Christine Goerke debuts as Brünnhilde at COC.

Christine Goerke made her stage debut as Brünnhilde last night in Atom Egoyan’s production of Die Walküre at the COC.  She didn’t disappoint.  It’s a big voice with ringing high notes that ping over the orchestra.  No scooping on the high notes either.  She’s probably the next great Brünnhilde and that’s probably what last night will best be remembered for.  With all the Elektras in her calendar it may also be a a case of “catch it while you can”.  The rest of the singing was pretty distinguished too.  Johan Reuter was a firm toned, perfectly solid Wotan.  Heidi Melton, from beginning to end, was a wonderful Sieglinde to listen to; accurate, sweet of tone (for a dramatic soprano) and almost matching Goerke for power.  Clifton Forbis, the Siegmund, still has genuine Helden high notes and was pleasant to listen to.  One might have wished for a slightly more ardent approach to the Winterstürme scene but it was more than decent.  Dimitry Ivaschshenko was a genuine solid bass Hunding who sounded just right and acted more, and better, than most. Janina Baechle made the most of her cameo as Fricka.  The octet of junior Valkyries, made up of mostly younger singers, injected some youthful vigour into the whole enterprise to good effect.  Johannes Debus in the pit impressed as a Wagnerian once more with a tightly structured and, at appropriate points, opulent reading of the score.  The COC orchestra, always admirable, as so often last night pulled out their best for Johannes.  So, admirable music making.

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The COC’s 2014/15 season announced

Russell Braun as Don Giovanni - Photo Credit Javier del Real

Russell Braun as Don Giovanni – Photo Credit Javier del Real

Yesterday evening saw the announcement of the line up for the COC’s 2014/15 season.  The usual rather prosaic press conference was replaced with a glitzy reception and main stage show featuring Brent Bambury of the COC interviewing Alexander Neef, Johannes Debus and others plus piano accompanied performances by Simone Osborne, Russel Braun, Robert Gleadow, Charlotte Burrage and Aviva Fortunata.

There were few surprises, in itself no surprise given the number of official and unofficial “leaks” this time around.  There are three productions new to Toronto, all COC copros, and three revivals so it’s an “all COC” season with no rentals or other imports.  Here’s what’s coming up:

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