Why the COC is so awesome
The day before Gotterdmmerung's premiere, I received an email from the ticket office that offered a complementary seat upgrade. Considering that I had bought my ticket in the last row of Ring 5 (that is the absolute last row in the hall), any other seat would be an upgrade really. So I immediately emailed them back and got my tickets changed, free of charge. Best part, they seated me in the 2nd row of the Orchestra level! I could have extended my arm and touch Johannes Debus conducting the opera in the pit. I didn't, but I physically could have.
Now because Wagner's last Ring cycle opera lasts just over 5 hours long including both intermissions, it began at 6 p.m. whereas other operas usually begin at 7:30 p.m.. Because of this, leaving on the day of the performance was not the best idea I'll admit. I arrived in Toronto at 6:30 p.m. and still had to drop my suitcase at the airbnb I was renting. Good thing I was staying a few blocks from the bus station and from the opera house! The COC didn't allow late seating BUT they have a large TV screen on the 3rd floor where you can watch the live performance, which is better than nothing. AND you can have a glass of wine, which you can't if you're in the hall. So all in all, not a bad situation. I had Bob's Bearded Red, a collaboration with Millstreet Brewery and opera singer Robert Pomakov, who is interpreting Alberich in Gotterdammerung! It could not have been more appropriate, really.
Ain anger (Hagen) and Christine goerke (Brunnhilde)
The Men's Chorus
Brass section of the cOC orchestra
Props to all the musicians of the orchestra (and special props to those playing in The Magic Flute too!) who for the duration of the opera, performed almost without interruption (looking at you violin section!). An opera by Wagner can often times feel overall loud and it is one of the reasons I have some reservations about attending this one. I don't know what Johannes Debus did, but this production of Gotterdammerung was completely the opposite of what you would typically expect. And my favourite part, the brass section. Whether backstage or in the pit, their clear strong sound was thoroughly on point.
I am so happy to have overcome my initial resistance of watching a Wagnerian opera. This production is memorable from beginning to end and raises the bar. It's opera like you'd imagine opera to be, except better.
Gotterdammerung runs through February 25, 2017 at the four seasons centre for the performing arts. Tickets here.