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Robert Carsen

Save the Date: the Canadian Opera Company’s 2012/13 Season

The Four Seasons Centre is sure to fill up for the COC's seven 2012/13 productions

The title of this post is a little misleading. In actual fact, we encourage you to save multiple dates—the Canadian Opera Company this morning announced its 2012/13 season lineup of seven classic and modern works. With so many big-name Canadian singers and directors headlining the program, we can no doubt look forward to an amazing few months of drama and music.

Giuseppe Verdi’s Il Trovatore kicks off the season at the Four Seasons Centre on September 29. The story of a vengeful gypsy and her son’s romance with a noblewoman has captivated audiences for more than 150 years—the COC’s production is likely to continue that trend. In particular we’re counting on a fiery appearance by Mexican tenor Ramón Vargas in the lead role of Manrico.

Later, look for arguably Canada’s most famous opera singer, Ben Heppner, when he performs his signature role in Wagner’s grandiose saga Tristan und Isolde. The company’s first show for a shiny new 2013 (opening January 29), it’s conducted by celebrated Czech maestro Jiri Belohlavek and helmed by world-renowed director Peter Sellars, whose incorporation of imagery by video artist Bill Viola makes this staging truly contemporary.

Speaking of acclaimed directors, following on the heels of his theatrical work for the Canadian Stage Company’s Cruel and Tender (on now), Atom Egoyan takes another break from film with an adaptation of Salome (opening April 21, 2013) Richard Strauss’s one-act opera based on Oscar Wilde’s play of the same name.

The best is perhaps saved for last when the COC’s 63rd season wraps up in May 2013 with Francis Poulenc’s haunting Dialogues des Carmelites, said to contain one of opera’s most devastating yet memorable finales. Toronto-born, internationally celebrated director Robert Carsen returns to the Four Seasons Centre for a third consecutive year (his recent productions of Orfeo ed Euridice and Iphigenia in Tauris were hailed by critics and audiences alike). The bar is raised even higher thanks to a cast that includes a marquee pair of Canadian sopranos, Isabel Bayrakdarian and Adrianne Pieczonka.

Hot Date: Iphigenia’s Operactic Opener

Susan Graham in Iphigenia in Tauris

SEPTEMBER 22 TO OCTOBER 15 The dramatic voice of world-leading mezzo-soprano Susan Graham opens the new season of the Canadian Opera Company in Christoph Willibald Gluck’s Iphigenia in Tauris. Director Robert Carsen’s production of this lyrical tragedy has been acclaimed in London, Chicago and Madrid, and also features performances from Canadian opera stars Russell Braun and Joseph Kaiser. With a refined score and an emotional twist, it’s sure to emulate the success of the COC’s recent spring engagement of Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, $45 to $318; call 416-363-8231 or visit here for showtimes and tickets.