In 1946, an optimistic James Rosselino started an Opera Workshop at Central Technical School in collaboration with the Toronto school board. He was succeeded in the 1950's by Toronto Conservatory of Music singing teacher Dr. Ernesto Vinci, followed by a well-known Canadian Bass-Baritone and Stage Director Andrew MacMillan.
In 1967, during the expansion of arts programming that marked the Centennial, Giuseppe Macina was asked to revitalize and direct the workshop by the Toronto Board of Education, transforming it into an offering in its adult education program with fully staged operas. In 1971 Toronto Opera Repertoire was created and in 1980 was incorporated as Toronto City Opera.
Giuseppe Macina retired as Artistic Director at the end of the 2013 season, and Beatrice Carpino, assumed that position until the end of the 2016-2017 season.
At that time the Board determined that a new approach was needed to revitalize TCO once again for the 2017-18 season
- New performance model created with paid, emerging, young professional soloists independently administered by TCO
- New professional artistic team put in place
- Developed a new relationship with the Miles Nadal Centre and moved our performances to the Al Green theatre which offers modern equipment to enhance our staging and a much better audience experience
Building on that success, in 2018-19 we decided to independently administer our chorus program, terminate our historical relationship with the TDSB and move boldly forward with a new vision under an expanded board with new vitality and commitment. This year 2019-20 we are exapnding our horizons further by performing at the Harbourfront Fleck Dance Theatre in addition to the Al Green theatre, to give more of you a chance to experience our productions.
Each year the Toronto City Opera presents at least two fully staged operas. Our early career professional soloists are selected after open auditions, but our amateur non-auditioned community chorus remains open to all.
This unique combination provides both professional development opportunities and community engagement. That community engagement extends beyond our chorus as the audience they bring with them are often having their first opera experience – their excitement is wonderful to feel.
Our company is operated by an energetic, fully volunteer board who are committed to its success and excited by our bright future.
Each year the Toronto City Opera presents at least two fully staged operas, with great attention to detail and musical integrity. Our program is now divided into two streams - Chorus and Soloists.
If you like to sing and want to get involved in a fully staged opera then this is your chance. This opportunity is ideal for adults of all ages, experience and voice types.
Basic knowledge such as score reading and following rhythm patterns, although not prerequisites, are valuable abilities and will enhance your progress and enjoyment.
The Chorus consists of about 40 members who meet once a week for three months of practice and rehearsal under the direction of Jennifer Tung, the TCO artistic director/conductor, and Ivan Jovanovic, the music director/pianist.
Your singing will definitely improve, and possibly even your acting skills, if you enjoy expressing emotions. (After all, what is opera if not the musical expression of the deepest human emotions).
The chorus experience may include public concerts, singing with professional soloists, singing at fundraisers, and culminates in your appearance in a fully staged opera in a professional theatre for three days of production (Get ready for standing ovations from an adoring audience).
Come join us for the adventure – it will be an experience of a lifetime!
The soloists’ program is independently administered by TCO. The soloists must apply for audition starting in June every year. Upon fulfilling the requirements of different voice types, soloists will be offered assigned roles in the opera(s) for the upcoming season. Soloists will be guided in a learning and discovery process involving understanding of the text, intent, pronunciation, and style followed by the exploration of expression through physicality.
Rehearsals start in October of every year for preparation of the first opera in November or December. Soloists selected for the spring production will meet in February of the following year for preparation of the second opera in March.
Soloists’ rehearsals take place every Saturday and Wednesday as per soloists’ schedule.
A stipend will be paid to the soloists under the condition that they successfully perform their assigned roles.
Toronto City Opera is passionately committed to opera for everyone. We give young professionals a chance to perform principal roles with coaching in musicianship and stagecraft. We give our amateur choristers inspiration and skills, so that they too can perform in a fully staged opera. And for our community we provide affordable access to this grand synthesis of music, drama, dance, and design to raise up the human spirit of everyone it touches.
©2017-19 Toronto City Opera