The Brothers Grimm. Mireille Asselin as Little Red Cap and Lindsay Barrett as the Wolf.

In celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Brothers Grimm collected fairy tales, the Canadian Opera Company presents GrimmFest.  Running from December 4 – 8, 2012, this week-long festival offers a variety of family-friendly activities taking place at locations throughout Toronto.  The festivities culminate in the 500th performance of The Brothers Grimm, an engaging children’s opera by Canadian composer Dean Burry, inspired by the tale-spinning siblings.

The Brothers Grimm is an imaginative tale of how the two scholarly brothers, Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm, were inspired to capture some of the world’s best-loved fairy tales, including Rapunzel, Rumpelstiltskin and Little Red Riding Hood.  Commissioned by the COC in 1999, it is believed to be the most-performed Canadian opera of all time.

“For two centuries, the Grimm Brothers have captured imaginations around the globe with their iconic collection of fairy tales, which have gone on to influence countless different art forms,” says Katherine Semcesen, the COC’s Associate Director of Education and Outreach.  “With GrimmFest, the COC celebrates the Grimm Brothers’ lasting impact on arts and culture by offering everyone the opportunity to explore these classic stories in a new way.”

“When The Brothers Grimm premiered in 2001, I never expected that we would be celebrating its 500th performance 11 years later,” says Dean Burry, composer and librettist of The Brothers Grimm.  “It means so much to have been a part of this incredible journey and to have introduced so many young people to opera through the magic of these incredible fairy tales.”

The GrimmFest activities begin with two free concerts offered through the COC’s Free Concert Series in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.  On Tuesday, December 4 at 12 p.m., artists of the COC weave a spell of musical enchantment with operatic arias and duets inspired by the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm.  On Wednesday, December 5, at 12 p.m., acclaimed Egyptian-Canadian vocalist Maryem Tollar explores fairy tales, legends and myths from around the world.  Along with Roula Said (vocals/dance/percussion), Naghmeh Farahmand (percussion/vocals) and Waleed Abdulhamid (bass/percussion/vocals), Toller draws on timeless stories from Arabic, African, Persian, Balkan and Roma cultures.

The festivities continue on Thursday, December 6 at 6 p.m. with an insider’s view into the creation of The Brothers GrimmAs part of the COC’s free Opera Talks program at North York Central Library (5120 Yonge St.), composer Dean Burry discusses the inspiration behind creating the popular children’s opera and sheds light on how it became the most performed Canadian opera of all time.  Participants may register in advance by calling 416-395-5639.

The 500th performance of Burry’s The Brothers Grimm takes place on Friday, December 7 at 7:30 p.m. at Daniels Spectrum (585 Dundas St. E.).  Ticketholders to that evening’s performance are also invited to attend a free pre-performance party to mark this special occasion.  Attendees will meet the composer, enjoy light refreshments and take part in a variety of activities, including an exhibition chronicling the opera’s travels across Canada and abroad.  Two additional performances of The Brothers Grimm take place on Saturday, December 8 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., also at Daniels Spectrum.

The Brothers Grimm is approximately 45 minutes in length and is sung in English by the young artists of the COC’s Ensemble Studio, Canada’s premier training program for young opera professionals.  Each performance concludes with a question-and-answer period with the cast.  Tickets to the public performances of The Brothers Grimm cost $25 for adults and $15 for children, and may be purchased by calling COC Ticket Services at 416-363-8231 or by visiting You can also check for more details.


GrimmFest Events-at-a-Glance and Ticket Information

Happily Ever Opera / Fairy Tales from Faraway Lands

Free Concert Series in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre

Tuesday, December 4 and Wednesday, December 5

12 – 1 p.m.

Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts (145 Queen St. W. at University Avenue)

Admission is FREE and seating is first-come, first-served.  Latecomers will not be admitted.


Opera Talks: The Brothers Grimm

Thursday, December 6, 2012

6 – 8 p.m.

North York Central Library, Auditorium (5120 Yonge St.)

Admission is FREE, but advanced registration is recommended.  To register, call 416-395-5639.


The Brothers Grimm 500th Performance Party

Friday, December 7, 2012

6:30 p.m., followed by a performance at 7:30 p.m.

Daniels Spectrum (Formerly Regent Park Arts & Culture Centre – 585 Dundas St. E.)

Admission is FREE with the purchase of a ticket for the December 7 performance (see below).


The Brothers Grimm Family Performances

December 7 at 7:30 p.m.; December 8 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Daniels Spectrum (Formerly Regent Park Arts & Culture Centre – 585 Dundas St. E.)

$25 adults / $15 children – Tickets may be purchased by calling Ticket Services at 416-363-8231 or by visiting Or check Vigrxplus coupon site for more details.




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These posts are for events that are going to take place in the specified city, or events that have recently occurred. They can include but are not limited to: In the City, Scene & Heard and Neighbourhood.

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