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Emperor Hadrian is devastated after his lover Antinous drowns in the Nile River. While matters of state encroach on his grief, and advisors clamour for war against a radical new threat to the Empire, Hadrian slips out of time to re-encounter the vision and reality of Antinous—and learn the truth about what happened on the Nile. This highly anticipated world premiere from composer Rufus Wainwright and librettist Daniel MacIvor features the company debuts of opera legends Thomas Hampson and Karita Mattila, and is presented by the same creative team behind the COC’s 2017 production of Louis Riel.
Prima Donna


Paris. Bastille Day. Régine Saint Laurent, once the world’s most revered operatic soprano, is preparing for her return to the stage after six years of silence. But in doing so, Régine is forced to confront the ghosts of her past. She reflects on her fearless youth and on her past and present struggles with confidence and anxiety. Her youth is forever gone and she has to now face a new reality. Can she defeat the demons that destroyed her career, and emerge triumphantly once more into the spotlight?
“[Rufus has] written a love song to opera, soaked in the perennial operatic themes of loss, betrayal, delusion and nostalgia, and saturated in the musical styles of opera’s golden age.”

-The Times UK
“There are inspired touches and disarmingly beautiful passages in this mysterious, stylistically eclectic work.”

-New York Times
“There are yearning arias, powerful ensemble singing… the orchestra, neither intrusive nor over-attentive bring flurries and thunder tenderness with strings, arguments punctuated by trumps of bassoon.”

-The Observer UK
“Prima Donna may not threaten Verdi’s status, but it does confirm Wainwright as a bold experimentalist.”

- Sunday Times Culture UK
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