AOC’s International Delegations in 2022- 2023 develop/secure business deals and partnerships valued at $1.4M

The Association for Opera in Canada commissioned an International Business Development Strategy for the opera sector in 2019. Severely interrupted by COVID, action on this plan was finally launched in 2022.

See below:

  1. Delegations
  2. Export Readiness Training Session
  3. Coaching Program
  4. Resources


Opera Beyond, Helsinki, September 2022 

Hosted by the Finnish National Opera, Opera Beyond focused on the intersections of opera and new media and the Creative Industries (XR and similar technologies, along with opera film and video production).

An open call was held and a group of eight delegates traveled on behalf of seven member organizations (Against the Grain Theatre, l’Université de Montréal, Loose Tea Theatre, Opéra de Montréal, Opera on the Avalon, Tapestry Opera, and Volcano Theatre). 

AOC worked along-side the Embassy of Canada to Finland to arrange a pre-conference mixer for Canadian delegates, international conference attendees, and relevant local Helsinki organizations.

Partnerships were begun on this delegation that continue to blossom currently, for example the extensive opera research department at UdeM, under the leadership of Ana Solkolovic in collaboration with Zoey Cochran, is continuing a multi-year partnership built during that delegation, with Northern Ireland Opera, as they work together to explore VR technology. 

Funded in part by: Government of Canada: CanExport for Associations

Special Thanks to the Embassy of Canada to Finland, in Helsinki – and especially to Clinton Martin, Commercial Counsellor and Consul, for their extraordinary support throughout this delegation.

OPERA America Opera Conference, Pittsburgh, May 2023

An unofficial delegation activity, the OPERA America Opera Conference in Pittsburgh saw a partnership between AOC’s Pitch New Works Program (part of our suite of New Works Catalyst programs) and OPERA America’s IDEA Grants Program.

Along-side the 20 or so Canadian Producing Company and Agent / Manager Conference Attendees, Association for Opera in Canada was able to send six juried finalists and semi-finalist Canadian new works-in-development. We co-produced a sold-out Pitch Session, focused on starting conversations between the creators and producers of these new works, and potential Canadian co-commissioners, co-producers, and presenters.

Official Pitching Delegates: 

Many of these projects have gone on to negotiate production and co-production agreements in Canada and the USA.

Funded in part by: 

  • Azrieli Foundation
  • Canada Council for the Arts: Arts Abroad Representation and Promotion

Opera Europa Autumn Conference, Copenhagen, October 2023

Hosted by The Royal Danish Opera and Malmö Opera, this delegation supported nine Canadian companies and independent producers as they worked to build connections in Europe and, especially, in the Nordic region.

This delegation supported representatives from Canadian Opera Company, Chants Libres, Les Productions du 10 Avril, Longest Night Society, Opera 5, re:Naissance Opera, Soundstreams, and Tapestry Opera, along-side Independent Artist and Creator Deantha Edmunds. They were able to report back showing over $1.4 Million in total combined increased international revenues coming out of this trip.

AOC worked along-side the Embassies of Canada to the Kingdoms of Denmark and Sweden to arrange a pre-conference breakfast for Canadian delegates, international conference attendees, and relevant local organizations.

We are grateful to Opera Europa who, as generous hosts, provided a conference rate reduction for official delegates and, for the first time, allowed Canadians to fully participate in their Co-production marketplace event.

Funded in part by: Government of Canada: CanExport for Associations

Special Thanks to the Embassies of Canada to the Kingdoms of Denmark and Sweden, and especially to 

Global Affairs Canada and the Trade Commissioner Service

Canada:   Jeffrey Crossman, Ontario Regional Lead, Trade Commissioner, Arts and cultural industries


  1. Paulette Bérubé, Trade Commissioner Assistant Arts and cultural industries, Consumer products, Education
  2. Christian Denter, Senior Trade Commissioner
  3. Denis Robert, Ambassador

Sweden: Maria Stenberg, Trade Commissioner Agriculture and processed foods, Arts and cultural industries, Consumer products, Forestry and wood products, Infrastructure, Mining

OPERA America’s New Works Forum, January 2024 

We currently have an application open (Due today: November 1, 2023), for a Canadian Works-In-Development Showcase to be held at the New Works Forum January 9, 2024.  This showcase will kick off 3 days of activity. 

To Apply:

To Register for the Forum:

Future Delegations

AOC continues to balance support for the health of Canada’s international presence, with the environmental concerns of travel and with our own limited internal capacity. Subject to change, in alignment with our published International Business Development Plan, possible future delegations may include

World Opera Forum, Los Angeles, June 2024

Year TBD: 

  • O. Festival and Meeting of the Music Theatre Now Network
  • Festival d’Aix-en-Provence and Meeting of the ENOA Network
  • RESEO Conference
  • National Opera Association Conference

Export Readiness Training Session

On May 1, 2023, Association for Opera in Canada held an Export Readiness Training Session.

This session featured:

  1. AOC’s International Market Development Strategy
  2. Market Activity Knowledge
  3. Delegations
  4. Funding
  5. On the Trade Commissioner Service

 To quote participant feedback: “Very informative and well-prepared meeting, with no downtime. The guests were well chosen, and their participation generous. It was invaluable to have a privileged contact with Mr. Pinel and to discover the support possibilities offered by the Trade Commissioner Service. Thank you, Mr. Pinel!”

Our thanks to the following colleagues for their invaluable assistance on this session:

  • Dani Fecko, Founder & Executive Director of Fascinator Management
  • Jeffrey Crossman, Deputy Director, Trade Commissioner, Global Affairs and International Trade Canada
  • Pierre-Louis Pinel, Officer, Canada Council Arts Abroad, Officer, Market Access Strategy for Official Language Communities

View this session here:

Funded in part by: Government of Canada: CanExport for Associations

Coaching Program

Over the first 2 years of our New Works Catalyst programs, we have offered over 200 hours of coaching – made available to all Pitch Program applicants and all official Delegation participants. Coaching has ranged from partnership development and international market advising, to all aspects of production and fund development.

Coaching was made available both 1-on-1 and in group settings, offered internally by AOC General Manager Joel Klein, and externally by Dani Fecko of Fascinator Management and Barbara Scales of Latitude 45.

Based on overwhelmingly positive feedback, coaching is planned again in the new year, with the introduction of targeted, topic-focused workshops.

Funded by: Azrieli Foundation


In August 2023, AOC developed a planning kit for International Market Development.