COC Season Reveal 2020/21

My predictions were rubbish but we’ll come back to that.  There are two new productions in the upcoming season; Parsifal, which had already been announced and Janáček’s Káťa Kabanová  in a David Alden production with Amanda Majeski in the title role.  This is great.  It’s been far too long since Janáček featured at the COC.


There are four revivals.  The Carsen production of Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice with Iestyn Davies in the title role supported by Anna Sophie Neher and Mireille Asselin.  Also good news.  The surprise is the other three revivals; all of which featured in the 2015/16 season and which I didn’t consider in my prediction post because I thought it was too soon to bring back any of them, let alone all three.

Any way all three are warhorses.  There’s Guth’s production of Marriage of Figaro, the Joel Ivany Carmen and Arin Arbus’ “frocks and furniture” La Traviata.  I do hope we are not moving into an era when half the productions in a season come from the Operabase “Top Ten”.  On the brighter side some of the casting is interesting.  Carmen has J’nai Bridges and Michael Fabiano.  Traviata has Sondra Radvanovsky and Josef Calleja.

In other news a new “opera for young people”; Fantasma, was announced.  The music will be by Ian Cusson with libretto by Colleen Murphy which should make for something interesting.  There’s also a new programme for “young patrons” called Vox.  Apparently young now means under 40.  I’m not sure at what point “young person’s” privileges at the opera will overlap with a free bus pass but it can’t be far away.

As to the evening itself; an unusually elaborate land acknowledgement and smudging ceremony preceded the main action.  Simone Osborne MC’d.  I suspect this was a pretty late change since she was giving her tickets to the event away a couple of days ago (ETA: Apparently not – always intended for the role, see comments.)  She was excellent.

She also sang the newly composed replacement opening to Act 3 of Louis Riel.  This was to replace the problematic Kulyas of which the tale has been told here before.  The music is by Ian Cusson to Mavor Moore’s original text.  It’s very beautiful and pays homage to Harry Somers in a very subtle way.  The performance by Simone and orchestra was excellent.  There were also performances of arias from the three “money shows” by Jamie Groote, Joel Allison and Matthew Cairns.  All were very good.

Then it was onto the post show bun fight at which I am nowhere near aggressive enough.  It’s definitely not the second rat who gets the cheese at these events.  Anyway the ravening hordes left the Four Seasons Centre strewn with ravaged cheese platters that looked curiously like the set of François Girard’s Parsifal.

So to summarize the season:

Fall – Parsifal and Marriage of Figaro plus Fantasma in December

Winter – Carmen and Káťa Kabanová

Spring – La Traviata and Orfeo ed Euridice.

4 thoughts on “COC Season Reveal 2020/21

  1. I’m getting really fed up with all the repeats so for the last three years I have just taken the four opera subscription. Next season it may be just three.

  2. I’m quite enthusiastic about this season. I’ve been waiting the better part of a decade for the COC to actually stage that Parsifal co-pro. At that length, I hope I’ll come into some money this summer so I can afford a seat rather than my usual standing room! I share everyone’s surprise/reservations about all the retreads of recent productions but since two of them (the Carsen and the Guth) are among my favourite COC shows, I’ll live with it. Also, I am so looking forward to that Janacek!

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