Canadian Opera Company

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).

Canadian Opera Company
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
TypeOpera house
Seating typeReserved seating
CapacityVariable, approx. 2000–2300
OpenedJune 14, 2006 (2006-06-14)


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 the appointment of Johannes Debus as the company's music director.[6] Pianist and vocal coach Sandra Horst currently serves as the company's chorus master.[7]

Recent Productions

2008/2009 season

2009/2010 season

2010/2011 season

2011/2012 season

2012/2013 season

2013/2014 season

2014/2015 season

2015/2016 season

2016/2017 season

2017/2018 season

2018/2019 season

2019/2020 season

Notable members


  1. Sandra Martin (May 29, 1984). "Opera: Joan Sutherland In New Role". 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. Sandra Martin (August 17, 2007). "Canadian Opera Company's Richard Bradshaw dead at 63". Globe and Mail. Canada. Retrieved January 8, 2009.
  4. "COC names German-born Alexander Neef as general director". CBC News. June 25, 2008. Retrieved January 8, 2009.
  5. Robert Everett-Green (January 17, 2009). "Score one for the COC". Globe and Mail. Canada. Retrieved January 18, 2009.
  6. Susan Noakes (January 7, 2009). "Frankfurt conductor Johannes Debus named COC music director". CBC News. Retrieved January 8, 2009.
  7. William R. Braun (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. 74 (1). Retrieved June 24, 2009.
  8. Frenette, Brad. "Canadian Opera Company to open season with 'Aida'". National Post. Retrieved March 7, 2017.
  9. The Encyclopedia of Music in Canada
  10. "In memoriam Cornelis Opthof (1930–2008)" ( March 22, 2009) The Free Library

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