My besties, Damion, Pechie and I get together as often as we can to chat, to eat, to laugh, and to explore new things together.
We don’t need an excuse to get together, but when the opportunity to see Donizetti’s Anna Bolena arose, we were all for it. It turned out to be the perfect friends’ night out. Art and culture are two things that have been a theme in our friendship so a show at the opera was the perfect destination for that. And let me tell you, we had a blast!
I’ve attended the Canadian Opera Company before, so I knew what to expect, and I prepped Damion and Pechie as we entered the beautiful Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. We stopped for drinks and a quick conversation before heading to our seats, just before show time.
Donizetti’s Anna Bolena is a historical drama (in Italian) that depicts the tumultuous final days of Henry VIII’s second wife, Anne Boleyn, as she fights for her honour and her life. This opera is a showpiece for an extraordinary soprano. The vocal fireworks were amazing! The talent was unmatched. In fact, despite the cultural fascination with the queen’s untimely end and the opera’s immediate popularity, it was rarely performed in the early 20th century due to the difficulty of casting the vocally demanding title role. We learned that soprano Sondra Radvanovsky is kind of a big deal in the opera world. That was no surprise. The Canadian-American soprano is one of the most critically acclaimed performers of her generation. It was an awesome thing to witness.
I love the singing, the acting, the presence of rich culture and artistic expression, but the costumes… I am always blown away by the costumes. Costume designer Ingeborg Bernerth fashioned lavish period costumes that reflect the magnificence and opulence of the 16th-century royal court. I believe he maintained the Elizabethan setting masterfully.
My friends and I were also excited to get dressed up. If I’m honest, the fact that I get to be all dolled up was the initial draw to attend the opera. The Canadian Opera Company provides a wonderful fashion experience as well. We love our brunches and dinners, so we can eat and talk for hours. But, we had an amazing night out in Toronto, at the Canadian Opera Company. The next time you and your best friends get together, do something different. Get all glammed up and attend a show. You’ll have a blast, too.
Oh yes, and how could I forget? If you are worried about pricing (this was a genuine concern for me), the COC is committed to supporting a variety of price points to foster access to the art form. Special prices for people under 30 and for young professionals are below:
Opera Under 30 Ticket Program
$22 and up (ticket program for people 29 and under)
Opera Club Membership Program for young professionals
$650 and up (packages include 3 operas, plus special events, and behind-the-scenes perks)
This post was made in collaboration with the Canadian Opera Company; all thoughts and opinions are my own.