Praise and problems for Toronto opera

Artistic triumph, financial headache
After their sensational triumph with the Ring Cycle, a good question for Richard Bradshaw and the Canadian Opera Company might be: what’s next? Not only did his dream come true with the opening of his pitch-perfect intimate opera house in June (built mostly because he wouldn’t take `no’ for an answer), but his preposterously ambitious 17-hour, four-part production of Wagner’s Ring Cycle was a huge success, winning acclaim for the Canadian Opera Company in New York and London as well as Toronto, and drawing attention to the city and its new opera house.

Then last night came a special treat: the first concert at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre (capacity: 100 seated, 100 standing) with a small group of musicians from the COC orchestra serenading the maestro. Just for a change, instead of being the guy in the pit waving a baton or the charming luncheon companion trying to get a seven-figure cheque out of someone, or the beleaguered boss trying to find a mezzo to replace the one who just broke her something, Bradshaw was the guest of honour, expected to sit back, relax and enjoy.

These are quotes from the Toronto Star, which goes on to report that a once-off grant which had been expected from the Canada Council to help with staging the Ring has now fallen through. So, despite both critical and audience success (virtually a sell-out), the Canadian Opera Conpany’s most ambitious project ever has now suddenly plunged the new house into substantial debt.