The final Opening Night, a Mozart salute that blends music and documentary, will air tonight on the network at 9 p.m. (Eastern time). The program features Bernard Labadie conducting the Quebec ensemble Les Violons du Roy in Mozart's Requiem with soloists John Fanning, Colin Balzer, H_lne Guilmette and Michle Losier.
For seven consecutive seasons the low-rated but award-winning show has offered ballet, classical music and opera to Canadians.
"If this isn't what the CBC mandate [as a publicly funded broadcaster] is all about, then what is?" the Star quotes executive producer Robert Sherrin as saying. "We were cancelled because of our small ratings, it wasn't a money matter at all. We have the most enthusiastic audience of any CBC show, but ratings-wise we can't compete."
Termination notices were issued this morning to the five remaining CBC employees in the Opening Night unit in Toronto as well as to 41 other CBC employees across Canada working on other discontinued programs.
According to the Star, some staff received letters from rural viewers who value the program because they'd never be able to see a live opera or ballet.
CBC has instead picked up various sitcoms and reality shows.