she couldn’t contribute to the recording of the season teaser like all the other artists) is also the most boring one: Susan Graham will sing Iphigénie en Tauride (Pablo Heras Casado c., Robert Carsen d., Sep-Oct 2011). All the same, a Carsen production is always worth seeing. Are there any gilt chairs with fuchsia upholstery in Tauris? We will find out in September.
All in all: much to look forward to.