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The COC Presents Love from Afar, the Canadian Premiere of One of the 21st Century's Great Operas

This February, the Canadian Opera Company presents the Canadian premiere of acclaimed Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho’s Love from Afar (L’amour de loin), a haunting and vivid musical creation that has become one of the most performed and successful operas composed of this century.

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  1. Love from Afar - Rachel Harnisch - Acrobats
    Love from Afar - Rachel Harnisch - Acrobats
  2. Since the opera’s premiere in 2000 at the Salzburg Festival, Love from Afar has captivated audiences worldwide with performances at Théâtre du Châtelet, Sante Fe Opera, Stadttheater Bern, Finnish National Opera, the Bergen International Festival, English National Opera and Vlaamse Opera.  Arguably the greatest opera of the 21st century, it has been praised as a “haunting and resonant work... transfixing and utterly distinguished” by the New York Times


    About the cast and creative team: 

    - Daniele Finzi-Pasca, best known for his work with Cirque du Soleil’s Corteo and the creation of the closing ceremonies of the XX Olympic Winter Games in Torino in 2006, directs the production
    - internationally renowned lyric baritone Russell Braun (last seen here as Oreste in Iphigenia in Tauris) sings the role of Jaufré Rudel
    - Erin Wall, soprano, makes her COC debut in the role of Clémence
    - Mezzo-soprano and Ensemble Studio graduate Krisztina Szabó (last seen here as Idamante in Idomeneo) sings the role of the Pilgrim

  3. Johannes Debus leads the COC Orchestra and Chorus through Saariaho’s lushly orchestrated score.  The composer has created a rich tapestry of sound using innovative combinations of traditional instrumental sections with electronics.  Among the more unusual instruments used in Love from Afar’s orchestration are an o-daiko (a Japanese taiko drum), glass and shell chimes, and a synthesizer to trigger electronic soundscape effects.
  4. Videos:

  5. Videos from ENO's 2009 production of L'amour de loin (Love from Afar), the production appearing at the COC in Feb. 2012:
  6. English National Opera - L'Amour de Loin - Part 1: Make Dreaming
  7. English National Opera - L'Amour de Loin - Part 2: Longing
  8. Daniele Finzi Pasca on L'Amour de loin
  9. Video from Vlaamse Opera's 2010 production of Love from Afar:
  10. Making of L'Amour de loin
  11. Photos:

  12. All photos are from the Vlaamse Opera  2010 production of Love from Afar. Photos by Annemie Augustijns
  13. Love from Afar - Rachel Harnisch - Phillip Addis  - Acrobats - Chorus
    Love from Afar - Rachel Harnisch - Phillip Addis - Acrobats - Chorus
  14. Love from Afar - Phillip Addis - Acrobats
    Love from Afar - Phillip Addis - Acrobats
  15. Love from Afar - Phillip Addis - Kahterine Rohrer
    Love from Afar - Phillip Addis - Kahterine Rohrer
  16. Love from Afar - Phillip Addis - Rachel Harnsich
    Love from Afar - Phillip Addis - Rachel Harnsich
  17. Love from Afar - Rachel Harnisch
    Love from Afar - Rachel Harnisch
  18. About the Opera

  19. Love from Afar tells the story of a world-weary troubadour from France who carries on a long-distance love affair with a beautiful woman living in Tripoli.  Although they never see or speak to each other, their feelings develop and grow through the efforts of an enigmatic Pilgrim, who carries messages of love and yearning between the two.  Saariaho drew her inspiration for the work from the life and song texts of Jaufré Rudel, a French prince and troubadour of the 12th century, who often wrote of his obsessive love for an ideal, unattainable woman and whether such a love is best preserved from afar.  The resulting work is a melding of medieval musings with the sounds of the modern age.

  20. This production of Love from Afar is a COC co-production with English National Opera, where it premiered in July 2009, and Vlaamse Opera, where it made its debut in September 2010.


    Sung in French with English SURTITLES™, Love from Afar runs for eight performances at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts on Feb. 2, 4, 8, 10, 12, 14, 18 and 22, 2012.

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