One of Toronto’s most impressive cultural institutions is the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.
Located on the southeast corner of University Avenue and Queen Street West, this spectacular performance space is home to the National Ballet of Canada and the Canadian Opera Company. Completed in 2006, this 2071-seat theatre was designed by Canadian architect Jack Diamond. Visually arresting both inside and out, I love the massive expanses of glass and the huge volumes of space in the public reception zones, including a tiered series of steps overlooking University Avenue. Inside the theatre, five tiers of seating offer unobstructed vistas with brilliant acoustics. I love!
I was fortunate to have an invitation to the Dress Rehearsal for the Canadian Opera Company’s ‘Nixon In China’ Opera this past week. This minimalist opera was created in 1987 with music by the American composer John Adams and a libretto by Alice Goodman. It is about Richard Nixon’s historic five-day visit to China in 1972, a media phenomenon which was viewed simultaneously by millions on their television sets at home. The story intertwines this grand, public spectacle with moments of quiet, private reflection, transforming everyday events into a work of art with universal appeal and significance. The opera was eye-poppingly intense with its lighting and visual effects (the use of 6 big boxy 70s style televisions are a great way to reference the era while they flash images of the actual event) and the musical score was one of the most complex pieces I have ever heard. Truly mesmerizing!
Sadly, this incredible venue has been mostly dark throughout the pandemic, but there are welcome signs of life in this usually vibrant space.
This fall, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts is pleased to be offering free digital streaming of performances captured there. Patrons can view new releases of purpose-produced concerts and performances every month.
And for those longing to be able to view performances in person, they aren’t far away!
** Photos not original by me are from Toronto Life, COC and Nota Bene
If you are keen to head to the ballet this fall and winter, you are in luck, as there are two shows scheduled. They expect to be able to open to full capacity. As per current health regulations, guests will need to be fully vaccinated and masks will be required to attend performances. Subscription sales for the 2021/22 season have resumed
First, there is Angel’s Atlas which “unfolds against a morphing wall of light that carries the illusion of depth and a sense of the natural world. Here, the dancing body becomes a sign of humanity’s impermanence and – equally – its vitality within a vast, unknowable world.”
And back for the run up to the holiday season is a welcome tradition- the Nutcracker.
Live opera is set to begin in February 2022. Tickets will go on sale for three-opera subscription package starting mid-October 2021. The trio of performances will include such classics as Madam Butterfly, La Traviata and the Magic Flute. I’m excited!
Having this roster of live performances to look forward to in the coming months is wonderful news. Taking advantage of the ability to gather and celebrate the arts as a community after so many months away is a step back to normal live again.
How enriched would your life be if this cultural gem was right there in your ‘hood? You wouldn’t miss a show!
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