The Nightingale of a Thousand Songs

The Nightingale of a Thousand Songs

Composed by Serouj Kradjian | Libretto by Marjorie Chan

June 9 – 11, 2023
Lyric Theatre, Meridian Arts Centre | 5040 Yonge St, North York, ON

To Live. To Thrive. To Heal.

The Canadian Children’s Opera Company proudly announces the return of its annual main stage production with our latest commission, The Nightingale of a Thousand Songs, based on a beloved Armenian folk tale, by Juno award-winning composer Serouj Kradjian and Dora award-winning playwright and librettist Marjorie Chan. The Nightingale of a Thousand Songs, the latest new opera in the CCOC’s long history of new commissioned works, follows the journey of two siblings, Leah and Ari, as they emerge from a tragedy in their homeland. The children embark on an adventure to find the Nightingale of a Thousand Songs to bring back life and joy to their world. Along the way, they remember their lost friends and family and face many challenges and obstacles. The story is one of healing and hope, and exploring what it means to be able to move on from a terrible event. The opera represents the rich culture and music that unites the Caucasus & the Middle East. As the lead characters travel from the plains of Mount Ararat, through the region to Lebanon, the music changes to reflect a more distinct Arabic style, incorporating traditional instruments and texts.

Performed by over 80 choristers in the CCOC’s Principal, Youth, Intermediate, and Apprentices choruses and a professional chamber orchestra. Appropriate for ages 7 and up.

Performance and Ticket Information

Duration: Approximately 65 minutes without intermission.

School Previews 

June 9, 2023 – 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Public Performances 

June 9, 2023 – 7:30 p.m. Opening Night 

June 10, 2023 – 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. 

June 11, 2023 – 3 p.m. 

Casting note: Leah and Ari will be played by:

Alice Malakhov and Sophie Mestetchkin – June 9 at 10 a.m. & 7:30 p.m., June 10 at 3 p.m. 

Katie Lair and Joel Glickman Rosen on June 9 at 1 p.m., June 10 at 7:30 p.m. and June 11 at 3 p.m.


Public Performances*: Adult – $43 | Senior/Artsworker – $32 | Youth (18 years and younger)/School & Community Groups  – $26^

Student Previews* (school groups only): $15/student/additional chaperone ticket

The CCOC is pleased to provide one teacher/chaperone ticket for every 5 students booked. Additional chaperone tickets can be purchased for $15/chaperone.

Tickets will go onsale on March 7, 2023 at 2 p.m. For more information regarding student group tickets for the school previews, please contact the TO Live Box Office at 416-366-7723 | 1-800-708-6754.

*Includes taxes. Excludes service fees.

^School & Community Groups which serve young people (music schools, children’s choirs, etc.) are eligible to purchase group tickets (min. of 10) to public performances with each student ticket costing $26 plus applicable fees. The CCOC is pleased to provide one teacher/chaperone ticket for every 5 youth tickets purchased. Additional chaperone tickets can be purchased for $26/chaperone. All youth tickets must be used by young people 18 and younger.


A terrible storm wracks the land, leaving siblings Ari and Leah to wander, lost, hungry and alone. Exhausted, they stumble across the tiniest of orchards, sheltered by a mountain’s embrace, and meet three wise trees who advise them of a way to peace. They must find three things – a Golden Fountain, the Harmony Tree, and lastly, the Nightingale of A Thousand Songs. They are each gifted stones which show the Wheel of Eternity; as long as it moves, one knows that the other is safe. Ari wants to leave immediately, but Leah wants to write down the names of children lost before she forgets. Leah and Ari bicker, as siblings do, with each believing the other to be wrong.  Ari sets off, past deserts and rivers and mountains, until he finally meets the old Hermits whose hair covers every part of their bodies. Ari begins to trim all the hair, and eventually frees the Hermits who point him in the right direction, but give him a warning about the Dark Invisible and the Land of Stones.  He cautions that Ari must not look back, or he, too will turn into a black rock forever. But the Dark Invisible taunts him and Ari is sure he hears his sister. He turns around, and in that moment, he freezes and turns into stone.  Meanwhile, Leah notices a change in the Wheel of Eternity. She fears for her brother’s life and in spite of her fear, sets out in search of him. She too, travels past deserts and rivers until she also encounters the Hermits. Watched by the clouds, she climbs through the Dark Invisible, undeterred. When she struggles, the fog steps in to comfort her and gives her encouragement so she can move forward.  Leah makes it past the rocks and to the top of the mountain, where she finds the Nightingale in a Golden Cage, along with the Harmony Tree, and the Golden Fountain.  Leah frees the bird, but the Nightingale is still fearful of her own song. She convinces the Nightingale to use her power of song to rescue the Lost Children in the Rocks. The Nightingale, after being trapped for millennia finds her own courage and sings a glorious song to end all songs – and one by one, the rocks awaken one by one and reveal all the lost children. Among them, Leah finds Ari and they have a happy reunion. The Nightingale, Leah and Ari and all the children return to the orchard, where the waters of the fountain flow, where the harmony tree shelters. But they are not completely at peace, as they are still missing many of the Lost people. The Lady Trees explain that peace and moving forward is possible, but some things like the Storm cannot be undone. The Nightingale encourages them to look to love and to each other, where healing is possible and life can move on and where joy and peace can thrive once again.

Artistic and Creative Team






Stage Manager




Lighting Designer


Props Coordinator




Soprano (The Nightingale)


Production Manager


Music Director


Creative and Cultural Director

The Nightingale of a Thousand Songs Donors and Supporters

Commission Supporter

Production – Major Supporters

Production – Supporters

Mary-Margaret Webb Foundation


Hamazkayin Armenian Educational & Cultural Society

Individual Donors

Tony and Anne Arrell


Lena Ouzounian