Toronto is known for its’ fast paced environment of bright lights, towering buildings and that classic Canadian feeling of acceptance. The city has its’ CN tower and sports teams, Eaton Centre and waterfront however what isn’t always highlighted is Toronto’s flourishing art scene. Most importantly, the Canadian Opera Company.
Opera is an old art but there is a reason that it has thrived for centuries.
Toronto’s opera community is a strong part of the city’s art scene and it should be taken advantage of in every traveller’s itinerary. It isn’t just an oeuvre but it’s an event, a night with so much thought put into every detail that you will remember it for years to come.
The COC is great for their renditions of pieces and in all my years I have not been disappointed. Every member of the production is passionate about their part and about the work they produce. It is seen from every perfect music cue and strategic lighting of the act.
From the set to the music, costumes and staging, opera is more than just singing.
The layout of the opera house resembles a contemporary Scandinavian amphitheater. The beauty of the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts is worthy of the operas performed with glass walls looking onto University ave. The architecture of the Four Seasons is enough of an incentive to stop and enjoy an opera on your trip to Toronto.
If you’re a spontaneous traveller like me and prefer to do things spur of the moment, then rush tickets are the thing for you. You arrive at the Box Office at 11:00 a.m. on the day of the opera to buying tickets that haven’t been sold yet. The seats are usually in the higher levels or standing room but if you can bear it standing room is the way to go. They are seats that are typically on the sides with a cushion to lean on, ranging from $12 or less and for an opera there is no better deal that that.
When going to a COC production they have a Pre Performance Chat that discusses the composer, content and small details that you would never realise. It’s 45 minutes before the opera and well worth the time as speakers are all highly educated on that specific opera. The speakers explain the opera while playing clips of the performance, their eyes lighting up at the particularly fascinating facts. It’s the passion of the speakers that add another intangible component to the COC productions.
The opera is a chance to slow down and enjoy a true Torontonian experience. It’s the time when you get to break out your long dress that stays in closet, wear those heels you had to buy for some reason and take candid photos in Toronto’s bustling art scene.
Growing up in Toronto the COC has always been an cherished part of my year. My parents would buy us opera subscriptions for our birthdays and that meant every few months we would dress up and watch a classic piece that people have enjoyed for centuries. The Four Seasons isn’t just about the opera, it’s about memories that you will carry with you long after you leave Toronto.
The COC ensures that every aspect of the event is memorable for the viewer. Whether it’s the speakers who become excited when discussing a particular cadenza, the sets that shift and evolve with the act, or it’s sitting on the wooden stairs between acts with a glass of wine while you look over Toronto’s busy streets, the opera is essential when wanting the true Torontonian experience.