Stage Door News

Toronto: New production of Verdi’s “Macbeth” opens the spring season of the COC on April 28

Monday, March 13, 2023

Ruthless ambition, supernatural forces, and cold-blooded violence collide in the Canadian Opera Company’s thrilling new Macbeth featuring epic sets and costumes, and the powerhouse vocals of Quinn Kelsey and Sondra Radvanovsky. Verdi’s operatic adaptation of the Shakespearean tragedy sets the timeless cautionary tale to a relentlessly paced score that thrills to the very last note. Macbeth runs for seven performances at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts on April 28, 30, and May 6, 12, 14, 17, and 20, 2023.

Quinn Kelsey, “one of the most compelling sounds to be heard on the opera stage today,” (Opera News) stars in the iconic title role. Kelsey was last featured in the COC’s 2015 Rigoletto, with the American baritone returning to Toronto last spring to step in as Giorgio Germont for a performance of Verdi’s La Traviata. Renowned Canadian-American soprano and COC favourite Sondra Radvanovsky takes on the role of master manipulator Lady Macbeth; the Chicago Sun-Times has hailed her performance in this production as “spell-binding” with New City Stage wondering “if Verdi knew [Radvanovsky] would be along eventually and wrote it just for her.”

Turkish bass Önay Köse is Banquo, Macbeth’s confidante-turned-victim, and returns to Toronto following the COC’s 2019 production of Otello that “exceed[ed] all expectations” (Aesthetic Magazine). Macbeth’s eventual nemesis Macduff is performed by Canadian tenor and Ensemble Studio graduate Matthew Cairns, “one of the most promising dramatic voices of his generation” (Opera Canada). Canadian tenor and Ensemble Studio graduate Adam Luther sings the role of Malcolm, heir to the King of Scotland; Ensemble Studio graduate and bass-baritone Vartan Gabrielian takes on the role of Doctor, and Canadian soprano Tracy Cantin brings her “full gleaming sound” (Chicago Tribune) to the much-acclaimed ensemble cast as Lady-in-Waiting.

Visionary Scottish director Sir David McVicar returns to the COC following his “must-see” (Opera Canada) Rusalka in 2019, and is joined by many of the creative team members who brought that acclaimed production to life. Here, set designer John Macfarlane sets the action within a crumbling Presbyterian chapel, underscoring good and evil at odds throughout the opera. An austere colour palette of black and maroon from costume designer Moritz Junge plays up the broody atmosphere while lighting designer David Finn creates a shadowy underworld of betrayal, punctuated by a fiery moment of drama. Choreographer Andrew George and award-winning fight director Nick Sandys lead the opera’s most action-packed scenes.

The COC welcomes back Italian conductor Speranza Scappucci, “one of classical music’s biggest stars,” (Opera News) after she dazzled Toronto audiences in 2020 with her work in The Barber of Seville. In Macbeth, Scappucci conducts the COC Orchestra through what many consider a watershed moment in Verdi’s composing career: his first Shakespearean opera, but one that shows tremendous maturity and complexity. Price Family Chorus Master Sandra Horst leads the COC Chorus through some of opera’s most powerful and haunting choral numbers.

Macbeth is sung in Italian and presented by the COC with English SURTITLES™.


Single tickets for Macbeth range from $35 – $250 for adults, with Grand Ring seats available at $290 and $350, and $22 tickets available for guests between the ages of 6 and 29 through the COC’s Opera Under 30 program. Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling the Four Seasons Centre Box Office at 416-363-8231. For more information on booking student groups, standing room, and rush tickets, as well as other specially priced tickets available to young people under the age of 15, please visit

Photo: Sondra Radvanovsky as Lady Macbeth at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. © 2021 Ken Howard.