COC PREMIERE OF DRAMATIC ROSSINI OPERA, TANCREDI
Toronto, Ontario – The Canadian Opera Company closes its 2004/05 season with the COC premiere of Tancredi, the first dramatic opera by Rossini that the company has undertaken. Serge Bennathan, who previously choreographed John Blow’s Prologue to the COC’s Venus and Adonis, directs this Rossini masterpiece. Will Crutchfield, Director of Opera for the Caramoor International Music Festival and the Music Director of the Opera de Colombia in Bogota, makes his Canadian debut conducting this production.
Tancredi runs April 1 at 7:30 p.m., 5 at 7:30 p.m., 7 at 7:30 p.m., 10 at 2 p.m., 13 at 7:30 p.m. and 16 at 7:30 p.m., 2005 at the Hummingbird Centre for the Performing Arts and is sung in Italian with English SURTITLESTM.
Based on Voltaire’s play Tancrède, Tancredi is the elaborate story of a banished 11th-century knight, Tancredi, who secretly returns to his homeland to discover that his king is now allied with Tancredi’s archenemy, Orbazzano, and that Tancredi’s lover, Amenaide, has unwittingly betrayed him. A showcase for Rossini’s glorious music and the extraordinary bel canto singing required, the COC’s production of Tancredi may also mark the opera’s Canadian premiere. Having disappeared from the repertoire in the mid-19th century, Tancredi was successfully revived in 1952 at the Florentine Maggio Musicale and has since regained a firm and popular place in the repertoire.
The COC has secured a cast with formidable vocal ability for this production. Performing her signature role is world-renowned contralto Ewa Podleś as Tancredi. Ms Podleś astounded critics and audiences with her portrayals of Jocasta inOedipus Rex with Symphony of Psalms and the title role in Handel’s Julius Caesar, the latter of which earned her the 2002 Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding Performance in an Opera. Making her Canadian debut as the innocent Amenaide is Bulgarian soprano Alexandrina Pendatchanska, one of opera’s leading interpreters of bel canto repertoire.
Most recently seen with the company as Pong in Turandot, Ensemble Studio graduate tenor Michael Colvin returns to the COC as the duplicitous King Argirio. COC favourite, bass Robert Pomakov, also heard in this spring’s Il Trovatore, is the evil Orbazzano. Canadian contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux, previously seen opposite Podleś in Julius Caesar and who sings Edwige in the COC premiere of Rodelinda next fall, returns as Amenaide’s confidante Isaura. Canadian soprano Laura Whalen, the Forest Bird in this winter’s Siegfried, is Roggiero, Tancredi’s loyal squire.
A visually striking and commanding production from Teatro di San Carlo in Naples, Tancredi’s set design is created by internationally-acclaimed Italian painter and sculptor Mimmo Paladino who has translated his expressive and emotive style for the stage. Nanà Cecchi, costume designer for the 1986 film Ladyhawke, captures the mystique of the Middle Ages with this production. The lighting designer is Bonnie Beecher, who lit the COC’s Giulio Cesare in Egitto in 2001.
Single tickets for Tancredi went on sale November 15, 2004 and may be purchased by calling
416-872-2262, online at www.coc.ca or in person at the Hummingbird Centre Box Office or Ticketmaster outlets. Ticket prices for all performances range from $40 to $175. Tickets for those who are 17 years of age or under, accompanied by and sitting next to an adult, are priced from $18 to $50. Starting March 26, 2005 at 10 a.m., $18 and $29 tickets are available for patrons between the ages of 18 and 29 through the 18to29: Opera for a New Age program presented by TD Bank Financial Group.
Production Sponsor: Canadian Opera Volunteer Committee
Presenting Sponsor of SURTITLESä : Sun Life Financial
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 generously supported by the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage, The John A. Cook Young Artist Development Fund, Harris Steel Group, The Audrey S. Hellyer Charitable Foundation, The Henry N.R. Jackman Foundation, Ruby Mercer Fund, George Cedric Metcalf Charitable Foundation, Roger D. Moore Ensemble Studio Endowment Fund, RBC Financial Group, and an anonymous donor.
BMO Financial Group Pre-Performance Opera Chats
The COC offers free 20-minute introductions to the opera and its theme at the Hummingbird Centre, 45 minutes prior to each performance.
The Opera Exchange: Multidisciplinary Approaches to Opera
The Canadian Opera Company, in association with the Munk Centre for International Studies at the University of Toronto, presents the final instalment of the 2004/05 The Opera Exchange lecture series, Sicilians, Saracens, Singers: Tancredi on Saturday, April 2, 2005 from 1:30 p.m. – 5 p.m. In this half-day symposium, noted musicologists will examine Tancredi, Rossini’s operatic adaptation of one of Voltaire’s most outstanding plays. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased through the COC Box Office at 416-363-8321. Admission is FREE for full-time students with I.D., but tickets must be booked in advance. Sicilians, Saracens, Singers: Tancredi takes place at the Isabel Bader Theatre, Victoria University, 93 Charles St. West, Toronto.
Canadian Opera Company Web site
The Canadian Opera Company Web site, at www.coc.ca, contains information and historical background on all productions including synopses, historical backgrounds and production photographs.
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