I was just getting accustomed to 2020. But uh-oh now I’ve got a new number to mess up right in the hashtag #2021COC.

Luckily we can hide in 2020 for at least a few months.

The Canadian Opera Company announced their next season tonight in a ceremonial event complete with a smudging ceremony and performances from soloists & the COC orchestra. It’s partly a sales-pitch for anyone hesitant, including a special opportunity to get a free subscription if you make your renewal by midnight.

And then there’s the drama of Alexander Neef’s last year as General Director before he goes to the Paris Opera. We won’t see him too many more times, will we…?

So what’s in the new season?

We begin with the one we already knew about namely François Girard’s production of Wagner’s Parsifal, already seen at the Metropolitan Opera & Opéra National de Lyon.

A scene from the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Parsifal, 2013 (photo: Ken Howard)

Tonight the sample from Act I that we heard, while well-played made it crystal clear: you really do need those 110 players in the orchestra, as the version from tonight sounded thin & makeshift. I know that it will sound splendid when properly prepared.

The other fall 2020 opera is Klaus Guth’s production of Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro that was seen back in February 2016. We’ll see Russell Braun reprise his role as the Count, opposite Emily D’Angelo as Cherubino.

Winter offers a pair of operas named for the tragic heroine. We’ll see Joel Ivany’s production of Bizet’s Carmen reprised, and a new to the COC production of Janacek’s Katya Kabanova directed by David Alden.

Spring offers the opportunity to hear Sondra Radvanovsky’s Violetta opposite Joseph Calleja’s Alfredo in Arin Arbus’s production of Verdi’s La Traviata seen here in 2015. The other spring opera is the minimalist Robert Carsen production of Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice seen here in the spring of 2011.

I’ll bite, certainly happy to renew my subscription, as I’m hopeful that this will be a season of good box office returns for the COC.

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