Stage Door News

Toronto: Sondra Radvanovsky stars in COC’s “Rusalka” October 12-26

Monday, September 2, 2019

A classic mermaid myth dives to new depths when soprano Sondra Radvanovsky takes on the title role in a spellbinding new production of Dvořák’s Rusalka at the Canadian Opera Company. Water nymph Rusalka lives an idyllic, immortal life until a charming, earth-bound prince changes everything. Desperate to join him on land, she enlists the dark magic of a witch, sacrificing her shimmering voice for a chance at love. But Rusalka soon discovers this prince has a fickle heart – and there’s only one terrible solution to reversing her fate. Rusalka runs for seven performances at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts on October 12, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 2019.

Canadian-American Sondra Radvanovsky, “one of the great sopranos of the 21st century,” (OperaWire) returns to the COC following her triumphant run in Anna Bolena in 2018. The Toronto Star says that Radvanovsky “at the peak of her powers is something extraordinary to behold” and she is joined in this production by an impressive cast. Cited as “a tenor on the rise” (OperaWire), Czech tenor Pavel Černoch is the Prince who captures Rusalka’s heart. Slovak bass Stefan Kocan has been called “a gifted scene-stealer” by New York Magazine; in a role debut, he takes on the role of Rusalka’s father, Vodnik. Russian mezzo-soprano Elena Manistina last appeared at the COC for 2014’s A Masked Ball and returns to sing the role of Ježibaba, the witch. American soprano Keri Alkema is the Foreign Princess; Alkema is a familiar face to Toronto audiences having brought her “strong stage presence and warm soprano” (The Stage) to several previous COC productions including Anna Bolena (2018), starring opposite Radvanovsky.

Sir David McVicar makes his COC debut at the helm of this gorgeous production. Knighted in 2012 for his services to opera, McVicar has worked with the world’s leading opera houses, including Royal Opera House, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and the Metropolitan Opera. Scottish set designer John Macfarlane brings Rusalka’s watery realm to life with a rich palette of jewel-tone blues and greens that come alive under a luminescent moon; the moody and, at times, ethereal lighting was created by David Finn. German costume designer Moritz Jungeis the creative force behind the cast’s elaborate and whimsical wardrobe and Welsh choreographer Andrew George lends his expert touch to whirling ballet sequences.

Underscoring the COC’s commitment to artist development, Rusalka features a number of current members and graduates of the COC Ensemble Studio, the country’s top training program for young opera singers. Soprano Anna-Sophie Neher sings the role of First Wood Nymph in this production alongside mezzo-soprano and first-year Ensemble member Jamie Groote, who is the Second Wood Nymph. Mezzo-soprano Lauren Segal and soprano Lauren Eberwein are both Ensemble graduates; Segal returns to Toronto as the Third Wood Nymph, having sung a number of roles in previous COC productions, while Eberwein brings her “luscious, rich tone” (Opera Canada) to the role of Turnspit. Tenor Matthew Cairns and bass-baritone Vartan Gabrielian, in their first year with the program, are the Gamekeeper and Hunter, respectively.

Dvořák’s sweeping score is full of nocturnal serenades and includes the beloved “Song to the Moon” aria; COC Music Director Johannes Debus skillfully leads the COC Orchestra through its many intricacies with Price Family Chorus Master Sandra Horst leading the COC Chorus.

Rusalka is sung in Czech and presented by the COC with English SURTITLES™.

Rusalka is a new Lyric Opera of Chicago production.


Single tickets for Rusalka range from $35 – $250 with Grand Ring seats available at $290 and $350. Tickets are on sale now, available online at, by calling 416-363-8231, or in person at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts Box Office (145 Queen St. W.). $22 tickets are available for guests between the ages of 16 and 29 through the COC’s Opera Under 30 program and other specially priced tickets are available to young people under the age of 15. For more information on booking student groups, standing room, and rush tickets, please visit

Photo: Ana María Martínez as Rusalka in Rusalka (Lyric Opera of Chicago, 2014). © 2014 Todd Rosenberg.