Canadian Opera Company ignites 2016 season with explosive Wagner epic

Presented by the Canadian Opera Company
By Richard Wagner
Conducted by Johannes Debus
Directed by François Girard

Christopher Purves (right) as Alberich in the Canadian Opera Company production of Siegfried, 2016. Photo: Chris Hutcheson.

The Canadian Opera Company delivers a spectacular experience with their current production of Wagner's Siegfried. The show takes audiences on a fast-paced adventure, following Siegfried (Stefan Vinke) the young hero, naive to the ways of the world, on an epic journey. His lack of identity results in true fearlessness which causes him to run, without hesitation, toward his own self discoverystarting with his lineage. This focus on defining himself as his own man, ironically, blinds him to the plots of those around him, making him a pawn in a game he can't understand.

The opera begins with the young Siegfried questioning his past and expressing the disconnect he feels towards his guardian Mime (Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke). A relationship that has turned to one of disgust. Mime has raised him from birth however there is no common ground between the two. Siegfried is strong, bold and confident while Mime is weak, fearful and deceitful. Initially Siegfried appears to be ungrateful however as the story progresses, we see that Mime is not all he appears to be. He has raised Siegfried with an ulterior motive, a plan which, when put into action, is intended to end with the death of his "beloved" Siegfried.

Siegfried is an exploration of all things human: the development of the conscience mind, of self, ego and civilization as a whole. It’s an exploration of fear and the restriction it can cause compared with the freedom fearlessness offers. Truly engaged, audience members could be seen deep in discussion at each intermission, tossing about speculations on which direction the plot was about to take.

Of particular note is the extraordinary visual display presented by set and costume designer Michael Levine, which is absolutely stunning. Playing with perspective, texture and movement, each act features stunning compositions that walk the line between kinetic and static elements, with the human form incorporated in ways previously unseen. Appearing at times as the physical manifestation of a thought or the depiction the conscience mind, it can also be interpreted as a still image of a single moment captured during a dramatic explosion. Often it is as disturbing as it is beautiful. Featuring undertones of surrealism, this dramatic backdrop adds the perfect level of composed chaos to the piece and complements like a perfectly pared wine.

Though it can be considered lengthy at five hours with two intermissions, the pace and various plot twists really do make the time fly by. Rich with engaging characters and an enthralling tale, Siegfried is an absolute must-see and the crown jewel of the COC’s 2015/2016 season so far!

Siegfried runs until February 14, 2016 at The Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. A reminder to those under 30: The Canadian Opera Company offers a great Opera Under 30 program. Visit for more information and to buy tickets.

Show Dates: 
Sat, 2016-01-23 - Sun, 2016-02-14
Our rating:


Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.