Canadian Opera Company announces 18/19 season headed by Rufus Wainwright’s Hadrian

18/19 season marks the company debuts of Thomas Hampson, Karita Mattila, Angel Blue and return of Gerald Finley, Christine Goerke

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Canadian Opera Company

This morning at 10 a.m. E.S.T. the Canadian Opera Company released its plans for the 18/19 season. The highlight has to be the much-talked about premiere of Canadian singer/songwriter Rufus Wainwright’s new opera Hadrian. When the COC first announced this commission in 2013 it created an uproar in the Canadian classical music community—its world premiere on Oct. 13 will no doubt be one of the more closely watched events of the season. A stellar cast of international and Canadian singers will add to the excitement which sees the COC debuts of American baritone, Thomas Hampson in the title role; legendary Finnish soprano Karita Mattila as Plotina; the return of Ben Heppner to the opera stage alongside fellow Canadians Isaiah Bell as Antinous, Hadrian’s young lover, and Ambur Braid as Sabina.

Canadian Opera Company 18/19 highlights:

Canadian Opera Company
Karita Mattila (Tatiana) in Robert Carsen’s 2009 Metropolitan Opera staging of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin. Photo: Beatriz Schiller

The local debut of Canadian director Robert Carsen’s stunning production of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin—this is the staging prematurely discarded by Metropolitan Opera that proved to be one of that company’s most successful HD transmissions. In Toronto, it features two Canadian stars: Gordon Bintner in the title role and Joyce El-Khoury as Tatiana.

The winter 2019 season marks a surprisingly quick return for Atom Egoyan’s 2014 production of Mozart’s Così fan tutte featuring the perfectly-cast Tracy Dahl reprising the role of Despina.

Winter also sees the return of COC Brünnhilde, Christine Goerke in the title role of Richard Strauss’ Elektra, also starring the company’s recent triumphant Straussian soprano Erin Wall making her role debut as Chrysothemis.

Canadian Opera Company
Allan Clayton (Cassio), Jonathan Summers (Iago) and Stuart Skelton (Otello) in David Alden’s 2013 ENO staging of Verdi’s Otello. Photo: Alastair Muir

Spring 2019 brings an exciting company role debut for Canadian superstar bass-baritone Gerald Finley as Iago in Verdi’s Otello in a new staging by David Alden that premiered at English National Opera in 2014.

American soprano Angel Blue makes her company debut as Mimì in Puccini’s La bohème (for which she was recently much heralded at Metropolitan Opera)—a role she’ll share with Canadian soprano Miriam Khalil.

COC Music Director Johannes Debus will be back to conduct four of the productions: Eugene OneginHadrianElektra and Otello.

Full details of the season can be found here.