Toronto City Opera? While the name is new to me, reading the history I see the lineage, going back over forty years to the legacy of Giuseppe Macina’s Toronto Opera Repertoire.
You can read more of their history here.
This continues the tradition of building an educational experience from out of music & theatre, singing & staging an opera. There are lots of people in the chorus having the time of their lives, while a few soloists enact the actual story.
Tonight they opened their production of La traviata at the intimate Al Green Theatre, the first of three performances led by the team of Artistic Director & conductor Jennifer Tung, pianist & music director Ivan Jovanovic, and Alaina Viau as Stage Director.
After reading TCO’s mission from their website I’d have to say that they have fulfilled their goals.
Toronto City Opera is passionately committed to opera for everyone. We give young professionals a chance to perform principal roles with coaching in musicianship and stagecraft. We give our amateur choristers inspiration and skills, so that they too can perform in a fully staged opera. And for our community we provide affordable access to this grand synthesis of music, drama, dance, and design to raise up the human spirit of everyone it touches.
The production is somewhat modernized, but without harming the story. While I was caught up in the happy vibe during the two party scenes (including a large and enthusiastic chorus), we still achieved the tragic effect at the end. Most importantly everyone seemed to have a really good time, and Verdi was along for the ride.
If you’re looking for a good community theatre experience, I recommend this without reservation, especially if you’d rather sing Verdi or Mozart instead of Rogers & Hammerstein. Soloists have to audition, and are on a different educational level than the chorus members. I was pleasantly surprised that the music was presented with a great deal of cohesion & discipline.
For further information, including pictures from past productions and contact information, here’s their website.