The Canadian Opera Company's new season will focus on Italian works by Bellini, Puccini and Rossini, but the most intriguing offering, next April, will be a new Canadian opera by internationally renowned novelist and playwright Robertson Davies, who wrote the libretto for "The Golden Ass" at the end of his life, for composer Randolph Peters.
At a recent press conference, it was also announced that artistic director Richard Bradshaw has been appointed to the role of general director, which means continuing with his artistic duties while also taking on the overall running of the company. Assisting him with everyday operations is Cathryn Gregor, who will come on board from the music company MCI, as operations manager.
One can be forgiven for wondering how one man can do all that, but the COC's press department assured Playbill he's got the energy for it. And anyone who has met Bradshaw is bound to agree. He speaks with an impassioned commitment that alone should be able to turn the COC into one of the world's foremost ensembles, and he maintains the only thing stopping him is money. Be it government funds (the company has been cut by $1.5 million in grants over the past two-and-half years) or private sector donations (the new opera house needs major cash infusions and there are reports that one donor has withdrawn $20 million), none of Bradshaw's dreams come cheap.
He has declared more than once without strong financial support the COC is danger of becoming a regional company without its own orchestra or chorus. In the meantime, aggressive fundraising continues.
The 1998-99 COC season begins on September 24, 1998, with a production of Bellini's Norma. For further information and subscription information, call: 416-363-6671. By Mira Friedlander