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Canadian Opera Company

Director, Signature Events

Posted On: March 4, 2024
Closing On: April 4, 2024

Location: Toronto/Hybrid
Employment Type: fulltime
Level: management
Salary Range: $130,000 - $140,000


Opera lives at the intersection of music, theatre, dance, and visual art, and the team at Canadian Opera Company (COC) is incredibly passionate about sharing that experience with as many people as possible. COC is seeking a Director, Signature Events to join the team and lead the development and execution of a comprehensive events strategy focused on engaging and inspiring new and existing audiences.

Reporting to the Executive Director, Philanthropy & Audiences, the Director, Signature Events will be an integral member of the Philanthropy & Audiences team working collaboratively with colleagues, volunteers, and donors on key signature events and smaller complementary events. As a dynamic, goal-oriented leader dedicated to shaping exceptional event experiences, the Director will focus on bringing people in to COC’s vibrant and eye-catching event spaces, finding new ways for people to experience the art form.

Working closely with the Executive Director, Philanthropy & Audiences to develop strategy, the Director will craft innovative event concepts, and oversee all aspects of event management and volunteer recruitment to meet fundraising goals while enhancing donor relations and public engagement. As a visionary in event planning and execution, the Director will bring a combination of creativity, strategic thinking and hands-on event management skills, to lead the Signature Event portfolio with energy and excellence.

 At Canadian Opera Company, they enjoy a hybrid work environment with staff in the office a minimum of three days per week.


Based in Toronto, the Canadian Opera Company is the largest producer of opera in Canada and one of the largest in North America. General Director Perryn Leech joined the company in 2021, forming a leadership team with Music Director Johannes Debus and Deputy General Director Christie Darville.

The COC enjoys a loyal audience, including a dedicated base of subscribers, and has an international reputation for artistic excellence and creative innovation. Its diverse repertoire includes new commissions and productions, local and international collaborations with leading opera companies and festivals, and attracts the world’s foremost Canadian and international artists.

The company is an incubator for the future of the art form, nurturing Canada’s new wave of opera performers and creators with customized training and support. The COC’s purpose-built opera house, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, is hailed internationally as one of the finest in the world.

The COC is currently in an exciting moment of renewal focusing on:

  • Bold and inclusive programming that promotes opera as relevant, accessible, and vitally connected.
  • Critical capital investment in the company’s physical infrastructure/assets.
  • A commitment to building creative partnerships with new communities.


 The COC Orchestra—the oldest opera orchestra in Canada—comprises more than 50 permanent instrumentalists and has received worldwide acclaim for its musical versatility and range of expression. Under German-born conductor Johannes Debus, who was appointed Music Director of the Canadian Opera Company in 2009, the orchestra continues to excel in a wide variety of repertoire, achieving “almost otherworldly perfection” (Globe and Mail).



The COC Chorus is made up of professional singers, some of whom have worked with the company for more than 20 years.

The size of the chorus varies according to the musical needs of the repertoire, but the Chorus normally has around 40 singers, divided equally between sopranos, mezzo-sopranos, tenors, baritones, and basses.

From time to time, chorus singers are assigned smaller solo roles in addition to their chorus duties.

Because the Chorus is not a full-time occupation, most members of the Chorus also have day jobs. There are teachers, office workers, university professors—some even work in COC administration!

Sandra Horst and the Canadian Opera Company Chorus are generously underwritten by Tim and Frances Price.


The COC Academy aims to create a vibrant community of Canadian artists and creative professionals through a series of early career development programs, which provide participants with the skills, experiences and resources to thrive in a global opera environment. Currently, it comprises the COC Ensemble Studio, a rigorous training program for singers and pianists/coaches, the COC Orchestra Academy for post-secondary music students, the COC Composer-in-Residence, and the COC Director/Dramaturg-in-Residence.


The Community Partnerships & Programs (CPP) department connects young people, parents, educators, and communities with meaningful and experiential learning opportunities. Our programs are designed to spark creative power through culturally responsive and engaging learning opportunities. Through new and ongoing initiatives such as our Free Concert Series, Opera Makers Programming, COC Summer Opera Intensive, Showcase Series, and COC Teen Council, the CPP department is committed to making opera accessible and dedicated to providing diverse access points and opportunities for the next generation of creatives.

For over 70 years, the COC has invested in opportunities for the community to engage with the performing arts from a number of different disciplines, artistic backgrounds and practices. We are thrilled to continue to broaden program offerings, open doors to brand new communities and organizations, and deliver meaningful, authentic learning opportunities to the people we serve.

Through developing strong connections within the community, the CPP department continues to support, execute and highlight a diverse range of artistic talent that reflects the diverse landscape of Toronto.


The long-awaited announcement for the COC’s new home was made in July 2002.  Ground-breaking for the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts took place on April 11, 2003 and inaugural celebrations took place in June 2006. The opera house, situated at the southeast corner of Queen Street and University Avenue, is a 2000-seat theatre specifically designed for opera and ballet with the finest possible level of acoustics. The contemporary expression of a traditional five-tiered, European horseshoe-shaped auditorium provides unparalleled intimacy between the audience and the stage. A glittering five-storey transparent Isadore & Rosalie Sharp City Room faces University Avenue, encouraging the public to experience the artistic life of the building through regular informal public recitals and performances. This first Canadian purpose-built opera house is designed by the award-winning Toronto-based firm Diamond Schmitt Architects.


The COC’s special events raise vital funds for our artistic programming, outreach initiatives, and talent development programs like the COC Academy, an incubator for the next generation of Canadian artistic talent.

Special events at COC include the Fine Wine Auction and Centre Stage: Ensemble Studio Competition.



  • Ensure the execution of high-quality special events that advance the COC’s brand and donor engagement, while achieving financial and fundraising goals as outlined in annual plans.
  • Direct and manage signature and campaign events, ensuring successful solicitation of corporate partnerships and in-kind support.
  • Oversee the entire event lifecycle including the development of innovative ideas, critical paths and budgets, assignment of responsibilities, management of logistics and execution, and event evaluation.
  • Maintain professional standards in all interactions with COC Executive, government officials, donors, and patrons.
  • Liaise with the COC’s creative agency and Philanthropy & Audiences team on sponsorship proposals, event websites, invitations, collateral materials, email promotions, signage, and speaking remarks and presentations.
  • Build and maintain strong cross-departmental relationships essential for the success of the event portfolio.
  • Collaborate with external committees and agencies, demonstrating effective communication skills and professionalism.
  • Facilitate the volunteer committee solicitation process, identifying prospects, engaging them, and supporting committees to achieve event objectives.
  • Strategically assess current and emerging trends in event planning, finding opportunities to elevate and enhance engagement.
  • Coordinate with suppliers for event logistics and material production.
  • Establish and maintain connections with event venues, marketing and event agencies, and organizations in the arts, culture, and tourism sectors.
  • Manage in-kind partnerships and event sponsorships.


  • Progressive, substantial event management experience, including a minimum of six years of experience in event management.
  • Demonstrated experience recruiting key volunteers and management of formal event committees.
  • Strong and efficient project management skills with the ability to organize and manage a diverse range of assignments and projects with high efficiency and meticulous attention to detail.
  • Excellent budget and revenue forecasting skills.
  • Demonstrated resourcefulness and independence, while being adept at working within the framework of an integrated development program in a team-oriented environment.
  • Proven ability to evaluate a portfolio of events, strategically and creatively identifying areas for opportunity and growth.
  • Digital event proficiency, including experience managing digital events and familiarity with digital event management platforms.
  • Ability to handle sensitive and confidential information with appropriate discretion.
  • Clear understanding of and strict adherence to ethical fundraising standards.
  • Strong communication and analytical skills, including exceptional analytical, interpersonal, verbal, and written communication skills.
  • Robust strategic-thinking capabilities and advanced problem-solving skills.
  • Superior project management abilities with a focus on prioritization and efficiency.
  • Demonstrated learner mindset that welcomes feedback and strives for excellence.
  • Passion for philanthropy and mission focused.
  • Knowledge of trends and emerging practices within fundraising and events.
  • Strong facility using Microsoft Office.
  • Availability to work flexible hours, including evenings and weekends to accommodate after-hours events and meetings.


KCI Search + Talent has been retained to conduct this search on behalf of the Canadian Opera Company. For more information about this opportunity, please contact Jill Anderson at KCI Search + Talent via email at

Interested candidates are invited to send a resume and letter of interest to the email address listed above by April 4, 2024. All inquiries and applications will be held in strict confidence.

The target hiring range for this role is $130,000 – $140,000, and group benefits are also provided.

To view the full Position Brief, please visit:

As Canada’s largest opera company, the Canadian Opera Company deeply values equity and diversity across all levels of the organization and believes in fostering an inclusive, discrimination-free environment that fully supports our team’s personal and collective success. We are committed to building a workforce that reflects our community, our city, and our country and, in turn, the Canadian Opera Company welcomes applicants from all backgrounds and abilities who share and embrace these values of anti-racism and inclusion.

The Canadian Opera Company is committed to providing accommodations for people with disabilities in accordance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) in all parts of the hiring process. If you require an accommodation, please let the Search Consultant know and we will work with you to meet your needs.