Canadian Stage’s Matthew Jocelyn Pens Libretto for Major International Opera

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Toronto, ON – Canadian Stage Artistic & General Director Matthew Jocelyn, along with internationally-acclaimed Canadian-born Soprano Barbara Hannigan, will represent Canada at the 2017 edition of the UK’s Glyndebourne Festival, one of the world’s oldest and most celebrated opera festivals.

For his latest international venture, Jocelyn has penned the libretto of Hamlet, Australian composer Brett Dean’s (Bliss) new opera based on Shakespeare’s best-known tragedy. With Hannigan making her Glyndebourne premiere in the role of Ophelia, Hamlet is set to perform at the East Sussex opera rendez-vous from June 11 to July 6, directed by Neil Armfield and conducted by Vladimir Jurowski, principal conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

Called “one of the most eagerly anticipated premieres of the year” by London’sThe Telegraph, Hamlet marks another significant musical project for Jocelyn, whose international reputation as a director and librettist includes many noted operatic adaptations of literary works: Requiem for a Nun (based on the text by William Faulkner, composed by Oscar Strasnoy, Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires),or Le bal (based on the text by Irène Nemirovsky, composed by Oscar Strasnoy, Hamburg Staatsoper, Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris, Prinzregententheater, Munich).

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“I am delighted to have been entrusted by Brett Dean, a composer whose work I greatly admire, with this new adaptation – written over a three-year period,” said Jocelyn. “Glyndebourne’s long-standing tradition of commissioning and developing new opera creations is one that I share in wholeheartedly as Canadian Stage continues to expand its contemporary music offerings throughout the upcoming 17.18 season.”

From intimate concerts to premiere stage musicals, Canadian Stage will welcome a variety of musical experiences throughout its 17.18 season, the company’s 30th. On the program: the Voices3 series, three unique live concert experiences showcasing the contemporary vocals of Tanya Tagaq, Fides Krucker, and Italy’s Petra Magoni (with Musica Nuda); Life After, a brand new musical by Toronto’s Britta Johnson;Picnic in the Cemetery, an evocative concert-theatre piece from composerNjo Kong Kie and featuring Macau’s Folga Gaang Project, and The Overcoat: A Musical Tailoring, a new musical creation inspired by Morris Panych’s movement-theatre blockbuster, composed by James Rolfe, and co-produced with Tapestry and Vancouver Opera.

About Hamlet

To be, or not to be. This is Hamlet’s dilemma, and the essence of Shakespeare’s most famous and arguably greatest work, given new life in operatic form in this original Glyndebourne commission. Thoughts of murder and revenge drive Hamlet when he learns that it was his uncle Claudius who killed his father, the King of Denmark, then seized his father’s crown and wife. But Hamlet’s vengeance vies with the question: is suicide a morally valid deed in an unbearably painful world? Dean’s colourful, energetic, witty and richly lyrical music expertly captures the modernity of Shakespeare’s timeless tale, while also exploiting the traditional operatic elements of arias, ensembles and choruses. Matthew Jocelyn’s libretto is pure Shakespeare, adhering to the Bard’s narrative thread but abridging, re-configuring and interweaving it into motifs that highlight the main dramatic themes: death, madness, the impossibility of certainty and the complexities of action.

About Glyndebourne

Founded in 1934 by John Christie and his opera singer wife, Audrey Mildmay, Glyndebourne is committed to presenting opera of the highest quality, commissioning new work, developing new talent and reaching new audiences. For more information:

About Canadian Stage – celebrating 30 seasons

Founded in 1987, Canadian Stage is one of the country’s leading not-for-profit contemporary performing arts companies, sharing new, innovative stage work from Canada and around the world. Led by Artistic & General Director Matthew Jocelyn, Canadian Stage produces and presents a new hybrid of multidisciplinary performance that pushes the boundaries of form and style, integrating theatre, dance, music, multimedia and more. Canadian Stage is dedicated to reinforcing the presence of Canadian art and artists within an international cultural dialogue, by acting as a home, incubator and exporter of leading Canadian and global performance. The company stages an annual season at three historic locations: the Bluma Appel Theatre; the Berkeley Street Theatre; and the High Park Amphitheatre, home to Shakespeare in High Park. Offering a range of education, artist training and community outreach programs, Canadian Stage is committed to cultivating tomorrow’s artistic innovators and audiences. For more information, visit


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