The COC announces its 2012–2013 season, featuring a revival of Atom Egoyan’s Salome, Ben Heppner in Tristan and much more
Opera nerds across the city (and in this office) were aflutter today over the announcement of the Canadian Opera Company’s 2012–2013 season. The highlights: a revival of Atom Egoyan’s creepy-cool production of Richard Strauss’s Salome, mega-tenor Ben Heppner taking on his signature role in Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde and Verdi’s perennial crowd-pleaser Il Trovatore, with Die Fledermaus, La clemenza di Tito, Lucia di Lammermoor and Dialogues des Carmélites rounding out the season. Check out the full details after the jump.
The COC revives this trusty co-production of Verdi’s Il Trovatore, last seen around these parts in 2005, with Mexican tenor Ramón Vargas and Canada’s Russell Braun making their role debuts as Manrico and Conte di Luna, respectively. Sept. 29 to Oct. 31.
Next up, a little screwball operetta with Johann Strauss II’s Die Fledermaus (the opera with the champagne that’s traditionally used to ring in the New Year… in Germany). This new production (hence the stock photo) is the work of director Christopher Alden, who was responsible for 2010’s striking Flying Dutchman at the COC. Michael Schade and Tamara Wilson lead the mostly Canadian cast. Oct. 12 to Nov. 3.
This is the big one. For the first time, the COC will be mounting a production by the opera-world superstar Peter Sellars: Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde (you know, the one whose achingly beautiful prelude set the mood for Lars von Trier’s Melancholia last year). Created for the Paris Opera, this production combines live action with video by artist Bill Viola. Ben Heppner, the epic Canadian heldentenor who pulled out of the role of Siegfried in the Met’s Ring Cycle last year, stars alongside Melanie Diener. Jiří Bělohlávek of the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducts. Feb. 2 to 23.
Mozart’s final opera, La clemenza di Tito, tells the story of the assassination attempt on the Roman emperor Titus (hence the great big knife to the left), and his act of forgiveness for his would-be killers. Our Tito will be Michael Shade, who’ll be joined by Isabel Leonard, Mireille Asselin, Keri Alkema, Robert Gleadow and Wallis Giunta (an alumna of the COC’s Ensemble Studio who’ll be plucked back from the Met’s own young artist development program). Feb. 3 to 22.
Sir Walter Scott’s brooding and tragic The Bride of Lammermoor was the inspiration for Donizetti’s classic piece of sparkling bel canto, Lucia di Lammermoor. In the title role next season will be American soprano Anna Christy, whose performance of the same role at the English National Opera was widely hailed (this will be the same production). Apr. 17 to May 9.
The COC first staged Atom Egoyan’s intense (see: photo, left) production of Richard Strauss’s Salome back in 1996, and word is, the various video and technical effects are being brought up to speed for this remount. Erika Sunnegårdh stars in the punishing lead role, with stalwart Canadian tenor Richard Margison playing Herod. Apr. 21 to May 22.
The final opera of the 2012–2013 season, Poulenc’s haunting Dialogues des Carmélites, has another Canadian star director behind it, the Toronto-born Robert Carsen. The opera tells the story of an order of Carmelite nuns in the middle of the French Revolution, and stars Canadian sopranos Isabel Bayrakdarian and Adrianne Pieczonka and mezzo Judith Forst in a cast of 150. May 8 to 25.