This afternoon I was listening to the CBC radio broadcast of the Canadian Opera Company’s production of Die Zauberflöte from earlier this year. During the interval there was an interview with Michael Schade, the Tamino, where it was pointed out that he had sung the role, in English, in the famous 1991 Opera Atelier production in Toronto and, also, that Russell Braun had sung Papageno in that show. It was the first opera I saw in Toronto, having moved here only a very short time before. I don’t recall who else was in that production and I can’t find a cast list anywhere. Certainly revivals of the production, which I also saw, weren’t quite so packed with future stars. Curiously, the very first Magic Flute I saw, at the Coliseum in August 1975, also featured future stars, then fairly unknown. Felicity Palmer sang Pamina and John Tomlinson sang one of the Men in Armour. It makes me wonder whether we were seeing any stars of the future at the COC this time. Perhaps not with the “A” cast where all the main roles were sung by well established singers but I might watch out for Wallis Giunta, a very talented mezzo, who sang one of the Three Ladies. Also singing as the alternate to Isabel Bayrakdarian as Pamina was Simone Osborne (I saw her in Ensemble Studio performance). She’s also one to watch. You can catch her as Gilda in Rigoletto at the COC starting September 30th.