Welcome to the Canadian Opera Company Media Centre. It contains resources for the media including media releases and downloadable photos of COC leadership and productions for publication where relevant.  The images are available to members of the media for print and online promotion of the Canadian Opera Company and its events only.

For general inquiries, including interview requests, please contact:

Avril Sequeira, Director of Public Relations
[email protected]

Kristin McKinnon, Publicist and Content Producer
[email protected] 


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    By Public Relations
    Read the PDF version here.

    Toronto –
    The Canadian Opera Company hosted a special holiday edition of Opera for Toronto on December 12, 2019, inspired by the company’s upcoming production of Hansel & Gretel. The latest instalment of the COC’s free programming initiative focused on how family and friends can connect through the power of music, using live performance and interactive elements to help introduce new audiences to the art form.

    Hansel & Gretel was actually created by a real-life brother and sister looking to create some family entertainment around the holidays,” says COC General Director Alexander Neef. “We thought that story would make a wonderful theme for our first Opera for Toronto event of this season since this program is all about building connections and experiencing music together.”

    “We received incredibly positive feedback from last year’s inaugural Opera for Toronto season,” adds Neef. “Many of our guests had never heard opera at all before and were thrilled with the chance to connect with it on such a personal level. We look forward to creating even more of these opportunities and sparking a love of opera in all new audiences.”

    Opera for Toronto: A Family Celebration invited local residents and community organizations from the city’s Corktown and St. Lawrence neighbourhoods to celebrate the holiday season alongside artists from the COC family. The evening was hosted by Joel Ivany, founder of indie opera company Against the Grain Theatre and director of the COC’s upcoming Hansel & Gretel. Ivany walked guests though the opera’s charming origin story and led an interactive feature that encouraged audience members try their own hand at being an opera composer. Guests were also treated to performances of family-friendly opera excerpts featuring emerging artists of the COC Ensemble Studio: tenor Matthew Cairns, soprano Lauren Margison, mezzo-soprano Jamie Groote, and pianist/intern coach Rachael Kerr.

    Two more Opera for Toronto events are planned for the rest of the 2019/2020 season, with all audiences comprised of invited guests from a number of civic partnerships, community-based groups, and educational organizations:

    • On May 13, 2020, members of the COC Ensemble Studio will perform some of opera’s most moving arias and ensemble pieces, on stage at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.
    • One more Opera for Toronto event is slated for spring of 2020, with further details to follow.

    Opera for Toronto
    is part of the Canadian Opera Company’s commitment to re-animating its space on Front Street East as a culture hub that responds to and serves the company’s surrounding neighbourhoods. The project is underway to restructure the COC to better support new avenues of artistic expression, build meaningful relationships with its neighbours and local organizations, and remove financial barriers enabling children and their families to experience excellent art. The Canadian Opera Company is grateful to the Metcalf Foundation and the H. John McDonald Foundation for their support.

    BMO Financial Group: Season Sponsor
    Volvo Car Canada: Official Automotive Partner of the Canadian Opera Company and the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts
    Perrier-Jouët: Official Champagne Partner of the Canadian Opera Company and the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts

    The COC Academy is underwritten by The Catherine and Maxwell Meighen Foundation, with additional support by Keith Ambachtsheer & Virginia Atkin.

    Major support for the COC Ensemble Studio program also made possible by Anne & Tony Arrell, Marjorie & Roy Linden, Sheila K. Piercey, RBC Foundation, The Slaight Family Foundation, Government of Canada, with additional support from ARIAS: Canadian Opera Student Development Fund, Margaret Harriett Cameron, Catherine Fauquier, Ethel Harris & the late Milton E. Harris, Patrick and Barbara Keenan Foundation, Joy Levine, Patricia & Frank Mills, Roger D. Moore, The Stratton Trust, Janet Stubbs, Brian Wilks, Nora Wilson.

    The COC Ensemble Studio is Canada’s premier training program for young opera professionals. Since the inception of the program in 1980, over 230 young professional Canadian singers, opera coaches, stage directors and conductors have acquired their first major professional operatic experience through the Ensemble Studio. Former members include Ben Heppner, Wendy Nielsen, Allyson McHardy, David Pomeroy, Lauren Segal and Krisztina Szabó.

    Members of the Ensemble Studio are the COC’s resident artists and important ambassadors for the company.

    They receive a blend of advanced study and practical experience through an individually tailored, multi-year program, involving understudying and performing mainstage roles, intensive vocal coaching, language and acting studies, and career skills development, as well as participation in masterclasses with internationally renowned opera professionals.

    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 including a dedicated base of subscribers. Under its leadership team of General Director Alexander Neef and Music Director Johannes Debus, the company has an international reputation for artistic excellence and creative innovation. Its diverse repertoire includes new commissions and productions, local and international collaborations with leading opera companies and festivals, and attracts the world’s foremost Canadian and international artists. The COC Academy is an incubator for the future of the art form, nurturing Canada’s new wave of opera creators with customized training and support. 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. For more information, visit

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    For more information and photography, please contact:
    Avril Sequeira, Director of Public Relations, tel: 416-306-2387, email: [email protected]
    Kristin McKinnon, Publicist and Content Producer, tel: 416-306-2383, email: [email protected]

    Posted In Press Releases

Phone: 416-363-8231

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