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1O YEARS OF OPERA BY THE LAKE: ALTAMIRA SUMMER OPERA CONCERTS!

Toronto, Ontario – For the 10th straight year, Altamira Investment Services and the Canadian Opera Company present the enormously popular Altamira Summer Opera Concerts on Tuesday, August 31, Wednesday, September 1 and Thursday, September 2 at 8 p.m. at Harbourfront Centre’s CIBC Stage (235 Queen’s Quay West). The concerts are FREE with unreserved general seating. A $5 donation is suggested with proceeds divided equally between Regent Park School of Music and Centennial Infant and Child Centre. A highly anticipated annual event, these concerts attract approximately 10,000 people to Harbourfront each year, filling seats hours before the performances begin. The concerts are part of Altamira Summer Arts which include performances by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (Symphony Under the Stars) and The National Ballet of Canada (Ballet by the Lake).

One of the concerts’ greatest draws is COC General Director Richard Bradshaw who leads the acclaimed COC Orchestra and acts as a witty and charming Emcee. Special guest stars confirmed to date for this year’s concerts include Canadian mezzo-soprano Stephanie Marshall who makes her COC mainstage debut as Offred in the greatly anticipated The Handmaid’s Tale this fall. Japanese tenor Yasuhara Nakajima makes his North American debut at the concerts before his COC mainstage debut in the fall as Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor. Additional members of Lucia’s talented cast featured include Canadian baritone Russell Braun, who sings Enrico; Russian soprano Marina Mescheriakova, who sings Lucia, and Turkish bass Burak Bilgili, who sings Raimondo. Braun and Mescheriakova have thoroughly entertained COC audiences on several past occasions and were last heard in the title roles in the COC productions of Billy Budd and Norma, respectively. Bilgili, who wowed audiences at the 2002 Altamira concerts, recently made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Leporello in Don Giovanni.

The Altamira Summer Opera Concerts also showcase the talents of Canada’s rising young opera stars who dazzle the crowds each year. Members of the COC Ensemble Studio performing this year include baritones Peter Barrett and Peter McGillivray, tenor Luc Robert and bass Robert Gleadow, who delighted audiences at last year’s concerts as well as with their mainstage performances last season. Appearances by talented young Canadian vocalists: tenor Victor Micallef, soprano Joni Henson and mezzo-soprano Michèle Bogdanowicz are also part of the musical roster. A special appearance by children who attend the COC’s Summer Opera Camps is another annual highlight.

Over the past nine years, Altamira Summer Opera Concerts have raised more than $250,000 for various children’s charities. In appreciation of donations of $10 or more, people will receive Operafare 6, a CD of opera excerpts chosen by the COC from the Naxos catalogue highlighting the forthcoming 2004/05 season.

Altamira Summer Opera Concerts
Tuesday, August 31, Wednesday, September 1 and Thursday, September 2 at 8 p.m. Harbourfront Centre’s CIBC Stage (235 Queen’s Quay West)
Admission is FREE (suggested donation of $5) with unreserved general seating
All proceeds support Regent Park Music School and Centennial Infant and Child Centre

Richard Bradshaw and the COC Orchestra with
special guests Stephanie Marshall, Yasuhara Nakajima, Russell Braun, Marina Mescheriakova,
Burak Bilgili, Peter Barrett, Peter McGillivray, Luc Robert, Robert Gleadow,
Victor Micallef, Joni Henson and Michèle Bogdanowicz
Visit www.coc.ca or call 416-363-6671 for more information.


ALTAMIRA INVESTMENT SERVICES
Altamira is a leading investment services company, offering a wide range of mutual funds, savings products, custom portfolios, and financial planning services to both individual investors and institutional clients. Personal attention, expert advice and investment performance are the foundation of Altamira’s award-winning client service. The company is headquartered in Toronto with offices across the country, and is a subsidiary of the National Bank of Canada. In support of youth-based arts education, Altamira is proud to present Altamira Summer Arts in partnership with the Canadian Opera Company, The National Ballet of Canada and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

THE BENEFICIARIES
The Regent Park School of Music is a community music school providing a safe and secure environment where young people in Toronto’s Regent Park neighbourhood can have access to a high quality, affordable after-school music program including music lessons, instruments, performance opportunities and exposure to diverse musical experiences.

The Centennial Infant and Child Centre helps children with special needs begin to learn strategies which will help them to develop and function as independently as possible in society. Centennial serves children with a wide range of abilities and disabilities. Children with Down syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Autism, delays resulting from prematurity, congenital anomalies, brain damage caused by accident or illness and many other special needs are a part of the Centennial community. In over 30 years more than 2000 children have attended the preschool at Centennial.
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For further information, please contact:

Jennifer Pugsley, Associate Publicist, tel: 416-306-2369, e-mail: jenniferp@coc.ca
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