The 6 Must-See Performers of the Canadian Opera Company 2018-19 Season

By David Salazar

The Canadian Opera Company has announced its 2018-19 season, which will feature six operas.

Every opera is undeniably the sum of all its parts, but there is certainly a lot to be said about how one performer can become the big story for his or her upcoming showcase. Here is a look at the six exciting singers to keep an eye for in this upcoming season of the COC. 

Joyce El-Khoury – Eugene Onegin

The soprano is quickly becoming one of the best-known in the world, recently replacing Nadine Sierra in London for a new production “La Bohème.” Now she takes on the role of Tatiana in Canada with a solid cast and an opportunity to fully cement herself as one of opera’s top talents. Her lyric soprano seems a perfect fit for the elegance and passion of Tchaikovsky’s music.

Ben Heppner – Hadrian

Rufus Wainwright’s new opera has a superstar cast that includes Thomas Hampson, and Karita Mattila. But the singer we are excited to see is Ben Heppner, who is coming out of retirement to take on the role of Dinarchus. How does Heppner sound after so many years away from the stage? That will be exciting to hear.

Christine Goerke – Elektra 

At this present moment, Goerke is the leading Elektra around the world. So any opportunity to see her in her signature role is simply must-see material. She’s making the rounds in Houston and the Met, so her Canadian Opera appearance should feature her more confident and seasoned in the role. And that is always a great thing.

Ben Bliss – Così Fan Tutte 

The tenor, who is making his COC debut, is growing into a household name with his elegant lyrical style and simply delightful tonal quality. He’s a natural for Mozart and should fit in with a youthful cast in this seminal Mozart classic.

Angel Blue – La Bohème 

Blue is growing into an international superstar and her Mimì garnered her some of her finest reviews out of the Metropolitan Opera this past fall. The entire cast of the Puccini masterpiece is undeniably appealing, but Blue, who is making her COC debut, should stand out in a big way.

Russell Thomas – Otello

Thomas is an ideal Verdi tenor and his first foray into the Verdi masterwork was greeted with a solid reception out of Atlanta. How he handles this staged production will tell us a ton about his future as an Otello interpreter. Thomas himself has noted that his approach to the work is to stick very closely to the score. Should be fun to see what that turns out to be.