COC Summer VacationBy COC StaffPosted in Summer Vacation
Ever wonder what the COC gets up to over the summer? Here’s a glimpse at what’s keeping General Director Alexander Neef, Music Director Johannes Debus, and Ensemble Studio members past and present busy during these sunnier months.
COC General Director Alexander Neef
After wrapping the COC’s 2018/2019 season here in Toronto, I’ll be headed off to my first season as Artistic Director with Santa Fe Opera. It’s a particularly special one as it marks not only my first summer in this new role but also a company debut for Johannes Debus when he joins us to conduct Jenůfa in July. It will be fun to have him around over the next few months and I look forward to a summer of open air opera!
COC Music Director Johannes Debus
My next destination this summer is the opera festival in beautiful Santa Fe. However until this adventure starts, I’m preparing in Berlin.
Since it will be my first time conducting Jenůfa, some extra work might be required — and yes, I have to get my tongue around Czech. However, I’ve still found a bit of time to do some exploring around Vienna. Ran into this guy Beethoven — maybe you’ve heard of him? He’s kind of a big deal around these parts!
Pianist and Intern Coach Rachael Kerr (COC Ensemble Studio)
I’m looking forward to performing with Toronto Summer Music Festival on opening night at Koerner Hall! Then I leave for my annual stint as a collaborative pianist at Orford Musique in Quebec. Not only is it fulfilling musically, but I get to do some hiking and exploring while I am there!
Soprano Simone Osborne (COC’s Gretel in Hansel & Gretel, 2020) and bass-baritone Gordon Bintner (title role in COC’s Eugene Onegin, 2018)
After closing the season with the Count in The Marriage of Figaro and Der Graf in a new production of Der ferne Klang at Oper Frankfurt, Gordon travelled to British Columbia to join Simone who closed the season with Marguerite in Faust at Vancouver Opera. Together we travelled to the Okanagan region of B.C. to spend time with family on the beautiful Lake Okanagan.
(l-r) COC Ensemble graduates Iain MacNeil and Gordon Bintner
Next we head to Ottawa for a The Marriage of Figaro for Gordon, singing Figaro this time, in a semi-staged production at the National Arts Centre. After Ottawa, we’re headed back to Europe with a quick stop at our home in Frankfurt, Germany and a trip to Venice to celebrate our wedding anniversary.
Finally it’s over to Salzburg, Austria for Gordon to start rehearsals on a new production of Enescu's Oedipe at the Salzburg Festival, while Simone prepares her role debut of Gretel for the COC next season! Our tiny furry companion, Gatsby, will obviously be along for the ride!
Baritone Samuel Chan (Ensemble Studio graduate)
I’m so excited to be starting my summer singing the role of Dr. Falke alongside my COC colleagues Danika Lorèn (performing Adele) and Andrew Haji (performing Alfred), in Saskatoon Opera’s production of Die Fledermaus, which runs from June 15 - 22! Afterwards, I’ll be singing at the Festival of the Sound in Parry Sound as part of their Viennese Opera Gala in July, and in August, I’ll be returning to Torreon, Mexico, to sing with the non-profit Cantos para hermanar al Mundo, an organization that works to bring opera to Northern Mexico.
Bass-baritone Joel Allison (COC Ensemble Studio)
I started the summer with the Toronto Bach Festival and am off to the Salzburg Festival through June and July to be a part of their Young Singers Project, where I will be one of just two Canadians participating! I will be singing the role of Roland Angeler in the new opera for kids, Der Gesang der Zauberinsel. The COC has had a very regular presence here, with other Ensemble Studio graduates, such as Gordon Bintner, Andrew Haji, and Claire de Sévigné, having also taken part in this program in previous years.
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Photo credits: Alexander Neef, Johannes Debus, Rachael Kerr, Samuel Chan headshots by Gaetz Photography.