On August 10, 2020, as part of this year’s digital Montréal Pride Festival, the Canadian Opera Company presented Hadrian
for the first time since its world premiere in 2018.
An original commission from the COC, Hadrian
shines an overdue spotlight on one of history’s greatest queer romances and gives this heartbreaking story the full, grand opera treatment. The production was led by a creative team of Canadian talent, many of whom were able to join us online last night for a fascinating live Q&A
These kinds of new, digital events are an opportunity for us to welcome people from all over the world to enjoy opera in ways that are incredibly intimate and accessible. As we go through this often difficult time together, we are invigorated by these new possibilities for sharing opera’s unique beauty with all of you.
It is also heartening to know that a very bright future of Canadian-led opera awaits us. The COC has two full-length opera commissions in our development pipeline: The Old Fools
by celebrated Montreal-based composer Ana Sokolović
and librettist Paul Bentley
is a deeply touching contemplation of mortality inspired by English poet Philip Larkin’s piece of the same name; and in collaboration with Opéra de Montréal, La Reine-Garçon
, inspired by Sweden’s flamboyant and unconventional Queen Christina, is in the works from innovative Quebec composer Julien Bilodeau
and award-winning writer Michel Marc Bouchard
, artistic producer of lemonTree creations and a member of the COC’s Circle of Artists
, recently directed a production of Michel Marc Bouchard’s play Lilies
with a cast of Indigenous, Black, and culturally diverse artists – reimagining a Canadian queer classic by centring Indigeneity and diverse worldviews. Look for lemonTree’s production of Lilies
when it is presented next August by Théâtre Denise-Pelletier in association with Montréal Pride Festival, Festival international Présence autochtone and Black Theatre Workshop!
Meanwhile, our Composer-in-Residence Ian Cusson
is creating Fantasma
, a completely new opera specifically designed for young audiences, in collaboration with librettist Colleen Murphy
and COC Director/Dramaturg-in-Residence Julie McIsaac
. This past season, Ian also composed a new aria to redress cultural appropriations in Louis Riel
. Set to librettist Mavor Moore’s text, Ian’s reimagined aria is a beautiful hybrid piece, informed by the past while simultaneously creating a new future for this important work.
We are inspired by all of these artists, who are developing innovative ways to tell timeless stories and create a more inclusive stage.
We want to thank each of our partners, members, subscribers, donors, and audience members for making these new works and collaborative performances possible. Your passion and commitment to opera has ensured that music can continue to bring us together, even now.
We look forward to continuing to shape this invigorating artistic future with all of you.
To learn about more events like our Hadrian Watch Party, sign up to receive emails about the COC’s latest digital programs and concerts.
Photo: Michael Cooper