Parlando: The COC Blog


The Opera That Changed My Life: Subscriber Stories

Our subscribers are truly dedicated to opera as an art form, and certainly have some interesting experiences! From a teenager seeing Faust with his football buddies, to distant memories of the incomparable American mezzo-soprano Risë Stevens, life-changing opera moments have been occurring in our own backyard for decades. 

Jim Farley

I was born and raised in Guelph, as was Edward Johnson of Metropolitan Opera fame as singer and then General Manager. Guelph had the Presto Music programs to which I believe Johnson steered excellent talent. I had the privilege of attending, with my fellow students, warm-up sessions by the various performers. Marion Anderson was my favourite, but she was not my first exposure to opera. My mother took me to Rigoletto (on film) at the Capitol Theatre in Guelph. When I was four, sports on Saturdays were in the morning and the Texaco sponsored Metropolitan Opera broadcasts in the afternoon.

Above: (left) Edward Johnson as Radamès in Verdi's Aida; (right) Edward Johnson as the title character in Gounod's Faust.

At age 15, together with three of my football buddies, I saw my first live performance of an opera—Faust at that marvel of acoustical halls: Maple Leaf Gardens. Since then I have enjoyed 60 more years of opera with the COC (a subscriber for over 30 years), as well as performances in the USA, Argentina, Iceland, England, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Russia, France, Czech Republic, Estonia, Italy, China, and Australia. More music to come! We are fortunate to have the COC.

Gloria Lepofsky

I saw my first opera when I was 15 years old. I attended a Metropolitan Opera production of Carmen with my mother in Toronto. Risë Stevens sang the title role, for which she was famous. It was wonderful. Toronto then was not the city it is today. The opera was performed at Maple Leaf Gardens! I am currently a COC subscriber.


Above: Risë Stevens as the title character in Carmen (PBS, 1951).

Banner photo: A scene from ​Rigoletto​ (COC, 2011), photo by Michael Cooper.

Posted by Tanner Davies / in TOTCML / comments (0) / permalink

Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001



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