Wednesday, November 16, 2011

More good news for Canadian Opera

This came out last week but in light of the BAD news this week about Opera Lyra in Ottawa, this might show us a light at the end of the tunnel...I have heard a number of these singers at the UofT Faculty of Music and can guarantee this will be a night of fabulous talent and potential!

Toronto – Following auditions in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and New York City attended by Canadian Opera Company administrators, 10 out of a pool of over 160 young, aspiring opera singers have been selected to compete in the final auditions at the inaugural COC Ensemble Studio Competition.  For the first time in the history of the COC, the final auditions for singers seeking to join the Ensemble Studio training program will be made public as a vocal competition.  In addition to an offer of a coveted position in the 2012/2013 Ensemble Studio, the singers will be competing for one of four cash prizes.  A limited number of tickets priced at $30 are now on sale for the COC Ensemble Studio Competition, which takes place on Nov. 28, 2011 at 5:30 p.m. in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.

Ten finalists will perform in front of an audience and a panel of judges, comprised of COC General Director Alexander Neef, Music Administrator Sandra Gavinchuk, Head of the Ensemble Studio Liz Upchurch,
Opera Canada editor Wayne Gooding, and Canadian soprano, opera coach, and Ensemble Studio alumna Wendy Nielsen.  Over the course of the two-hour competition, each finalist will perform two arias showcasing their vocal technique and range.  The judging panel will deliberate on location and announce the competition winners at the conclusion of the evening’s event.

Select finalists will be invited to join the 12/13 Ensemble Studio, with the number of offers to be determined by the judging panel.  First, second and third prizes, worth $5,000, $3,000, and $1,500, respectively, will be awarded, in addition to a People’s Choice Award, selected by audience vote, worth $1,500.

The Ensemble Studio Competition highlights the finest young talent from across the country.  Winning a place in what is Canada’s premier training program for opera professionals can be these singers’ first step towards an international opera career. The audience at the vocal competition will be hearing the singers selected to follow in the footsteps of such renowned Ensemble Studio graduates as Ben Heppner, Isabel Bayrakdarian, Joseph Kaiser, and John Fanning, among many others.

The finalists are:
·         Lindsay Barrett (Sudbury, ON)
·         Claire de Sevigne (Montreal, QC)
·         Sasha Djihanian (Montreal, QC)
·         Rachel Fenlon (Victoria, BC)
·         Aviva Fortunata Wilks (Calgary, AB)
·         David Gibbons (Red Deer, AB)
·         Danielle MacMillan (Toronto, ON)
·         Owen McCausland (Saint John, NB)
·         Laura McLean (New Glasgow, NS)
·         Cameron McPhail (Brandon, MB)

“The quantity and quality of young opera talent in Canada is staggering, and the finalists in this year’s competition are truly some of the best emerging artists from across the country,” says COC General Director Alexander Neef, “The members of the Ensemble Studio are the opera stars of tomorrow and, through the COC Ensemble Studio Competition, the public is given the exciting opportunity to be a part of these singers’ professional journeys from the very beginning.” 

Tickets are $30 and are available for purchase online at, by calling COC Ticket Services at 416-363-8231, or in person at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts Box Office, located at 145 Queen St. W., Monday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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