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Anna Christy plays Lucia in English National Opera's Lucia di Lammermoor in 2008.

Clive Barda

Lucia di Lammermoor

If it had been written by Prince in the 1980s instead of Gaetano Donizetti in the 1830s, it would have been called Let's Go Crazy. Instead, it is the Mad Scene, one of the most famous arias in opera and a showpiece for coloratura sopranos ever since it was written, testing the extreme expressive limits of the human voice. In this Canadian Opera Company production, it is famed American soprano Anna Christy who does the Lucia honours accompanied by a rare glass harmonica, as originally performed on opening night almost 200 years ago.

Four Seasons Centre, Toronto, April 17, 20, 26, 30, May 9, 12, 15, 18, 24 (show times 7:30 p.m., except for May 12, at 2 p.m. and May 18 at 4:30 p.m.).

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Dialogues of the CarmelitesYou wouldn't necessarily expect that an opera of surpassing beauty could be created from a story about the beheading of a group of Carmelite nuns during the French Revolution, especially when the beheading is played out in great detail at the opera's end. A wonderful 20th-century work of great passion and intensity, this COC production of Francis Poulenc's Dialogues of the Carmelites is stuffed with great Canadian talent – three of our best internationally known singers: Isabel Bayrakdarian, Adrianne Pieczonka and Judith Forst. A harrowing evening at the opera.

Four Seasons Centre, Toronto, May 8, 11, 14, 17, 19, 21, 23, 25 (all performances at 7:30 p.m., except May 19, 2 p.m., and May 25, 4:30 p.m.)

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