It’s showtime. As many provinces return to full-capacity events this month, indoor entertainment is finally reviving. For Canadian opera lovers, March offers an abundance of productions and activities—everything from virtual panels to world premieres to reimagined classics. There are plenty of good options to enjoy – and fingers crossed! – this is only the beginning.
Here are ten productions you won’t want to miss this month:
1. Feb 28 – March 26 – The Metropolitan Opera, Don Carlos
Canadian conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts The Met’s much-anticipated house premiere of Verdi’s French-language Don Carlos, which features a stellar cast including Canadian baritone Étienne Dupuis (Rodrigue) and bass John Relyea (Grand Inquisitor). Performances run to March 26, with a Live in HD cinema screening scheduled for that last performance. Tickets are available here.
2. March 8 – Association for Opera in Canada, International Women’s Day Panel
To celebrate International Women’s Day, the Association for Opera in Canada will host a panel Lunch n’ Learn discussion with some of Canada’s leading female opera leaders, including Debi Wong, Cheryl Hickman, Christina Loewen and Jennifer Szeto. Registration for the event is free, you can sign up here.
3. March 9 to 12 – Canadian Opera Company, Fantasma
Don’t miss the world premiere of a new opera by former COC Composer-in-Residence Ian Cusson, with libretto by acclaimed playwright Colleen Murphy. The production explores themes of death, violence, compassion and the courage to insist on being heard. Directed by former COC Director/Dramaturg-in-Residence Julie McIsaac, Fantasma features graduate Ensemble Studio artists including: sopranos Jamie Groote (Léa), Midori Marsh (Ivy), Charlotte Siegel (Manon) and tenor Owen McCausland (Emile), among others. Get your tickets here.
4. March 11 & 12 – Tapestry Opera, Songbook XI
American baritone Jorell Williams headlines this concert, alongside pianist and Women in Musical Leadership Conductor Jennifer Tung. The pair are joined by some of Canada’s up-and-coming opera voices to perform pieces from Tapestry’s back-catalogue. Tickets are general admission, get yours here.
5. March 11 to 23 – Pacific Opera Victoria, The Italian Lesson & Bon Appétit!
Live music, chocolate cake, and 1950s cooking…oh my! Pacific Opera returns to live performance with a delightful opera double-bill, The Italian Lesson & Bon Appétit, two one-woman operas composed by Lee Hoiby. Mezzo-soprano Megan Latham performs both roles, accompanied by Kimberly-Ann Bartczak on piano. The Italian Lesson explores 1920s New York café society, while Bon Appétit immerses you in 1950’s Boston for an unforgettable visit to Julia Child’s kitchen. Tickets available here.
6. March 12 & 13 – UBC Opera, Shadow Catch
Daphne Marlatt’s libretto, set by composers Dorothy Chang, Benton Roark, Jennifer Butler and Farshid Samandari, is about a young runaway who ends up in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Over the course of a night in Oppenheimer Park, he encounters four troubled ghosts from the area’s past. Featuring the UBC Opera Ensemble with Jonathan Girard at the podium, this beautiful tale explores not only Vancouver’s historical and cultural background, but also how to confront one’s greatest fears and regrets. Performances take place at UBC’s Old Auditorium — get tickets here.
7. March 16 & 18 – Glenn Gould School, Rinaldo
Students at the Glenn Gould School in Toronto mount two performances of Handel’s Rinaldo at the Royal Conservatory of Music’s Koerner Hall. Staged by director Tom Diamond, the Baroque masterpiece will feature Tafelmusik Chamber Choir’s Ivars Taurins on the podium. Tickets start at $25 and are available here.
8. March 19, 22 & 25 – Edmonton Opera, Così fan tutte
Don’t miss this witty, reimagined rendition of Mozart’s classic, directed by Kim Matice Wanat and featuring the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Cosette Justo Valdés. The production showcases a cast of established Canadian voices, including sopranos Caitlin Wood (Despina) and Jennifer Taverner (Fiordiligi), mezzo-soprano Stephanie Tritchew (Dorabella), tenor Asitha Tennekoon (Ferrando) and baritone Clarence Frazer (Gugliemo). Get tickets here.
9. March 27 to April 24 – Against the Grain Theatre, Bound
AtG’s latest hybrid opera-film explores four stories that challenge Canada’s myth of belonging. The narratives are tied together by themes in Handel’s enduring music, sung by a cast of celebrated voices that includes soprano Miriam Khalil, tenor Andrew Haji, baritone Justin Welsh, and, making her AtG and Canadian debut, American trans woman lyric soprano Breanna Sinclairé. Register to watch free here, donations are encouraged to AtG.
10. March 27 to April 12 – La Scala, Don Giovanni
Canadian mezzo-soprano Emily D’Angelo returns to Milan’s La Scala with her role debut as Donna Elvira in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, staged by Canadian director Robert Carsen. Pablo Heras-Casado will conduct. Tickets available here.