Canadian Opera Company

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Canadian Opera Company
Four Seasons Centre from above.jpg
The Four Seasons Centre, home of the Canadian Opera Company.
Location145 Queen Street West
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Coordinates43°39′02″N 79°23′09″W / 43.65056°N 79.38583°W / 43.65056; -79.38583Coordinates: 43°39′02″N 79°23′09″W / 43.65056°N 79.38583°W / 43.65056; -79.38583
TypeOpera house
Seating typeReserved seating
CapacityVariable, approx. 2000–2300
OpenedJune 14, 2006 (2006-06-14)

The Canadian Opera Company (COC) is an opera company in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is the largest opera company in Canada and one of the largest producers of opera in North America. The COC performs in its own opera house, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. For forty years until April 2006, the COC had performed at the O'Keefe Centre (now known as Meridian Hall).


Nicholas Goldschmidt and Herman Geiger-Torel founded the organization in 1950 as the Royal Conservatory Opera Company. Geiger-Torel became the COC's artistic director in 1956 and its general director in 1960. The company was renamed the Canadian Opera Association in 1960, and the Canadian Opera Company in 1977. Geiger-Torel retired from the general directorship in 1976. Lotfi Mansouri was the COC's general director from 1976 to 1988. In 1983, the COC introduced surtitles (supertitles) to their productions, the first company to use them in an opera house. Productions included Joan Sutherland's first performance of Donizetti's Anna Bolena.[1]

Brian Dickie served as the COC's general director from 1988 to 1993. Dickie named Richard Bradshaw the COC's chief conductor and head of music in 1989. Elaine Calder was the COC's general director from 1994 to 1997. In 1998, Bradshaw was named general director.[2] During his tenure, Bradshaw secured funding for the COC's new permanent home, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.[3] Previously, the COC had been performing at the O'Keefe Centre (renamed to the Hummingbird Centre and then the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts).

In 2006, the COC opened its new opera house with an all-new production of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen. Michael Levine was the designer, and there were four directors: Michael Levine (Das Rheingold), Atom Egoyan (Die Walküre), François Girard (Siegfried), and Tim Albery (Götterdämmerung).

In 2006, Bradshaw's contract as general director was renewed for another 10 years. Bradshaw died of a sudden heart attack on August 15, 2007.[3] In June 2008, Alexander Neef was named the COC's general director; he formally assumed the position in October 2008.[4] In October 2008, Johannes Debus made his debut with the COC as a conductor in a production of Prokofiev's War and Peace, where he earned critical acclaim.[5] In January 2009, the COC announced Debus's appointment as music director.[6] Sandra Horst, who runs the University of Toronto's Opera Division,[7] has long served as the company's chorus master.[8]

The 2019/2020 COC theatre season was cut short due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, on which the COC ceased all productions after March 2020 due to restrictions on large indoor gatherings. The COC hoped to restart the shortened 2020/2021 theatre season by January 2021, however on October 6, 2020, company management announced that the entire 2020/2021 COC theatre season was cancelled due to the ongoing pandemic.[9]

Neef became director general of the Paris Opera in September 2020[10] and was replaced by Briton Perryn Leech in March 2021.[11]

Recent productions[edit]

2008/2009 season[edit]

2009/2010 season[edit]

2010/2011 season[edit]

2011/2012 season[edit]

2012/2013 season[edit]

2013/2014 season[edit]

2014/2015 season[edit]

2015/2016 season[edit]

2016/2017 season[edit]

2017/2018 season[edit]

2018/2019 season[edit]

2019/2020 season[edit]

2020/2021 season (cancelled)[edit]

Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian Opera Company cancelled all live in-person performances for the 2020/2021 season.[9]

2021/2022 season[edit]

Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the COC cancelled several planned performances for the 2021/2022 season, but managed to stage two in-person productions in the spring of 2022.

2022/2023 season[edit]

Notable members[edit]


  1. ^ Martin, Sandra (May 29, 1984). "Opera: Joan Sutherland In New Role". The New York Times. Retrieved January 8, 2009.
  2. ^ "Richard Bradshaw of Canadian Opera Company dies at 63". CBC News. August 16, 2007. Retrieved January 8, 2009.
  3. ^ a b Martin, Sandra (August 17, 2007). "Canadian Opera Company's Richard Bradshaw dead at 63". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. Retrieved January 8, 2009.
  4. ^ "COC names German-born Alexander Neef as general director". CBC News. June 25, 2008. Retrieved January 8, 2009.
  5. ^ Everett-Green, Robert (January 17, 2009). "Score one for the COC". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. Retrieved January 18, 2009.
  6. ^ Noakes, Susan (January 7, 2009). "Frankfurt conductor Johannes Debus named COC music director". CBC News. Retrieved January 8, 2009.
  7. ^ "University of Toronto - Faculty of Music - Our People". Retrieved October 10, 2022.
  8. ^ Braun, William R. (July 2009). "The Education of a Chorus: Sandra Horst is chorus master at both Canadian Opera Company and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis". Opera News. Vol. 74, no. 1. Retrieved June 24, 2009.
  9. ^ a b "An Important Update on the COC's 2020/2021 Season" (Press release). Canadian Opera Company. October 6, 2020. Retrieved November 25, 2021.
  10. ^ "Alexander Neef, director of the Paris Opera - L'Opéra de Paris". Opéra national de Paris. Retrieved October 10, 2022.
  11. ^ "Perryn Leech | Canadian Opera Company". Retrieved October 10, 2022.
  12. ^ Frenette, Brad. "Canadian Opera Company to open season with 'Aida'". The National Post. Toronto. Retrieved March 7, 2017.
  13. ^ Chusid, Harvey; Church, Sarah; Spier, Susan (December 8, 2013). Cornelis Opthof. The Canadian Encyclopedia.
  14. ^ "In memoriam Cornelis Opthof (1930–2008)". ( March 22, 2009) The Free Library.

External links[edit]

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