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Avril Sequeira, Director of Public Relations

Kristin McKinnon, Publicist and Content Producer 


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    By Public Relations
    Read the PDF version here.

    Toronto – Opera’s reigning queen of bel canto, Canadian-American soprano Sondra Radvanovsky, returns to the Canadian Opera Company this spring to close its 2017/2018 season with Donizetti’s Tudor drama, Anna Bolena. Last performed at the COC in 1984, the opera captures the tumultuous final days of Henry VIII’s second wife, Anne Boleyn, as she fights for her honour and her life. Anna Bolena runs for nine performances on April 28, May 3, 5, 8, 11, 16, 20, 24, 26, 2018.

    With this sumptuous new production from acclaimed British director Stephen Lawless, the COC completes its Donizetti Tudor Trilogy, which began with Maria Stuarda in 2010 and continued with Roberto Devereux in 2014, where Radvanovsky earned raves for her portrayal of Elisabetta. Queen Elizabeth I is a common presence across all three works; Lawless and his team made sure she was not only seen on stage but felt through the many Elizabethan references that include set design inspired by Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and lavish period costumes that were popular during her reign. 

    Anna Bolena is a showpiece for an extraordinary soprano. In fact, despite the enduring cultural fascination with the queen’s untimely end and the opera's immediate popularity upon its premiere, it was rarely performed in the early 20th century due to the difficulty of casting the vocally demanding title role. Having mastered the bel canto repertoire, Radvanovsky returns to the COC as Anna Bolena on the heels of her much-heralded portrayal all three Donizetti queens in a single season at the Metropolitan Opera. The New York Times praised her “wondrous command of subtle shadings and vibrato. Making every word matter, she infuses each phrase with urgency and emotion. In bursts of defiance, she can unleash her voice with thrilling power, slicing through the orchestra and chorus with silvery top notes.” 

    Radvanovsky is joined by an all-star cast. American soprano Keri Alkema lends her voice, with its “appealing brew of dark and creamy colors” (New York Times), to the role of Giovanna Seymour, while American bass-baritone Christian Van Horn, winner of the 2018 Richard Tucker Award, makes his role debut as Enrico VIII. American Bruce Sledge, one of the world’s most in-demand bel canto tenors, is Lord Riccardo Percy, and Canadian mezzo-soprano and Ensemble Studio graduate Allyson McHardy, who has been described as having a spellbinding presence that is radiant and noble, sings the role of Smeton, the musician secretly in love with the queen.

    Considered Donizetti’s first major hit, Anna Bolena is known for its dramatic arias and ensembles. Italian maestro Corrado Rovaris leads the COC Orchestra and Chorus through the exquisite score, rich in emotion. The opera is sung in Italian and presented by the COC with English SURTITLES™.


    Anna Bolena

    Sondra Radvanovsky

    Enrico VIII

    Christian Van Horn

    Giovanna Seymour

    Keri Alkema

    Lord Rochefort

    Thomas Goerz

    Lord Riccardo Percy

    Bruce Sledge


    Allyson McHardy

    Sir Hervey

    Jonathan Johnson



    Corrado Rovaris



    Stephen Lawless


    Set Designer

    Benoît Dugardyn


    Costume Designer

    Ingeborg Bernerth


    Revival Lighting Designer

    Reinhard Traub


    Original Lighting Designer

    Mark McCullough



    Single tickets for Anna Bolena range from $35 – $225 and box seats, when available, are $350. Tickets are now on sale, available online at, by calling 416-363-8231, or in person at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts Box Office (145 Queen St. W.). For more information on specially priced tickets available to young people under the age of 15, standing room, Opera Under 30 presented by TD Bank Group, student groups and rush seating, visit


    CIBC: Production Sponsor


    BMO Financial Group: Season Sponsor


    TD Bank Group: Presenting Sponsor Opera Under 30


    The COC Ensemble Studio, underwritten in part by Peter M. Deeb, Marjorie and Roy Linden, Sheila K. Piercey, RBC Foundation and The Slaight Family Foundation, is Canada’s premier training program for young opera professionals and provides advanced instruction, hands-on experience, and career development opportunities. The Ensemble Studio is also supported by the Government of Canada, the Hal Jackman Foundation and other generous donors.


    Based in Toronto, the Canadian Opera Company is the largest producer of opera in Canada and one of the largest in North America. The COC enjoys a loyal audience support-base and one of the highest attendance and subscription rates in North America. Under its leadership team of General Director Alexander Neef and Music Director Johannes Debus, the COC is increasingly capturing the opera world’s attention. The COC maintains its international reputation for artistic excellence and creative innovation by creating new productions within its diverse repertoire, collaborating with leading opera companies and festivals, and attracting the world’s foremost Canadian and international artists. The COC performs in its own opera house, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, hailed internationally as one of the finest in the world. Designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects, the Four Seasons Centre opened in 2006. For more information on the COC, visit

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    For more information or to request photographs, please contact:

    Kristin McKinnon, Publicist, tel: 416-306-2383, e-mail:

    Avril Sequeira, Director of Public Relations, tel: 416-306-2387, e-mail:  

    Posted In Press Releases


Phone: 416-363-8231

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