Fabiano comes to the COC!!!



Toronto – The Canadian Opera Company regrets to announce that Mexican tenor David Lomelí, who was scheduled to perform the role of Rodolfo in the upcoming production of Puccini’s La Bohème, has had to withdraw for health reasons. Lomelí was scheduled to sing eight of the production’s 12 performances. In his place, the COC has cast two of the most exciting young tenors in the opera world today: Dimitri Pittas (October 3, 6, 9, 12) and Michael Fabiano (October 16, 19, 27, 30). They share the role of Rodolfo with the previously announced Italian-American tenor Eric Margiore (October 18, 22, 25, 29).


American tenor Dimitri Pittas has been called a “rising young singer of unaffected charm” by the New York Observer and compared in look and sound to a young Plácido Domingo. He made his COC debut in 2011 as the Duke inRigoletto, and is scheduled to appear with the company this winter in a role debut performance as Riccardo, starring opposite Canada’s great diva soprano Adrianne Pieczonka in Un ballo in maschera. Pittas has appeared on leading opera stages throughout North America and Europe, including debuts with the Bavarian State Opera, the Vienna State Opera and Royal Opera House Covent Garden. In addition to singing Rodolfo with the Metropolitan Opera, he has appeared on the Met stage as Macduff in Macbeth, Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore and Tamino in The Magic Flute. Pittas most recently appeared with Opera Frankfurt, Houston Grand Opera and Lyric Opera of Chicago as Rodolfo and made his role debut in the title role of Don Carlo at the Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse, France.

Opera Michael Fabiano

American tenor Michael Fabiano has received glowing praise from the New York Times for “his soaring, thrilling singing”, most recently for a concert at New York’s Avery Fisher Hall and a “superlative performance [that] elicited unbridled responses from the audience.” It’s a sentiment shared by the Wall Street Journal, which said after Fabiano’s 2011 appearance with English National Opera that his performance showed “why he is in such demand in the big opera houses.” In recent years, in addition to ENO, Fabiano has appeared with the Metropolitan Opera, Seattle Opera, San Francisco Opera, La Scala and Dresden Semperoper as well as in concert performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Oslo Symphony. He makes his COC debut as Rodolfo.

The COC’s production of La Bohème runs October 3, 6, 9, 12, 16, 18, 19, 22, 25, 27, 29 and 30, 2013 at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. Visit for complete cast information.

Tickets are available online at, by calling 416-363-8231, or in person at the Four Seasons Centre Box Office (145 Queen St. W., Toronto). Ticket prices for La Bohème range from $12 – $365(includes applicable taxes). Patrons between the ages of 16 and 29 may purchase $22 Opera Under 30 tickets as of September 21 at 10 a.m., online at, or in person at the Four Seasons Centre Box Office.

Canadian Opera Company 2013-2014 Season


The Four Seasons Center for the Performing Arts

Some exciting upcoming productions for opera in Canada.  Support Canadian singers and this beautiful opera house in the heart of Toronto, Ontario

La Boheme

La Boheme:  October 3-30, 2013


Mimì: Grazia Doronzio / Joyce El-Khoury
Musetta: Joyce El-Khoury / Simone Osborne
Rodolfo: David Lomelí / Eric Margiore
Marcello: Joshua Hopkins / Phillip Addis

Conductor: Carlo Rizzi
Director: John Caird
Set & Costume Designer: David Farley

Peter Grimes

Peter Grimes:  October 5-26, 2013


Peter Grimes: Ben Heppner
Ellen Orford: Ileana Montalbetti
Balstrode: Alan Held
Auntie: Jill Grove

Conductor: Johannes Debus
Director: Neil Armfield
Revival Director: Denni Sayers
Set Designer: Ralph Myers
Costume Designer: Tess Schofield

Cosi Fan Tutte

Cosi Fan Tutte:  January 18-February 21, 2014


Fiordiligi: Layla Claire
Dorabella: Wallis Giunta
Ferrando: Paul Appleby
Guglielmo: Robert Gleadow/Don Alfonso: Sir Thomas Allen

Conductor: Johannes Debus
Director: Atom Egoyan
Set & Costume Designer: Debra Hanson


Un Ballo in Maschera: February 2-22, 2014


Amelia: Adrianne Pieczonka
Riccardo: Dimitri Pittas
Renato: Roland Wood

Conductor: Stephen Lord
Directors: Jossi Wieler & Sergio Morabito
Set Designer: Barbara Ehnes
Costume Designer: Anja Rabes


Hercules:  April 5-30, 2014


Hercules: Eric Owens
Dejanira: Alice Coote
Lichas: David Daniels
Hyllus: Richard Croft

Conductor: Harry Bicket
Director: Peter Sellars
Set Designer: George Tsypin
Costume Designer: Dunya Ramicova


Roberto Devereux:  April 25-May 21, 2014


Elisabetta: Sondra Radvanovsky
Nottingham: Russell Braun
Roberto Devereux: Giuseppe Filianoti
Sara: Allyson McHardy

Conductor: Corrado Rovaris
Director: Stephen Lawless
Set Designer: Benoit Dugardyn
Costume Designer: Ingeborg Bernerth


 Don Quichotte: May 9-24, 2014


Don Quichotte: Ferruccio Furlanetto
Sancho Panza: Quinn Kelsey
Dulcinée: Ekaterina Gubanova

Conductor: Johannes Debus
Director: Linda Brovsky
Set Designer: Donald Eastman
Costume Designer: Christina Poddubiuk

Purchase Tickets Here

The Greatest Love Story Ever Sung: La Boheme Returns to the COC

Canadian Opera Company Media ReleaseLa Boheme COC 2013

Toronto – The Canadian Opera Company launches its 2013/2014 season with a new production of one of the world’s greatest love stories, La Bohème. Puccini’s masterpiece of youthful flirtation, passionate love and heartbreaking tragedy returns to the COC for 12 performances at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts on October 3, 6, 9, 12, 16, 18, 19, 22, 25, 27, 29, 30, 2013.

Canadian-born Tony Award-winning director John Caird (Les MisérablesNicholas Nickleby), last with COC in 2007 to stage the monumental Don Carlos, premieres for the company this new production of one of opera’s favourite love stories. He’s joined by one of world’s best Puccini conductors, Italian Carlo Rizzi, who makes his company debut leading the COC Orchestra and Chorus through a score of soaring and impassioned orchestrations filled with dramatic intensity and beautiful melodies.

La Bohème is set in the raucous streets of Paris’s Latin Quarter in the late 19th century and explores the loves and lives of a group of young Bohemians. The COC production has cast an equally young group of singers, many Canadian, who are making names for themselves internationally.

Already acclaimed for their renditions of this starring role, two recent graduates of the Metropolitan Opera’s prestigious Lindemann Young Artist Development Program make their COC debuts as the fragile seamstress Mimì: Italian soprano Grazia Doronzio and Canadian soprano Joyce El-Khoury(Oct. 9, 19, 27, 30). Doronzio, called “splendid” by the New York Times and a “fascinating discovery” by the Chicago Tribune, has made recent notable engagements at Oper Frankfurt, Hamburgische Staatsoper, Angers Nantes Opéra, Seattle Opera and the Metropolitan Opera. El-Khoury has earned praised from Opera NewsWashington Post and The Financial Times, among other publications, for performances across North America and Europe, and recently made her recording debut with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at London’s Barbican Hall.

El-Khoury is double-cast in La Bohème. In addition to Mimì, she sings the role of the flirtatious singer Musetta for eight of the 12 performances of the COC’s production. Sharing the role of Musetta is COC Ensemble Studio graduate soprano Simone Osborne (Oct. 9, 19, 27, 30). A favourite with audiences and critics, Osborne returns to the COC after recent engagements with Opera Hamilton, Vancouver Opera and Carnegie Hall, appearing in the world premiere of the classical music show Viva Verdi! in Zurich and in the Saito Kinen Festival with renowned maestro Seiji Ozawa, as well a debut performance with the LA Philharmonic.

The role of the poet Rodolfo, Mimì’s lover, is sung by two rising young tenors, Mexican David Lomelí and Italian-American Eric Margiore (Oct. 9, 19, 27, 30). Lomelí has built a growing reputation in opera houses and concert halls across North America and Europe since becoming a first-prize winner of Plácido Domingo’s prestigious Operalia competition in 2006. First introduced to Toronto audiences in 2011 as the Duke in the COC’s Rigoletto, he returns in a role that “from both vocal and dramatic perspectives, you [would] have a difficult time finding a tenor more suited” ( Margiore recently made his European debut with Deutsche Oper am Rhein and is quickly establishing himself as an international contender in the principal Italian bel-canto and romantic tenor repertoire. He makes his COC debut as Rodolfo, a role for which Margiore’s been called “an ideal fit” (Opera News).

In the role of the painter Marcello, Musetta’s lover, are two standout Canadian baritones: Joshua Hopkins and, in a company debut, Phillip Addis (Oct. 9, 19, 27, 30). Last with the COC in 2005 inCarmenHopkins has been hailed as “an outstanding young baritone with a virile, vigorous yet velvety sound and an immediately evident dramatic authority” (Globe and Mail) and was chosen byOpera News in 2012 as one of 25 artists poised to break out and become a major force in the coming decade. A rising star on the international stage, Addis has performed in opera, concerts and recitals throughout Canada, the United States, Europe and Japan. He’s been called “a star in the making” (MusicOMH) and praised for his creamy, bright, smooth voice as much as for his spell-binding, daring, yet sensitive interpretations.

In addition to Marcello, Addis takes on the role of the musician Schaunard for eight of La Bohèmes 12 performances. He shares the role with COC Ensemble baritone Cameron McPhail(Oct. 9, 19, 27, 30), whose “impressive voice” (barczablog) had its company mainstage debut last season in the acclaimed production of Dialogues des Carmélites.

The role of the philosopher Colline is shared by two celebrated bass-baritones: American Christian Van Horn and Canadian Tom Corbeil (Oct. 9, 19, 27, 30). Quickly becoming a regular in the world’s most prestigious opera houses with a voice described as “a true balm of vocal happiness” (ResMusica), Van Horn returns to the COC after his 2012 debut in ToscaCorbeil is praised throughout North America for his vocal presence and stage craft. Last with the COC in 2010’s Death in Venice, he returns after spending a recent season singing Lurch with the first national tour of Broadway’s The Addams Family Musical.

Rounding out the cast is acclaimed American bass-baritone Thomas Hammons (an impressive Henry Kissinger in the COC’s recent Nixon in China) as the Bohemians’ landlord Benoît and as Musetta’s wealthy gentleman suitor Alcindoro. COC Ensemble tenor Owen McCausland is the toy vendor Parpignol, Ensemble Studio baritone Clarence Frazer makes his mainstage debut as the Customs House Sergeant, and Ensemble Studio bass-baritone Gordon Bintner makes his mainstage debut as a Customs Officer. He shares the role with Ensemble Studio graduate baritoneDoug MacNaughton (Oct. 12, 16).

In creating this new production of La Bohème, Olivier Award-winning and Tony Award-nominated set and costume designer David Farley has taken inspiration from France’s Belle Époque to capture the romance and artistic brilliance at the heart of this opera. The set design, in particular, is conceived as a collage of canvases by the painter Marcello that frame the action within the opera’s changing Parisian locales. Michael Clark creates the romantic lighting design.

La Bohème is based on the 1851 Henri Murger novel Scènes de la vie de bohème, a collection of stories about bohemian life in Paris. While the opera was not a great success at the time of its 1896 premiere, it has since become Puccini’s best-known work and one of the most loved and performed operas in the world. The tale of doomed romance in Paris has inspired many books, films and theatrical productions. The most notable adaptation in recent history is the rock musical RENT.

This new production of La Bohème is a COC co-production with Houston Grand Opera and San Francisco Opera. The opera was last performed by the COC in 2009, and is sung in Italian with English SURTITLES™.


Single tickets for La Bohème are $12 – $365 (includes applicable taxes). Tickets are available online at, by calling 416-363-8231, or in person at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts Box Office, located at 145 Queen St. W.

Standing Room 

Sixty $12 Standing Room tickets are available at 11 a.m. the morning of each performance, in person only at the Four Seasons Centre Box Office. Limit of two tickets per person. Subject to availability.

Young People
Special young people’s tickets are priced from $26 to $365 (includes applicable taxes). These ticket prices apply to those who are 15 years of age or under, accompanied by and sitting next to an adult.

Opera Under 30
Patrons between the ages of 16 and 29 may purchase $22 Opera Under 30 tickets as ofSeptember 21 at 10 a.m., online at, or in person at the Four Seasons Centre Box Office. Program patrons may opt to pay $35, whereby their seats are automatically upgraded to the best available on the morning of the performance they are attending. Opera Under 30 is presented by
TD Bank Group

Student Group Tickets 
Student group tickets are $22 per student and may be purchased by calling 416-306-2356.

Rush Seats
Rush seats, starting at $25 and subject to availability, go on sale at 11 a.m. on the morning of each performance at the Four Seasons Centre Box Office. Limit of two tickets per person.

Opera Kitchener Presents Puccini’s: La Bohème

Conductor Sabatino Vacca


Mimi Tina Winter
Rodolfo Michael Marino
Marcello Jeremy Ludwig
Musetta Anne-Marie Ramos
Schaunard Jay Stephenson
Colline Kyle MacDonald
Benoît/Alcindoro Douglas Tranquada
Parpignol Shane Glabb
Officer Ronald Jewell
Sergeant Matt Morrison


November 15, 2010  7:30pm Staged with costumes,
River Run Centre orchestra and English surtitles
35 Woolwich Street, Guelph
Buy in advance and save 10%!
Box Office: 519-763-3000 or 1-877-520-2408
November 21, 2010  3:00pm IN CONCERT with costumes,
Calvary Memorial United Church orchestra and English surtitles
91 Gruhn Street Kitchener
$25 students/seniors             Tickets available for purchase by cash or cheque
$30 adults at the door the day of the performance
November 26, 2010  7:30pm Staged with costumes,
The Living Arts Centre orchestra and English surtitles
4141 Living Arts Drive, Mississauga
Series discount available!
Box Office: 905-306-6000 or 1-888-805-8888
Published in: on November 15, 2010 at 3:32 am  Comments (1)  
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This week on Sirius/XM: DON’T MISS the broadcast of Verdi’s “Attila” on Saturday, March 6 at 1pm

Don’t miss the hype that has surrounded the recent production of Verdi’s Attila.  Only ONE performance is being broadcast, so don’t miss it on Friday, March 6, 1pm.

La Boheme: Tues, Mar. 2, 2010. 8pm

Gerald Finley is Marcello in this seasons’s “La Boheme”

ConductorMarco Armiliato
MimìAnna Netrebko
MusettaNicole Cabell
RodolfoPiotr Beczala
MarcelloGerald Finley
SchaunardMassimo Cavalletti
CollineOren Gradus
Benoit/AlcindoroPaul Plishka

Production: Franco Zeffirelli
Set Designer: Franco Zeffirelli
Costume Designer: Peter J. Hall
Lighting Designer: Gil Wechsler

The Nose: Thur., Mar. 5, 2010. 8pm

Gordon Gietz is “The Nose”

ConductorValery Gergiev
Police InspectorAndrei Popov
The NoseGordon Gietz
KovalyovPaulo Szot

Production: William Kentridge
Set Designers: William Kentridge, Sabine Theunissen
Costume Designer: Greta Goiris
Lighting Designer: Urs Schönebaum
Associate Director: Luc De Wit

Attila: Sat., Mar. 6, 2010. 1pm (Toll Bros.)

Violetta Urmana is Odabella in Verdi’s “Attila”

ConductorRiccardo Muti
OdabellaVioleta Urmana
ForestoRamón Vargas
Ezio: Giovanni Meoni
AttilaIldar Abdrazakov

Production: Pierre Audi
Set and Costume Designers: Miuccia Prada, Herzog & de Meuron
Lighting Designer: Jean Kalman

Netrebko’s “expressive liberties” make good for Signor Giacomo.

Already considered one of the more beautiful voices of today, not to mention her physical loveliness, Anna Netrebko opens her run as Mimi in Puccini’s “La Boheme” to rave reviews.  It is always exciting when critics rally in support of something well done, especially in a time when high criticism is often at the behest of the performer and production.  Let’s hope that the positive reviews and influx of audience numbers convince Mr. Gelb that we don’t need to get rid of every “traditional” production just because we want to be “cool” and “modern.”  Sometimes it’s the good ol’ stuff that tastes the best, isn’t it?

Here are today’s reviews on “Boheme” and BRAVA NETREBKO for very fine attempts at remaining authentic to this grand composer’s aesthetic style.

The Gang’s All Here: Mimi, Rodolfo, and Zeffirelli.” By Anthony Tommasini (New York Times)

Of this review, the interesting point was this: “But as usual her singing was not flawless. Her approach exposed every slight deviation of pitch. Also true to form, she took great expressive liberties with her singing — sometimes prolonging, sometimes rushing phrases — liberties that the conductor Marco Armiliato was too willing to accommodate.”  (Tommasini).  I ask, what singer out there right now is flawless?  If we expect singers to be flawless, then we expect them to be more than human.  The human voice is never without a slight blemish or imperfection, and it is interesting that one mars the review of what is a potentially great performance, by the expectation of flawlessness.

In addition, Mr. Tommasini pays attention to Netrebko’s “expressive liberties” when what he describes is exactly the aesthetic required of Puccinian cantilena (a word coined by the historical authority on Puccini, Mosco Carner).  The problem is that no one really remembers (or knows) that there is such a thing as Puccinian cantilena, and so when Ms. Netrebko is actually effecting an authentic and accurate aesthetic performance, it is simply referred to as “expressive liberties.”  I might add that if Maestro Armiliato didn’t follow Ms. Netrebko’s “expressive liberties”, then he shouldn’t be conducting Puccini at all.

“Great Artistry at the Met” by James Jordon (New York Post)

Zeffirelli’s indispensable “Boheme” returns to the Met

Il Maestro

After the outright scandalous “new” production of Tosca that opened the 2009/2010 season at the Metropolitan Opera with booing and catcalls, audiences are thankful that Mr. Gelb didn’t also dispense with Franco Zeffirelli’s production of Puccini’s well-loved masterpiece, “La Boheme.”  Imbued with grandeur, scenic realism, and a broad colour palate; not to mention, a significant spacial quality, Mr. Zeffirelli’s productions have been staples at the Met and are strongly linked to Puccini’s operas on an international level.

The cast has soprano, Anna Netrebko in her second stint as Mimi at the Met, the polish tenor, Piotr Beczala, Canadian baritone Gerald Finley as Marcello, and Nicole Cabell as Musetta.  There will be nine performances into March.

A recent review:  Netrebko, Beczala a Winning Couple in  ‘La Boheme’ (The Associated Press)

Franco Zeffirelli’s magnificent production of “La Boheme”

This week at the Met and on Sirius/XM Radio

Monday, Feb. 22, 2010 at 8pm (Sirius/XM)

“La Fille du Regiment”

ConductorMarco Armiliato

MarieDiana Damrau
Marquise of BerkenfeldMeredith Arwady
Duchess of KrakenthorpKiri Te Kanawa
TonioJuan Diego Flórez
SulpiceMaurizio MuraroWednesday, Feb 24, 2010 at 8pm

Production: Laurent Pelly
Set Designer: Chantal Thomas
Costume Designer: Laurent Pelly
Lighting Designer: Joël Adam
Choreographer: Laura Scozzi
Associate Director/Dialogue: Agathe Mélinand

Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2010 at 8pm:

“La Boheme”

Anna Netrebko in a previous production, as Mimi

ConductorMarco Armiliato
MimìAnna Netrebko
MusettaNicole Cabell
RodolfoPiotr Beczala
MarcelloGerald Finley
SchaunardMassimo Cavalletti
CollineOren Gradus
Benoit/AlcindoroPaul Plishka

Production: Franco Zeffirelli
Set Designer: Franco Zeffirelli
Costume Designer: Peter J. Hall
Lighting Designer: Gil Wechsler

Saturday, Feb. 27, 2010 at 1pm:  Toll Brothers and Sirius/XM Radio

“La Boheme”

The magnificent and unparalleled, Puccini

ConductorMarco Armiliato

MimìAnna Netrebko
MusettaNicole Cabell
RodolfoPiotr Beczala
MarcelloGerald Finley
SchaunardMassimo Cavalletti
CollineOren Gradus
Benoit/AlcindoroPaul Plishka

Production: Franco Zeffirelli
Set Designer: Franco Zeffirelli
Costume Designer: Peter J. Hall
Lighting Designer: Gil Wechsler

Hey…ey…ey..ey…What’s goin’ on?

Franco Zeffirelli’s productions have been staples at the Met and worldwide

The new year has opened with a number of well-loved favourites at various opera houses around North America and overseas.  Tickets continue to sell, but not without controversy, perhaps the most bothersome at the Metropolitan Opera.  As of late, Mr. Peter Gelb, the general manager of the Met has been dealing with some much deserved flack for the failed production of Puccini’s “Tosca,” a failure that was secured by the modern and inauthentic direction of Luc Bondy, but also by the continued problem of inappropriately casting non-Italianante voices in Italian repertoire and vice-versa in the Germanic repertoire.  Many patrons have been bothered by Gelb’s failure to admit that the Bondy production failed.  He has only publicly stated that beloved Franco Zeffirelli’s production of “Tosca” would be remounted.  In what seems like a bit of retaliation, Gelb has now decided to withdraw Zeffirelli’s “Boheme” production for a new one.

At a time when podcasts, internet streaming, and digital cable are at an all-time peak of interest, the artistic genres that have maintained verisimilitude seem to be suffering. Why now, after a century of excellence, is it necessary to “modernize” even those things that do not need to be modernized?  I’m all for new ideas, but when those new ideas interfere with the composer’s indications or with aesthetic truths, then I raise my hand in defiance.  We are in a crucial period where the maintenance of opera as a valuable art-form relies heavily on authenticity, but in these times the authentic voice of opera is facing the possibility of becoming mute, a prospect I will fight tirelessly to prevent.  It is why the value of the productions are lesser and why the wrong voice types are constantly being cast in repertoire that not only affects the singers’ vocal health, but mars the essential quality that these styles are meant to promote.

What’s goin’ on?

Peter Gelb

Of course there are those who think this is fine and dandy, and that opera needs to be multimedia-ized in order to retain a voice.  Certainly, it is great to promote it to the younger generation who really have no means of knowing it otherwise, but do we need to inject every production with an alternative antibiotic, usually some blatant and unnecessary sexuality that was not intended by the composer?  Might I be so bold as to say that Opera is sexy on its own and so are its characters, so is the music.  Is it possible that most operas, if presented authentically, are expressive enough solely in the combination of their text and music to deliver the same punch that directors are trying so hard to achieve?  It’s already there, in the mix, so why add more ingredients?  Overlooking what is innate in the art for the sake of making opera suit the times seems like a waste of time to me.

Food for thought at the dawn of a new decade.

“What’s Goin’On?”