Stage Door News
Toronto: The Canadian Opera Company streams Rufus Wainwright’s opera “Hadrian” free on August 10
Friday, July 17, 2020
For the first time ever, audiences around the world will have a special opportunity to watch the Canadian Opera Company’s 2018 world premiere production of Hadrian, in full, online. On Monday, August 10 at 6:30 p.m. ET, in partnership with Montréal Pride Festival, the COC is hosting a free, one-night-only digital stream of the modern grand opera. The Hadrian Watch Party helps kick off one week of virtual Pride events and will feature a live Q&A session with both the composer and celebrated singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright and librettist Daniel MacIvor, a giant in Canadian theatre.
“This is the first time that Hadrian is being shared in its entirety online and the first time that the COC is presenting one of our operas using high-quality digital footage,” says COC General Director Alexander Neef. “It feels particularly fitting for a production that was also the first COC-commissioned opera to debut on our stage at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.”
“Beyond Rufus’ natural connection to Montreal, the city where he grew up, having Hadrian featured as part of Montréal Pride Festival this year is especially meaningful,” adds Neef. “In bringing this opera to our stage, we wanted the world to know Hadrian and Antinous' story. By sharing it once more through this digital collaboration, we hope that it will reach a global audience, helping to reclaim this long-forgotten piece of history.”
The ground-breaking production puts an overdue spotlight on one of history’s greatest romances between Hadrian, ruler of the Roman Empire, and his beloved Antinous. The opera's all-star cast includes American baritone Thomas Hampson as Hadrian, Canadian tenor Isaiah Bell as Antinous, Finnish soprano Karita Mattila as Plotina, and Canadian soprano Ambur Braid as Sabina. Director Peter Hinton is joined by an accomplished Canadian creative team; striking sets, paired with dramatic lighting and rich costume design, create an ethereal experience, fully transporting a 21st-century audience into this ancient, and important, story.
With its blend of history, political intrigue, and fantastical invention, woven into a heartbreaking love story, Hadrian gives one of history’s greatest queer romances the full, grand opera treatment. The evening’s streamed performance will feature cinematic, multi-camera footage, bringing audiences closer than ever to the production’s blockbuster soloists, the renowned COC Orchestra, led by COC Music Director Johannes Debus, and the COC Chorus, led by Price Family Chorus Master Sandra Horst.
This digital event is free but requires advance registration at www.coc.ca.
Throughout the performance, audience members can tweet questions for the live Q&A to follow, using the hashtag #HadrianWatchParty.
Hadrian is sung in English and Latin and will be streamed by the COC with English subtitles.
Sign up for Hadrian HERE.
Photo: Thomas Hampson as Hadrian and Isaiah Bell as Antinous. © 2018 Michael Cooper.