All performances are staged at:
70 Berkeley Street
Toronto, ON, M5A 2W6
2004 Keith Klassen
2005 Marianne Lambert
2022 Ruth Acheampong
2004 Keith Klassen
Regular Price: $28 includes HST*
Students & Seniors: $22* (ID required)
$60 for 3 performances*
Deadline for best seats is July 5, 2023.
Your seat is reserved!
Available through the Box Office at St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts
(Monday to Friday 12 pm to 6 pm)
*additional fees apply for online and phone orders.
Music Director: Suzy Smith
Sat Jul 29 - 2pm • Sun Jul 30 - 2pm • Tue Aug 2 - 8pm • Fri Aug 4 - 8pm
Julius Caesar enters Alexandria with his general Curio and his army to be met by Cornelia and Sesto, the wife and son of Pompey, who have come to sue for peace. Tolomeo’s general Achilla arrives with a greeting and gift from his king: Pompey’s severed head. Cornelia laments her loss and Sesto swears to avenge his dead father. In the palace at Alexandria, Cleopatra plots to take sole possession of the throne. When she learns of Tolomeo’s betrayal of Pompey from his servant Nireno, she resolves to visit Julius Caesar’s camp and win his favour and aid. Achilla tells Tolomeo of Julius Caesar’s angry reception of his gift and offers to accomplish his murder if Tolomeo grants him Cornelia as a reward. Tolomeo fears the growing strength of Rome under the leadership of Julius Caesar and agrees. At the camp, Julius Caesar presides over Pompey’s funeral rites. In disguise, Cleopatra presents herself to Julius Caesar as Lidia, a handmaiden in the palace, but one of noble birth. Captivated, Julius Caesar promises to help her. Cleopatra and Nireno watch as Cornelia pays her last respects to her dead husband. Cornelia and Sesto plan to kill Tolomeo. Cleopatra comes forward and, though still disguised as Lidia, pledges the support of the Queen of Egypt, offering them the services of Nireno as a guide into the palace. Cornelia and Sesto confront Tolomeo. He is struck by Cornelia’s beauty, but when Sesto challenges him to combat, he orders their imprisonment.
In the palace, with Nireno’s help Cleopatra has arranged an entertainment calculated to ensnare further the interest of Julius Caesar. Sesto who has escaped with the aid of Nireno, who brings the news that Tolomeo has commanded she become one of his concubines. He will help to smuggle Sesto into the harem as well, where, unguarded, the king will be at his most vulnerable. In her apartment, Cleopatra waits for Julius Caesar, pretending to be asleep when he enters. The lovers’ tryst is interrupted by Curio, who has overheard Achilla’s assassin searching the palace for Julius Caesar. Cleopatra reveals her true identity to Julius Caesar and begs him to fly to safety. Julius Caesar refuses and goes to meet his enemy. Cleopatra prays to the gods to preserve him and the love she now truly feels for him.
Sesto steals into the Harem and tries to use Tolomeo’s sword to kill him but is disarmed by Achilla. He summons the king to war; Julius Caesar is believed to have plunged to his death in the harbour during the previous night’s assault, but Cleopatra has fled to the Roman camp and has there mustered an army to march on the palace. Tolomeo prepares to lead his troops, but refuses Achilla the promised reward for Julius Caesar’s death; Cornelia is to be his own prize. A furious Achilla decides to switch his allegiance to Cleopatra. In the ensuing battle, Tolomeo’s troops are victorious and Cleopatra is taken prisoner. Julius Caesar, though, is not dead; the sea has cast him up onto the shore. Sesto and Nireno stumble across the wounded Achilla dying on the beach. Overheard by Julius Caesar, he gives Sesto a seal, the sight of which will give the bearer authority to command his troops. As Achilla dies, Julius Caesar takes the seal from Sesto and goes to assemble a force to storm the palace. In prison, Cleopatra has prepared to take her own life. Julius Caesar breaks in with his troops and rescues her. Believing himself to be victorious, Tolomeo sees no obstacle to his pursuit of Cornelia, but Sesto at last seizes his chance and kills him. The battle has been won and Julius Caesar crowns Cleopatra as sole Queen of Egypt. She declares her allegiance to the Roman Empire. The lovers sing and all welcome the arrival of peace.
Julius Caesar, Mezzo or Baritone
Curio, Caesar’s General, Bass-Baritone
Cleopatra, Sister to Tolomeo, Baritone
Tolomeo, Cleopatra’s brother, Counter Tenor or Mezzo
Cornelia, Married to Pompeo and his widow, Mezzo
Sesto, Their young son, Soprano or High Mezzo
Nireno, Servant to Cleopatra, Counter Tenor or Mezzo
Achilas, Tolomeo’s general, Bass-Baritone
Music Director: Jo Greenaway
Fri Jul 28 - 8pm • Wed Aug 2 - 2pm • Thurs Aug 3 - 8pm • Sat Aug 5 - 8pm
Leporello waits for his master, Don Giovanni. A masked Giovanni rushes out of the house pursued by Donna Anna, and her awakened father who tries to defend his daughter. A duel ensues and Giovanni kills the Commendatore. Anna mourns her father while her fiancé Don Ottavio pledges to avenge his death.
The next morning, Giovanni and Leporello encounter Donna Elvira, who is seeking the man who betrayed her. Giovanni, the culprit, tries to console her before realizing her identity. He makes a quick getaway, leaving Leporello to explain to Elvira that she is just another one of Giovanni’s many conquests.
Meanwhile Zerlina and Masetto’s celebrate their wedding – Giovanni joins in the celebrations. He sends the wedding party to his home while he flirts with Zerlina. Anna and Ottavio arrive and ask Giovanni for his assistance in finding the man who killed the Commendator. Elvira returns to warn all of them of Giovanni’s character, but he makes another quick exit. Suddenly, Anna realizes who he is and tells Ottavio the full story, demanding that he find Giovanni and avenge her father’s death.
A party begins at Giovanni’s home with all of the wedding guests. Anna, Ottavio and Elvira appear at the house masked and are invited to join the party. There, Giovanni leads Zerlina to another room. She screams and everyone rushes to rescue her. Giovanni blames Leporello. Anna, Ottavio and Elvira remove their masks and accuse Giovanni.
Giovanni switches clothes with Leporello to woo Elvira’s maid. Mistaking Leporello for Giovanni, Elvira comes down to be led away by him. Masetto appears, armed and with villagers. Don Giovanni (who is still disguised as Leporello) offers to help them. After sending the peasants the wrong way, Giovanni tricks Masetto into giving him all his weapons and makes a quick exit.
Later on, Leporello (who is still believed by Elvira to be Giovanni) is confronted by Anna, Ottavio, Zerlina and Masetto. A panicked Leporello reveals his true identity before escaping. Ottavio asks the others to look after Anna as he looks for Giovanni to take revenge.
Leporello joins his master in a cemetery where they notice a statue of the Commendatore. Suddenly, a voice from the statue warns Giovanni of his impending doom. Leporello is terrified but Giovanni invites the statue to a banquet.
At the banquet Elvira appears and begs Giovanni one last time to change his life and marry her, but he dismisses her. The statue arrives to ask Giovanni to repent. Giovanni refuses and is thus consumed by the flames of hell.
Don Giovanni, Baritone
Leporello, His servant, Baritone
Donna Anna, soprano
Commendatore, Her father, Bass-Baritone
Don Ottavio, Her fiancée, Tenor
Donna Elvira, An aristocrat, abandoned by Giovanni, Soprano
Zerlina, A young country girls, Soprano or high mezzo
Masetto, A Country man, married to Zerlina, Baritone
Music Director: Helen Becqué
Sat Jul 29 - 8pm • Tues Aug 1 - 8pm • Sat Aug 5 - 2pm • Sun Aug 6 - 2pm
The Marquis and Chevalier de la Force talk about the general unrest in France and their worries about Blanche, at a time when crowds stop carriages in the street and aristocrats are attacked. The pathologically timid Blanche de la Force decides to retreat from the world and enter a Carmelite convent. The Mother Superior informs her that the Carmelite Order is not a refuge; it is the duty of the nuns to guard the Order, not the other way around. In the convent, the chatterbox Sister Constance tells Blanche that she has had a dream that the two of them will die young together. The prioress, who is dying, commits Blanche to the care of Mother Marie. The Mother Superior dies in agony. Blanche and Mother Marie, who witness her death, are shaken.
Blanche's brother, the Chevalier de la Force, arrives to announce that their father thinks Blanche should withdraw from the convent, since she is not safe there. Blanche refuses, saying that she has found happiness in the Carmelite Order. Later she admits to Mother Marie that it is fear that keeps her from leaving.
The chaplain announces that he has been forbidden to preach on how fear rules the country, and no one has the courage to stand up for the priests. Sister Constance asks, "Are there no men left to come to the aid of the country?" "When priests are lacking, martyrs are superabundant," replies the new Mother Superior. Mother Marie says that the Carmelites can save France by giving their lives, but the Mother Superior corrects her: it is not permitted to choose to become a martyr; God decides who will be martyred.
The Legislative Assembly has nationalized the convent and its property, and the nuns must give up their religious habits. When Mother Marie acquiesces, the officer taunts her for being eager to dress like everyone else. She replies that the nuns will continue to serve, no matter how they are dressed. "The people have no need of servants," proclaims the officer haughtily. "No, but they have a great need for martyrs," responds Mother Marie. "In times like these, death is nothing," he says. "Life is nothing," she answers, "when it is so debased."
In the absence of the new prioress, Mother Marie proposes that the nuns take a vow of martyrdom. However, all must agree, or Mother Marie will not insist. A secret vote is held; there is one dissenting voice. Sister Constance declares that she was the dissenter, and that she has changed her mind, so the vow can proceed. Blanche runs away from the convent, and Mother Marie goes to look for her, finding her in her father's library. Her father has been guillotined, and Blanche has been forced to serve her former servants.
The nuns are all arrested and condemned to death, but Mother Marie is away at the time of the arrest. Upon receiving the news, the chaplain tells Mother Marie, when they meet again, that since God has chosen to spare her, she cannot voluntarily become a martyr by joining the others in prison.
At the last moment, Blanche appears, to Constance's joy, to join her condemned sisters. Having seen all the other nuns executed, as she mounts the scaffold, Blanche sings the final stanza of the "Veni Creator Spiritus," "Deo Patri sit gloria."
Marquis de la Force, Baritone
Chevalier de la Force, his son, Tenor
Blanche de la Force/Sister Blanche of the Agony of Christ, his daughter, Soprano
Thierry, a footman, Baritone
Madame de Croissy, the prioress of the monastery, Contralto
Sister Constance of St. Denis, a young novice, Soprano
Mother Marie of the Incarnation, sub-prioress, Mezzo-soprano
M. Javelinot, a doctor, Baritone
Madame Lidoine/Mother Marie of St. Augustine, the new prioress, Soprano
Mother Jeanne of the Holy Child Jesus, the oldest nun, Contralto