It started with a festival - three classic operas performed in a theatre in Toronto
But when it became apparent that there was a need for a national opera company, an organization was founded that would go on to become one of the largest performing arts organizations in the country. The Canadian Opera Company was born in 1950, and is now one of the major opera companies in North America. The Company has toured extensively throughout Canada and the United States, and has delighted audiences as far away as Australia and Hong Kong, all the while finding the time to record frequently and develop special operatic presentations for children. More than just a group of performers, the COC also provides a training program for young professional singers, and a series of commissions of new works from both up-and-coming and established composers. Opera Viva is a history of the Company, but it is more than that: it is also a history of Canada’s cultural growth in the second half of the twentieth century, a time when the Canadian Opera Company became central to Canada’s musical life. As the story of the Company unfolds, the figures and personalities that were integral to the building of this landmark of Canadian culture are brought to life.