It appears that this tendency has found a happy home at Toronto’s Canadian Opera Company – where, yesterday, general director Alexander Neef announced the COC’s line-up for 2012-13. Next year’s seven operas will be Il Trovatore, Die Fledermaus, Tristan und Isolde, La clemenza di Tito, Lucia di Lammermoor, Salome and Dialogues des Carmélites. All are fine operas, to be sure – but also safe operas.
It’s tempting to presume that the safety of next season’s offerings is some kind of reaction against programming in 2011-12. Has the boldness of the current season led to problems with subscriptions and sponsorships? Have conservative elements in the company’s board of directors demanded more familiar fare?
But opera seasons are planned more than one year in advance, so it’s unlikely that the announced programming in 2012-13 is a direct response to what’s happening this year. In any event, we won’t really know how the COC will emerge financially from 2011-12 until November, when the company releases its annual report.
Yet that said, there are other another signs of fiscal retrenchment in 2012-13. Only one production – Die Fledermaus – will be new and company-built; all others are rentals or revivals. And the total number of mainstage performances will be down to 62 from the current season’s 67. This means that Toronto could lose its coveted spot as the 82nd most operatic city in the world, just ahead of Venice. (See here.)
Whatever the reasons behind the COC’s choices for 2012-13, it will be a popular season for those whose operatic interests revolve around the tried and true. Those of us who would like to see at least one opera we’ve never seen before will just have to wait for future years.
© Colin Eatock 2012