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How Canadian should the Canadian Opera Company be?

How Canadian should the Canadian Opera Company be?

April 24, 2012

"Wanted: an opera lover with a keen interest in new music, deep pockets and a big Canadian heart.

Assignment: donate $1-million to help the Canadian Opera Company live up to its name by producing a new Canadian opera.

The COC is an international-calibre opera company that routinely sells out houses with powerful productions of European classics. Tuesday, it launches the final performances of its current season with Tales of Hoffman by the 19th-century French composer Jacques Offenbach, but it has been 13 years since the company programmed a piece of music written by a Canadian in its main venue. Subscribers seldom demand new opera, let alone opera specifically composed by a Canadian, but in the music community, the lack of Canadian work at the COC is a subject of heated debate. Many see the issue not as one of nationalism but as one of vitality: The company needs to be working with living composers and librettists, and adding to contemporary repertoire..."