Stage Door News

Toronto: VOICEBOX: Opera in Concert presents Verdi’s early opera “Ernani” February 25

Friday, February 2, 2024

VOICEBOX: Opera in Concert continues to celebrate its Golden Jubilee Season with Verdi’s Ernani on Sunday, 25 February 2024 at 2:30 pm at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts. “The excitement of our 50th anniversary will be amped up by this amazing opera from Verdi’s early years,” comments OIC’s General Director Guillermo Silva-Marin. “Verdi was inspired by Victor Hugo’s play and the opera’s passion and fervour, capped by a spine-tingling hymn to liberty have rarely been equalled.”

Narmina Afandiyeva leads as Music Director, with Robert Cooper as director of the renowned Opera in Concert Chorus. In the title role will be tenor Rocco Rupolo in his Opera in Concert debut. He is an alumnus of Opéra de Montreal’s Atelier Lyrique and comes to Toronto directly from his featured role in Opera de Montréal’s World Premiere of La Reine Garçon. Soprano Andrea Núñez joins the cast as Elvira, whose aria ‘Ernani, involami’ is always a show-stopper. Núñez is an alumna of Santa Fe Opera and was recently heard as Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro at Opéra de Montréal. Debuting Alexander Hajek takes the role of Don Carlos, a role most likely to inspire Verdi with its eponymous title twenty-three years later in 1867 and Justin Welsh is Don Ruiz, whose unrelenting vengeance propels the opera to its tragic end. Both are alumni of the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio and their credits include Dresden Opera, Pacific Opera Victoria, Manitoba Opera, Edmonton Opera and Stadttheater Giessen. Rounding out the cast are Joseph Wong and Madeline Cooper.

Ernani was composed in 1844 and was an immediate hit when it premiered at La Fenice in Venice. With it, Verdi moved from the grandeur and high-mindedness of Nabucco and I Lombardi to a world of passionate individualism. With three men in love with the same woman, the way was open for him to musically explore character and psychology as never before. Ernani was Verdi’s first opera to be performed in Britain and it did more than any other to spread his reputation during the 1840s.

VOICEBOX: Opera in Concert is still unique in that the company presents rare and seldom heard works exclusively…some by neglected composers such as Montemezzi and the Chevalier de St. Georges balanced with lesser-known works by the masters, including Jules Massenet and Giuseppe Verdi. The company's mandate is also to promote and feature emerging Canadian artists, with hundreds now enjoying careers in the national and international arenas.

Opera in Concert is supported by the Jackman Foundation, the Estate of Hiroko Keith, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and the Toronto Arts Council, and Classical 96.3 FM is the media sponsor. Tickets are available from the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts Box Office, 27 Front St. East, by phone at 416-366-7723 or 1-800-708-6754 or online at The theatre is wheelchair accessible and close to public transit and municipal parking. All performances are on Sunday afternoons at the St. Lawrence Centre at 2:30 p.m.