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March 2011 - Nr. 3

Toronto, Ontario – The Canadian Opera Company’s spring 2010/2011 season continues with one of Richard Strauss’s most brilliant operas, Ariadne auf Naxos. The legendary Sir Andrew Davis conducts the COC Orchestra in this masterful madcap melodrama, performed by a sublime cast led by Canadian stars, soprano Adrianne Pieczonka and tenor Richard Margison and staged by award-winning Australian director Neil Armfield. Ariadne auf Naxos runs for eight performances at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts on April 30, May 3, 12, 15, 18, 21, 27 and 29, 2011, and is sung in German with English SURTITLES™.

The backstage antics that make up the Prologue of Strauss’s opera-within-an-opera are just a precursor to the second half’s onstage expressions of love, loss and spiritual transformation. When an opera company and a commedia dell’arte group are forced to perform the opera “Ariadne auf Naxos” together, comedy, romance and drama clash as the rival companies pick up the tale from where the Greek myth leaves off, with Ariadne abandoned on an island, longing for death.

Singing the role of the opera company’s Prima Donna as well as the role of Ariadne is the soprano critics have called “one of the most important artists working today” (Seen and Heard International), Adrianne Pieczonka. She returns to the COC in a role that has brought her great acclaim in Munich and Vienna. Richard Margison returns as the Tenor/Bacchus, one of the most demanding roles in the tenor repertoire and one that has brought him great success at the Metropolitan Opera. Exciting young Canadian coloratura Jane Archibald is the leader of the commedia dell’arte troupe, Zerbinetta, a role which has earned her ecstatic reviews across Europe. Renowned British mezzo-soprano Alice Coote makes her COC debut as the Composer, a role in which she has been called “simply electrifying” (The Daily Telegraph).

Sir Andrew Davis, Lyric Opera of Chicago’s music director and principal conductor as well as conductor laureate of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, makes his much-anticipated COC conducting debut guiding Strauss’s beautiful, lush melodic score. Joining Davis in leading the creative team is multiple award-winning director Neil Armfield, last with the COC for 2009’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and 2001’s Billy Budd.

Several graduates of the COC Ensemble Studio return to the company with this production: baritone Peter Barrett, fresh from performances in the COC’s acclaimed presentation of The Nightingale and Other Short Fables at BAM and a Metropolitan Opera debut in Don Pasquale, is the Harlequin; mezzo-soprano Lauren Segal, Nancy T’sang in the COC’s acclaimed Nixon in China, is Dryad; and soprano Teiya Kasahara, also heard in the COC’s The Nightingale and Other Short Fables at BAM, is Echo. Baritone Doug MacNaughton, Elviro in 1999’s Xerxes, returns as a Lackey, and tenor Roger Honeywell, last with the COC in 2005’s Macbeth and garnering acclaim across the U.S. for performances with Lyric Opera of Chicago and Glimmerglass Opera as well as the opera companies of Philadelphia, St. Louis and Minnesota, is an Officer.

Current members of the Ensemble Studio tenor Christopher Enns, bass Michael Uloth, soprano Simone Osborne and baritone Adrian Kramer – all of whom won over audiences with their recent performances in the COC’s The Magic Flute – take to the mainstage in supporting roles as Scaramuccio, Truffaldino, Naiad and the Wig-Maker, respectively.

Rounding out the cast are tenor John Easterlin, Monostatos in this winter’s The Magic Flute, as Brighella and the Dancing Master and baritone Richard Stilwell, the “best type of American singing actor,” (New York Times), as the Music Master.

With Ariadne auf Naxos, Neil Armfield reunites with A Midsummer Night’s Dream’s set and costume designer Dale Ferguson to explore the emotional core found beneath this opera’s layers of comedy and irony, using elements of realism and abstraction to visually distinguish the two halves of this piece. Paul Woodfield recreates Tim Mitchell’s original lighting design, and choreography is by Denni Sayers, most recently the movement director for the 2009 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This production of Ariadne auf Naxos comes to the COC courtesy of Welsh National Opera and was first staged by Armfield in 2004.

Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos was first performed in Stuttgart in 1912. Following some revisions, a second version premiered in Vienna in 1916, becoming the standard repertory version performed to this day.


Tickets for Ariadne auf Naxos are available online at, by calling 416-363-8231 or in person at the
Four Seasons Centre Box Office (145 Queen St. W., Toronto). Ticket prices range from $62 to $281, plus applicable taxes.

NEW THIS SEASON: Standing Room
Standing Room tickets for only $12 go on sale at 11 a.m. on the morning of each performance at the
Four Seasons Centre Box Office. Limit of two tickets per person. Subject to availability.

Young People
Special young people’s tickets are priced from $31 to $95, plus applicable taxes. These ticket prices apply to those who are 15 years of age or under, accompanied by and sitting next to an adult.

Opera for a New Age
Patrons between the ages of 16 and 29 may purchase $22 Opera for a New Age tickets as of Saturday,
April 9, 2011 at 10 a.m., online at or in person at the Four Seasons Centre Box Office. Opera for a New Age is presented by TD Bank Financial Group.

Student Group Tickets
Student group tickets are $22 per student and may be purchased by calling 416-306-2356.

Rush Seats
Rush seats, starting at $22 and subject to availability, go on sale at 11 a.m. on the morning of each performance at the Four Seasons Centre Box Office.

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