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March, 2006 - Nr. 3


The Editor
Guten Morgen lieber Frühling
Ball Austria 2006
Two by Puccini
KW & Beyond
Scholtes Donates Organ
Zonta's Extravaganza
Dick reports...
Sybille reports
Ham Se det jehört?
Mendelssohn Choir Presents
COC's Norma
Berg's Wozzeck
Kafka and Son
COC Inaugurates Opera House
TSO March Events
Celebrate Mozart Tour
German Events
Kerry Straton Conducts
Cologne Literature Festival
Students Get Active
Mozart in Augsburg
Successful Gardening Show
German World Alliance
Killam Research Fellowships
Munch In Hamburg
International Student Study
Operation Clean Sweep
World Cup Info Shop
Europe's Fastest Computer
Merkel: Equality


Berg’s Wozzeck:
The Haunting Tale Of A Tortured Soul

Toronto, ON – The Canadian Opera Company’s season closes with Alban Berg’s Wozzeck, the tale of a soldier haunted by his experiences on the battlefield and unable to face the harsh realities of life. An extreme fusion of music and theatre that takes opera to the breaking point, Berg’s music drama resonates with a despair that is both universally recognizable and inexorably compelling. Former COC General Director Lotfi Mansouri returns to direct and is joined by current COC General Director Richard Bradshaw who conducts. COC Ring Cycle designer Michael Levine is the set and costume designer of this production. Wozzeck runs March 31 at 7:30 p.m., April 2 at 2 p.m., 5 at 7:30 p.m., 8 at 7:30 p.m., 11 at 7:30 p.m., 13 at 7:30 p.m., 2006 at the Hummingbird Centre for the Performing Arts and is sung in German with English SURTITLES™.

Director Lotfi Mansouri returns after a 16-year absence from the COC with this production, which he created for the company in 1990. Celebrated for his previous designs for the COC, this production of Wozzeck is one of acclaimed designer Michael Levine’s early COC collaborations. The sets and costumes vividly capture the nightmarish world conjured by the libretto and music. Canadian Michael Whitfield praised for his lighting of many COC productions including Falstaff and Madama Butterfly returns to illuminate this production.

Praised by Toronto critics for his previous portrayals of Macbeth, Hunding and Falstaff, distinguished bass-baritone Pavlo Hunka returns as the doomed soldier Wozzeck. Irish soprano Giselle Allen makes her COC debut in this production as Marie, Wozzeck’s unfaithful lover. Tenor Richard Berkeley-Steele makes his Canadian debut as the Drum Major, Marie’s new lover and Wozzeck’s chief tormentor. Tenor Robert Künzli, Mime in last season’s Siegfried, sings the Captain, Wozzeck’s commanding officer. German bass Artur Korn, last seen in the 1990 production of Der Rosenkavalier, returns as the Doctor whose experiments compound Wozzeck’s madness.

Three former COC Ensemble Studio members return; tenor Benoît Boutet is the Fool, mezzo-soprano Allyson McHardy is Margret, a villager who catches Wozzeck’s attention and tenor Stephen McClare is the soldier Andres. Czech bass Zdenĕk Plech, who also appears in Norma, is the First Workman and Ensemble baritone Peter Barrett is the Second Workman.

Based on the play Woyzeck by Georg Büchner, the roots of Berg’s opera stretch back a century before its creation to 1824 when Johann Christian Woyzeck, a soldier, barber and drifter was publicly executed for murder, despite the then novel defense of insanity. Berg conceived the opera in 1914 after seeing a performance of the play, but laboured over it for 11 years and the opera premiered in 1925. Initially Wozzeck attracted only academic curiosity, due not only to its novelty but also its expense, with a production that required 10 sets, a full chorus and a large orchestra. The first full performance was given – after 137 rehearsals – in December 1925 in Berlin.

Wozzeck has now entered the traditional operatic repertoire despite its non-traditional musical language where many recognizable sounds are interwoven into the emotional and expressionistic music including a marching band, folk songs, a tavern song, and a child’s lullaby.

Single tickets for Wozzeck went on sale February 13, 2006 and may be purchased by calling

416-872-2262, online at, or in person at the Hummingbird Centre Box Office

(1 Front St. E., Toronto) or Ticketmaster Outlets. Ticket prices for all performances range from $40 to $175. Special young people’s tickets for all performances throughout the season are priced from $18 to $88. These ticket prices apply to those who are 17 years of age or under, accompanied by and sitting next to an adult. Starting March 25, 2006 at 10 a.m., $18 and $29 tickets are available for patrons between the ages of 18 and 29 through the 18to29: Opera for a New Age program presented by TD Bank Financial Group.


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