La Scena Musicale

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Canadian Opera Company's 2008-09 Season

Just returned from the COC press conference of the 2008-09 season, which will prove to be very interesting. Three premieres and the return of a couple of 'old standards'. Here is the line-up:

Fall Season (Oct.) opens with Don Giovanni, with Brett Polegato in the title role. He sang the Don successfully two seasons ago for Vancouver. Also starring Robert Pomakov (Leporello), Jessica Muirhead (Anna), Julie Makerov (Elvira) Virginia Hatfield (Zerlina), Gordon Gietz (Ottavio). Very interesting casting, although I thought Makerov and Muirhead could switch roles. William Lacey conducts. This is paired with War and Peace. When I interviewed Richard Bradshaw in 2006, he told me the COC had already 'bought into' the ENO production but didn't have the money at the time to do it. This will be an important premiere. Russell Braun will be Prince Andrei - inspired casting! Lots of Russians in the cast. It is good to have Judith Forst back as Akhrosimova. No conductor announced.

Winter Season (Jan - Feb) will have Fidelio with Adrianne Pieczonka and Jon Villars as Leonore and Florestan. Also back are Gidon Saks and Mats Almgren. Great cast! Also of interest is the Canadian premiere of Rusalka, starring Julie Makerov and Michael Schade. No conductor announced. I seem to recall this was done in concert form before, but I am sure it is the staged premiere.

Spring Season (April - May) Simon Boccanegra, last done by COC in 1979. No Simon announced. Amelia is Serena Farnocchia, a role tailor-made for her. Also back are Mikhail Agafonov and Philip Ens. Boheme is back in a new production - finally we are rid of the old Wolfram Skalici production that necessitated 3 intermissions! The cast is almost all Canadians, with Frederique Vezina, David Pomeroy, Peter Barrett, and Robert Gleadow. The season ends with Britten's Midsummer Night's Dream, with countertenor Lawrence Zazzo as Oberon. I think Zazzo was engaged for Rodelinda before but cancelled. He is someone to look forward to. A strange bit of casting is Wolfgang Holzmair as Demetrius. Also featured are Giselle Allen and Robert Gleadow. Robert Pomakov as Bottom - also a rather unconventional choice!

I am sorry some names are missing - such as Michael Colvin, Isabel Bayrakdarian, and Ewa Podles - regulars and audience favourites from past seasons. Also, where is Gerald Finley, Measha Brueggergosman, and James Westman? it's about time we have these great Canadian singers, who are singing all over, on our own stages.

> Canadian Opera Company Website

> LSM Spotlight: Other 2008-09 Season Announcements

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