Toronto Operetta Theatre is Canada's only professional operetta company. TOT was launched with performances of Lehar's THE COUNT OF LUXEMBOURG in 1985 and was incorporated as a not-for-profit performing arts organization in 1989. Over 60 operetta productions have followed, including performances of seldom seen works such as CZARDAS PRINCESS, WIENER BLUT, LA VIE PARISIENNE, THE BEGGAR STUDENT, and LAND OF SMILES.
A Sunday Matinee concert series was introduced in 1989 to explore the works of composers such as Ivor Novello, Kurt Weill, Franz von Suppé, Victor Herbert, Reynaldo Hahn, Edward German and Leo Fall. The number of performances expanded from 4 to 21 performances as did the European-centered repertoire choices, which now include works for the lyric stage from Latin American, the United States, Spain and Canada.
TOT's alumni include Colin Ainsworth, Elizabeth Beeler, Russell Braun, Lara Ciekiewicz, Grant Cowan, Elizabeth DeGrazia, Sally Dibblee, Mark DuBois, Alexander Dobson, Meredith Hall, Barbara Hannigan, Keith Klassen, Robert Longo, Gary Relyea, Jean Sitwell, and Laura Whalen. Conductors have included Raffi Armenian, Derek Bate, Robert Cooper, Victor Feldbrill, Susan Haig, Alexis Hauser, Jose Hernandez, Jeffrey Huard, Kevin Mallon, David Speers, Wayne Strongman and Julian Wachner.
The Canadian classic LEO, THE ROYAL CADET (1889) by Oscar Telgmann returned to the stage after a seven-decade absence with Toronto composer and conductor John Greer's re-imagined orchestration, built from existing fragments. Calixa Lavallée's THE WIDOW was presented in February 2004 and EARNEST, THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING by composer Victor Davies and librettist Eugene Benson made its World Premiere on February 23, 2008. Broadcasts by Classical 96.3 FM Radio with the late Michael Campeau helped TOT introduce the music of Ivor Novello to thousands of radio listeners. TOT was twice a participant in the Toronto Street Festival joining forces with such participants as the Toronto Symphony at the Scotiabank Site on St. Clair Avenue. TOT has toured to Brantford, Sault St. Marie, Welland, Belleville, Orangeville, Collingwood, Kitchener Waterloo, Haliburton and the Algoma Fall Festival for concert presentations and fully-staged productions.