opera Toronto

5 under-the-radar opera companies in Toronto

Indie opera companies in Toronto might surprise you with their mere existence - Toronto has an opera scene? Actually, it's more vibrant than you might think. Whether you dream of singing in a classical stage production or simply want to enjoy an afternoon matinee (or, maybe just finally understand what's going on), here are some alternatives to Toronto's major opera companies.

Toronto Operetta
Now in its 30th year, Toronto Operetta is the place to go for an unconventional opera experience. Operettas often include spoken word shuffled in with the more traditional opera setting. Get ready for song, dance, humour, and proof that there is more to opera than you think. Coming up next spring is an operetta based on Oscar Wilde's Importance of being Earnest.

Toronto City Opera
As the saying goes, practice makes perfect. Toronto City Opera gives new opera singers a chance to brush up on their skills and practice the classics. For those who want to sing with them, there is an application process but if you simply want to enjoy their productions and see some rising stars catch their first break, you can grab tickers online. These are full on professional productions and a great way to get your classical music fix.

Opera 5
They are young, fun and on a mission: to take pretension, so often associated with opera, out of the picture, creating opera that people want to actually see is their major focus. Ticket prices are affordable, starting at $25 dollars. Check out their videos "Opera Cheats" where they explain the basics of opera, with everything you need to know to understand the often-convoluted plot points made simple and above all accessible.

Voicebox: Opera in Concert
The bare necessity of opera - the voice - is Voicebox's weapon of choice. Their philosophy of keeping productions simple and performing the rarer and lesser know opera pieces adds some intrigue to Toronto's opera scene. This past season included works by Benjamin Britten and Verdi.

Metro Youth Opera
Creating opportunities for Toronto's up-and-coming opera stars, Metro Youth Opera is dedicated to developing the skills of those who want to immerse themselves in the craft. Auditions for their 2014-2015 are open in September. If you have the heart, the courage, and, above all, the chops, go ahead and apply on their website. Past productions include Mozart's classic Cosi Fan Tutte.

Photo: Toronto City Opera

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