• Anatomy of an Opera: Peter Grimes

    By Danielle D'Ornellas

    Peter Grimes

    This fall, alongside Puccini's romantic La Bohème, the Canadian Opera Company presents Benjamin Britten's powerful opera, Peter Grimes. Starring legendary tenor Ben Heppner in the title role, and Ensemble Studio graduate soprano Ileana Montalbetti as Ellen Orford, this production marks the first COC performance of Peter Grimes in a decade, and the first staging of the opera at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. 

    The story of Peter Grimes is based on the "Peter Grimes" section of George Crabbe's epic poem The Borough (to honour the man who gave birth to the character, Britten wrote Crabbe in as a silent character in the opera) and the opera deals with village life, persecution and hope. In 2013, the opera is experiencing a surge of interest due to the 100th anniversary of Britten's birth, most notably an interesting staging at the Aldeburgh Festival (where Crabbe was born and Britten lived) with Peter Grimes staged outside on the beach

    To better understand Britten's seminal work, watch our Peter Grimes Anatomy of an Opera video below.

     

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  • Artist Basics: Ileana Montalbetti

    By Danielle D'Ornellas

    What she's doing with us: Ensemble Studio graduate Ileana Montalbetti returns to the COC to star alongside world-famous tenor Ben Heppner in Peter Grimes. The Saskatchewan native makes her role debut as Ellen Orford, the town school teacher and one of Grimes' few friends.

    Where you might have seen her: While she was in the Ensemble Studio, Ileana performed in mainstage performances of La Cenerentola, Maria Stuarda and Death in Venice. Last season she returned to the COC to understudy the roles of Leonora in Il Trovatore and Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus and gave two Free Concert Series performances. Since graduating from the Ensemble Studio in June 2012, Ileana has made her Edmonton Opera debut as Antonia in The Tales of Hoffmann, and performed as Leonore in Fidelio at the Michigan Opera Theatre. 

    Her background: After completing undergraduate studies at the University of Manitoba, Ileana continued to hone her skills at the University of Toronto, graduating from the opera diploma program. She also studied at the Chautauqua Institute and completed two fellowships at the Tanglewood Music Centre in addition to the four years she spent in the COC Ensemble Studio.

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