MAZEPPA by Tchaikovsky
"If it at first it seemed a little foolhardy to mount such a big work on a small scale, any doubts were quickly laid to rest right from the opening women's chorus. You could just sit back, forget the spectacle and concentrate on Tchaikovsky's luscious vocal writing."

Wayne Gooding, OPERA CANADA


Florence: The Lady With The Lamp
Sunday, March 27, 2022
2:30 pm

Sunday, April 10, 2022
2:30 pm

The Mother of Us All
Sunday, May 22, 2022
2:30 pm

St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts

27 Front Street East
Toronto, ON M5E 1B4




Sunday, April 10, 2022

Estimated Run time: 120 minutes (plus 15 minutes intermission)

An American opera focused on three generations of women, who confront society's intrusions into their secluded world. Vanessa is a high voltage drama of exquisite character detailing. Samuel Barber and Gian-Carlo Menotti explore the Gothic darkness of a Northern Land with the bright high romanticism of a new world order.

Narmina Afandiyeva, Music Director and Pianist
Robert Cooper, Chorus Director

Lauren Margison as Vanessa
Marjorie Maltais as Erika
Scott Rumble as Anatol
Sebastien Belcourt as Nicholas
Louisa Cowie as Baroness
Stuart Graham as The Doctor
Taylor Gibbs as The Footman



It is a stormy winter's night; a house on a remote country estate, where mirrors are kept veiled and portraits covered. Vanessa, her elderly mother the Baroness, and her niece Erika await the arrival of Anatol – Vanessa's former lover, a man she has not seen for 20 years. At last, a man arrives and he proves to be Anatol's son, a stranger. It falls to Erika to receive the stranger. Time passes. Alone with the Baroness, Erika confesses that Anatol slept with her on that first night. He has proposed marriage, but she is not sure that he is capable of true love. Vanessa and Anatol return from skating. The family Doctor, ever in attendance, recalls the old days. Vanessa now confesses her own love for the young Anatol. He again offers Erika marriage, but she refuses: Vanessa, who has waited so long, can have him.


It is New Year's Eve, and the household is preparing for a grand party to announce Vanessa and Anatol's engagement. Vanessa is troubled because neither her mother nor Erika will attend. With the guests all in the ballroom, Erika creeps downstairs. But hearing the official engagement announcement she is suddenly overcome with pain, and runs out into the snow. She vows that Anatol's child, which she is carrying, will never be born.


Anatol has found Erika near death. Erika confesses to the Baroness that she has now lost the child. The Baroness turns away, refusing to speak to her. Two weeks later, Vanessa and Anatol are married and will soon depart for a new life in Paris. The Doctor, Vanessa and Anatol make their farewells, leaving Erika alone with the Baroness, who still refuses to speak to her. The house now belongs to Erika, and she orders it returned to its former state; all pictures and mirrors are to be covered and the gates locked. It is now her turn to wait.