COC Media Releases

11/4/2016

VANCOUVER’S SIMONE MCINTOSH WINS TOP PRIZE AT CANADIAN OPERA COMPANY'S ANNUAL VOCAL COMPETITION

Read the PDF version.

TorontoSimone McIntosh of Vancouver took home First Prize (the Chair’s Prize) at the Canadian Opera Company's annual Ensemble Studio Competition on November 3, 2016 at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. The competition is the feature event of the COC gala fundraiser Centre Stage, an annual celebration of Canada’s emerging operatic voices. McIntosh was selected from seven finalists to receive the $5,000 award, supported annually by the Chair of the COC’s Board of Directors. Samuel Chan of Calgary won the Second Prize of $3,000, and Geoffrey Schellenberg of Vancouver was awarded the Third Prize of $1,500. Myriam Leblanc from St-Lazare, Quebec was the winner of the Audience Choice Award, worth $1,500.

Legendary Canadian tenor Ben Heppner hosted the exhilarating vocal showcase featuring singers selected from this year’s nationwide auditions for the COC Ensemble Studio—Canada’s premier training program for young opera professionals, of which Heppner is an alumnus. Further adding to the excitement of the evening was the opening performance by the internationally acclaimed COC Orchestra, conducted by COC Music Director Johannes Debus, with the overture to Mikhail Glinka’s Ruslan and Lyudmila as well as a surprise appearance by one of the most exciting vocal and dramatic talents on the international opera and concert scene, American tenor Russell Thomas. Currently starring to critical acclaim as Pollione in the COC’s production of Norma, Thomas was accompanied by the COC Orchestra as he sang “Lamento di Federico” from Francesco Cilea’s L’Arlesiana and “Dein ist mein ganzes Herz” from Franz Lehár’s Das Land des Lächelns.

“Our Centre Stage gala focuses the spotlight on the country’s best and brightest young stars. The evening is a stage on which big dreams get to play out and we all come away having experienced the first-hand excitement of maybe watching a star being born,” says COC General Director Alexander Neef. “It was a great night for opera in this country and I look forward to seeing what comes next for all the young artists who competed.”

The seven finalists were selected from a pool of 119 applicants for the 2017/2018 COC Ensemble Studio. On November 3, the adjudication panel heard each finalist perform two arias accompanied by the COC Orchestra conducted by Debus. The first aria was sung before a private audience of select COC patrons and the second was before the larger Centre Stage public audience of 874 patrons. The adjudication panel was comprised of COC General Director Alexander Neef; COC Director of Music and Artistic Administration Roberto Mauro; Director of the COC Ensemble Studio and Orchestra Academy Nina Draganić; and Head of the COC Ensemble Studio Liz Upchurch, Canadian soprano and Ensemble Studio Head Vocal Consultant Wendy Nielsen—also a graduate of the COC’s program; and Neil Shicoff, one of the leading tenors of his generation and now a sought-after vocal coach.

In addition to competing for the four cash prizes, the finalists are hoping to secure a highly coveted position in the company’s 17/18 Ensemble Studio. The 2016 competition showcases the opera talent scouted by the COC from across the country on its national audition tour and features those artists from the final round of auditions for the prestigious program.

COC artistic staff will confirm the line-up of the 17/18 Ensemble Studio at a later date. The 17/18 Ensemble Studio members will join an illustrious program that, since its inception in 1980, has launched the careers of over 215 Canadian singers, opera coaches, stage directors and conductors, including Ben Heppner, Isabel Bayrakdarian, John Fanning, Wendy Nielsen, Joseph Kaiser, David Pomeroy, Krisztina Szabó, Allyson McHardy and Lauren Segal.

During the pre-competition cocktail reception, Centre Stage guests enjoyed a sumptuous cheese and charcuterie spread by Cheese Boutique and a selection of wines from Trius Wines. Following the competition, 320 Centre Stage gala guests went on to enjoy an elegant formal dinner on the Four Seasons Centre stage, joined by competition finalists and winners, notable COC artists, Centre Stage host Ben Heppner, American tenor Russell Thomas, and key supporters of the opera company.

The Centre Stage gala culinary experience was prepared by critically acclaimed chef David Lee, a rare opportunity to enjoy his creations outside of dining at Nota Bene where Lee is the executive chef. This year, Lee was inspired by the famous French steak dish, Tournedos Rossini, rumoured to have been created for composer Gioachino Rossini (1792 – 1868). Chef Lee brought his take to the dish with the creation of a progression that nodded to the traditional richness of haute cuisine while also showcasing a modern twist. The menu featured appetizers of organic smoked salmon and heirloom carrot; a main course of Perth County beef tenderloin with foie gras, truffle and Madeira; and Hewitt’s Dairy crème brûlée for dessert. Guests also received a parting gift of CXBO truffles.

A special highlight of the Centre Stage gala dinner was a surprise performance by all 10 current members of the COC Ensemble Studio coming together to delight guests with the “Lippen schweigen” waltz from Lehár’s The Merry Widow and the “Good Night” quartet from Friedrich von Flotow’s Martha.

Proceeds from Centre Stage on November 3 were raised in support of the COC and will go towards the company’s Ensemble Studio.

ABOUT THE WINNERS

Simone McIntosh, First Prize/Chair’s Prize ($5,000)
Arias performed: “Voi che sapete” from Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro and “Una voce poco fa” from Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia.
Vancouver-born mezzo-soprano Simone McIntosh is currently earning her master of music from the Schulich School of Music at McGill University, and received her bachelor’s degree in opera from the University of British Columbia (UBC). Her credits include Waitress in Speed Dating Tonight! and Meg in Little Women (Opera McGill); Donna in Crush (Banff Centre); Béatrice in Béatrice et Bénédict (MY Opera); the Fox in The Cunning Little Vixen, Giulietta in The Tales of Hoffmann and Harry in Albert Herring (UBC Opera Ensemble); Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro (Burnaby Lyric Opera); Cis in Albert Herring (Vancouver Opera). This season with Opera McGill, she sings the role of Ruggiero in Alcina, Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus, and Judith in Bluebeard's Castle.

Samuel Chan, Second Prize ($3,000)
Arias performed: “Lieben, Hassen, Hoffen, Zagen” from Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos and “Hai già vinta la causa” from Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro
A native of Calgary, baritone Samuel Chan received his bachelor of music from the University of Cincinnati College–Conservatory of Music (CCM). In 2015, he was a winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions–Western Canada District. His operatic credits include Donkey in The Bremen Town Musicians and Jacob Grimm in The Brothers Grimm (Highlands Opera Studio); Bob in The Old Maid and the Thief (Fear No Opera); Ruggiero in Alcina and Count Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro (Opera D’Arte at CCM); Page in Amahl and the Night Visitors (Clermont Philharmonic Orchestra); Pastore II/Apollo in L’Orfeo (Cincinnati Chamber Opera); and Don Asdrubale in Lo sposo deluso (City Opera Vancouver). His upcoming roles include Gomatz in Zaïde and Calandrino in L’oca del Cairo with City Opera Vancouver.

Geoffrey Schellenberg, Third Prize ($1,500)
Arias performed: “Avant de quitter ces lieux” from Gounod’s Faust and “Largo al factotum” from Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia
Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, but now based in Vancouver, baritone Geoffrey Schellenberg is currently studying for his master of music at the University of British Columbia (UBC), where he also received his bachelor’s degree. His roles include Papageno in The Magic Flute (UBC and European Music Academy); Demetrius in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Lescaut in Manon, Harašta in The Cunning Little Vixen and Beaupertuis in Il cappello di paglia di Firenze (UBC Opera); the Count in The Marriage of Figaro (UBC Opera and Accademia Europea Dell’Opera); Sharpless in Madama Butterfly (Burnaby Lyric Opera); and Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte (Centre for Opera Studies in Italy). In 2016, Mr. Schellenberg was a winner at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions–Western Canada District and won audience choice.

Myriam Leblanc, Audience Choice Award ($1,500)
Arias performed: “Je veux vivre” Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette and “Regnava nel silenzio” from Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor
Soprano Myriam Leblanc was raised in St-Lazare, Quebec and is a current member of the Atelier Lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal (OdM). She studied at McGill University, where she appeared in the roles of Rosmene in Imeneo, Sandman in Hansel and Gretel, Eurydice in Orphée aux Enfers, Woman’s Voice in La Rondine, and was part of the chorus for The Rake’s Progress. Additional roles include Grand Priestess in Aida (OdM) and Juliet in Romeo and Juliet (Jeunesses Musicales du Canada). In 2017, she sings the role of Micaëla in Carmen with Orchestre symphonique de Longueuil and will appear as a soloist with Choeur Classique de Montréal.


CENTRE STAGE ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Platinum Sponsors: Mercedes-Benz Canada, RBC Capital Markets

Opera Under 30 Sponsor: TD Bank Group

Competition Sponsor: Hal Jackman Foundation

Gold Sponsors: Brookfield Asset Management, Scotiabank

Artist Sponsors: Earlaine Collins, Ninalee Craig, and June Shaw and the late Dr. Ralph Shaw

Prize Sponsors: Chair’s Prize (First Prize) – Colleen Sexsmith; Second Prize – ARIAS: Canadian Opera Student Development Fund; Third Prize – Tom C. Logan; Audience Choice Award – Classical 96.3 FM

Voting Technology Sponsor: Turning Technologies

Event Supporters: BT/A, Chairman Mills, Cheese Boutique, Colour Innovations, DMF Flowers, Evoke Designs, Nota Bene, Ryan Emberley, Trius, Turning Technologies, Wellington Printworks


COC 2016/2017 SEASON ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

BMO Financial Group: Season Sponsor

Mercedes-Benz Canada: Official Automotive Sponsor of the COC at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts

TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite Privilege*: Preferred Credit Card

TD Bank Group: Presenting Sponsor Opera Under 30


About the Ensemble Studio Competition
The Ensemble Studio Competition features singers from the final round of auditions for the COC Ensemble Studio, Canada’s premier training program for young opera professionals, competing for cash prizes ranging in value from $1,500 – $5,000. The competition was launched in 2011 by COC General Director Alexander Neef to showcase the opera talent the COC had scouted from across the country and create a public platform for celebrating the future of opera in Canada.

With the creation of Centre Stage, the COC opened the Ensemble Studio Competition to an audience of over 1,000 opera lovers and interested guests as it moved from the intimate setting of the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre at the Four Seasons Centre to R. Fraser Elliott Hall. In 2013, the competition finalists were showcased as never before as they performed with an orchestra led by a world-renowned conductor from the mainstage of the COC’s opera house.

The annual Ensemble Studio audition process, open only to Canadian citizens and permanent residents, takes COC artistic staff across Canada for preliminary auditions, followed by a final callback audition at the COC’s Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Opera Centre in Toronto. It’s from this pool of singers that finalists are selected for the Ensemble Studio Competition.

About the COC Ensemble Studio
The COC Ensemble Studio is Canada’s premier training program for young opera professionals. Since the inception of the program in 1980, over 215 young professional Canadian singers, opera coaches, stage directors and conductors have acquired their first major professional operatic experience through the Ensemble Studio. Former members include Ben Heppner, Isabel Bayrakdarian, John Fanning, Wendy Nielsen, Joseph Kaiser, David Pomeroy, Krisztina Szabó, Allyson McHardy and Lauren Segal.

The members of the Ensemble Studio are the COC’s resident artists and important ambassadors for the company. They receive a blend of advanced study and practical experience through an individually tailored, multi-year program, involving understudying and performing mainstage roles, intensive vocal coaching, language and acting studies, and career skills development, as well as participation in masterclasses with internationally renowned opera professionals.

The COC Ensemble Studio, underwritten in part by Peter M. Deeb, Marjorie and Roy Linden, RBC Foundation and The Slaight Family Foundation, is Canada’s premier training program for young opera professionals and provides advanced instruction, hands-on experience, and career development opportunities. The Ensemble Studio is also supported by the Government of Canada, the Hal Jackman Foundation and other generous donors.

About the Canadian Opera Company
Based in Toronto, the Canadian Opera Company is the largest producer of opera in Canada and one of the largest in North America. The COC enjoys a loyal audience support-base and one of the highest attendance and subscription rates in North America. Under its leadership team of General Director Alexander Neef and Music Director Johannes Debus, the COC is increasingly capturing the opera world’s attention. The COC maintains its international reputation for artistic excellence and creative innovation by creating new productions within its diverse repertoire, collaborating with leading opera companies and festivals, and attracting the world’s foremost Canadian and international artists. The COC performs in its own opera house, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, hailed internationally as one of the finest in the world. Designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects, the Four Seasons Centre opened in 2006. For more information on the Canadian Opera Company, please visit coc.ca.

-30 -

For more information or to request photography, please contact:
Jennifer Pugsley, Media Relations Manager, tel: 416-306-2303, e-mail: jenniferp@coc.ca
Kristin McKinnon, Publicist, tel: 416-306-2383, e-mail: kmckinnon@coc.ca

Posted by Public Relations / in Press Releases / comments (0) / permalink

10/17/2016

SEVEN CANADIAN SINGERS COMPETE IN COC’S ANNUAL VOCAL SHOWCASE AT CENTRE STAGE GALA FUNDRAISER

Read the PDF version.

Toronto - The Canadian Opera Company has selected seven finalists from across the country to showcase in this year’s exhilarating vocal competition at its annual gala fundraiser, Centre Stage, on November 3, 2016. Selected from a pool of 119 aspiring Canadian opera singers, the final seven will take to the stage of Toronto’s Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts to perform selected arias in the hopes of securing a cash prize, ranging in value from $1,500 – $5,000, and a highly coveted invitation to join Canada’s premier training program for young opera professionals, the COC Ensemble Studio.

Centre Stage is an inspiring night to celebrate Canada’s emerging opera voices with its feature event, the Ensemble Studio Competition, offering patrons in attendance a rare glimpse into the early days of a young opera singer’s professional journey. The young singers featured in the 2016 vocal competition are: baritone Samuel Chan (Calgary); soprano Maria Lacey (St. John’s, N.L.); soprano Myriam Leblanc (Saint-Lazare, Que.); soprano Andrea Lett (Prince Albert, Sask.); mezzo-soprano Simone McIntosh (Vancouver); soprano Andrea Núñez (Markham, Ont.); and baritone Geoffrey Schellenberg (Vancouver).

The 2016 finalists were chosen following preliminary auditions in Calgary, Toronto and Montreal. At Centre Stage on November 3, each singer will give a performance showcasing their vocal technique, as well as artistic and interpretive range, before an audience and panel of judges. First Prize, also known as the Chair’s prize in recognition of the Chair of the COC’s Board of Directors, is valued at $5,000 with $3,000 awarded for Second Prize and $1,500 for Third Prize. An Audience Choice Award, selected by audience vote, is valued at $1,500. Select finalists may also be invited to join the COC’s 2017/2018 Ensemble Studio, to be announced at a later date.

Centre Stage is a celebration of Canada’s emerging opera voices and it’s a testament to the richness of talent developing across the country to showcase a cross-section of voices drawn from communities coast-to-coast at the competition this year,” says COC General Director Alexander Neef. “Every year the pool of finalists bring something new to the competition. This year, with many singers of the same voice type, it’s a unique opportunity for the finalists to show their distinctive characteristics and individual artistic flair in how they sing their pieces of music.”

COC General Director Alexander Neef heads the jury for the vocal competition portion of the evening. He’s joined by returning judges COC Director of Music and Artistic Administration Roberto Mauro, Director of the COC Ensemble Studio and Orchestra Academy Nina Draganić, and Head of the COC Ensemble Studio Liz Upchurch, as well as Canadian soprano and Ensemble Studio Head Vocal Consultant Wendy Nielsen, who is also a graduate of the COC’s program. New to the panel for 2016 is American tenor Neil Shicoff, hailed as one of the leading tenors of his generation and now a sought-after vocal coach.

Hosting Centre Stage this year is legendary Canadian tenor and CBC Radio personality Ben Heppner. A 1984 graduate of the COC’s Ensemble Studio, Heppner went on to have an illustrious career that took him to opera stages and concert halls around the world before giving his final professional opera performance in the title role of Peter Grimes with the COC in 2013. On November 3, 2016, Heppner hosts Centre Stage for the second time since the gala launched in 2013. He’ll oversee the evening’s vocal fireworks when the seven finalists perform from the mainstage of Canada’s first purpose-built opera house, accompanied by the internationally acclaimed COC Orchestra led by COC Music Director Johannes Debus, before an audience of 1,000 spectators. The vocal showcase at Centre Stage culminates in an announcement of the competition’s winners.

Following the competition, Centre Stage gala guests go on to enjoy an elegant formal dinner from the stunning vantage point of the Four Seasons Centre stage, joined by competition finalists and winners and notable COC artists, as well as key supporters of the company, including many of Canada’s business and philanthropic leaders. Guests are treated to a rare opportunity to enjoy the gastronomic creations of Chef David Lee outside of the acclaimed restaurant Nota Bene, where Lee is executive chef. This year’s gourmet experience is inspired by the famous French steak dish, Tournedos Rossini, rumoured to have been created for composer Gioachino Rossini (1792 – 1868). Chef Lee brings his take on the contemporary Canadian experience with the creation of a culinary progression that nods to the traditional richness of haute cuisine while also showcasing a modern twist.

Doors open to the Four Seasons Centre (145 Queen St. W.) at 5:30 p.m. for a cocktail reception with the vocal competition taking place at 6:30 p.m. in R. Fraser Elliott Hall. Tickets to Centre Stage are $100 for the cocktail reception and competition. Specially priced $35 tickets are also available for patrons between the ages of 16 and 29 through Opera Under 30 sponsored by TD Bank Group. Gala dinner tickets are $1,500. All proceeds from Centre Stage support the COC’s Ensemble Studio.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit COCCentreStage.ca, call COC Ticket Services at 416-363-8231 or visit the Four Seasons Centre Box Office (145 Queen St. W.)


CENTRE STAGE ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Platinum Sponsors: Mercedes-Benz Canada, RBC Capital Markets

Opera Under 30 Sponsor: TD Bank Group

Gold Sponsors: Brookfield Asset Management

Artist Sponsors: Earlaine Collins, Ninalee Craig, and June Shaw and the late Dr. Ralph Shaw

Prize Sponsors: Chair’s Prize (First Prize) – Colleen Sexsmith; Second Prize – ARIAS: Canadian Opera Student Development Fund; Third Prize – Tom C. Logan; Audience Choice Award – Classical 96.3 FM

Voting Technology Sponsor: Turning Technologies

Event Supporters: BT/A Advertising, Chairman Mills, Cheese Boutique, Colour Innovations, DMF Flowers, Evoke Designs, Nota Bene, Ryan Emberley, Trius, Turning Technologies, Wellington Print


COC 2016/2017 SEASON ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

BMO Financial Group: Season Sponsor

Mercedes-Benz Canada: Official Automotive Sponsor of the COC at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing

Arts

TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite Privilege*: Preferred Credit Card

TD Bank Group: Presenting Sponsor Opera Under 30


About the Ensemble Studio Competition
The Ensemble Studio Competition features singers from the final round of auditions for the COC Ensemble Studio, Canada’s premier training program for young opera professionals, competing for cash prizes ranging in value from $1,500 – $5,000. The competition was launched in 2011 by COC General Director Alexander Neef to showcase the opera talent the COC had scouted from across the country and create a public platform for celebrating the future of opera in Canada.

With the creation of Centre Stage, the COC opened the Ensemble Studio Competition to an audience of over 1,000 opera lovers and interested guests as it moved from the intimate setting of the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre at the Four Seasons Centre to R. Fraser Elliott Hall. In 2013, the competition finalists were showcased as never before as they performed with an orchestra led by a world-renowned conductor from the mainstage of the COC’s opera house.

The annual Ensemble Studio audition process, open only to Canadian citizens and permanent residents, takes COC artistic staff across Canada for preliminary auditions, followed by a final callback audition at the COC’s Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Opera Centre in Toronto. It’s from this pool of singers that finalists are selected for the Ensemble Studio Competition.

About the COC Ensemble Studio
The COC Ensemble Studio is Canada’s premier training program for young opera professionals. Since the inception of the program in 1980, over 215 young professional Canadian singers, opera coaches, stage directors and conductors have acquired their first major professional operatic experience through the Ensemble Studio. Former members include Ben Heppner, Isabel Bayrakdarian, John Fanning, Wendy Nielsen, Joseph Kaiser, Allyson McHardy, David Pomeroy, Lauren Segal and Krisztina Szabó.

The members of the Ensemble Studio are the COC’s resident artists and important ambassadors for the company. They receive a blend of advanced study and practical experience through an individually tailored, multi-year program, involving understudying and performing mainstage roles, intensive vocal coaching, language and acting studies, and career skills development, as well as participation in masterclasses with internationally renowned opera professionals.

The COC Ensemble Studio, underwritten in part by Peter M. Deeb, Marjorie and Roy Linden, RBC Foundation and The Slaight Family Foundation, is Canada’s premier training program for young opera professionals and provides advanced instruction, hands-on experience, and career development opportunities. The Ensemble Studio is also supported by the Government of Canada, the Hal Jackman Foundation and other generous donors.

About the Canadian Opera Company
Based in Toronto, the Canadian Opera Company is the largest producer of opera in Canada and one of the largest in North America. The COC enjoys a loyal audience support-base and one of the highest attendance and subscription rates in North America. Under its leadership team of General Director Alexander Neef and Music Director Johannes Debus, the COC is increasingly capturing the opera world’s attention. The COC maintains its international reputation for artistic excellence and creative innovation by creating new productions within its diverse repertoire, collaborating with leading opera companies and festivals, and attracting the world’s foremost Canadian and international artists. The COC performs in its own opera house, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, hailed internationally as one of the finest in the world. Designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects, the Four Seasons Centre opened in 2006. For more information on the Canadian Opera Company, please visit its award-winning website, coc.ca.

- 30 -

For more information or to request photography, please contact:
Jennifer Pugsley, Media Relations Manager, tel: 416-306-2303, e-mail: jenniferp@coc.ca
Kristin McKinnon, Publicist, tel: 416-306-2383, e-mail: kmckinnon@coc.ca

Posted by Public Relations / in Press Releases / comments (0) / permalink

10/14/2016

ECO-CONSCIOUS OPERA SECOND NATURE RECEIVES CANADIAN PREMIERE WITH COC’S ENSEMBLE STUDIO SCHOOL TOUR

Read the PDF version.

Rising star composer Matthew Aucoin’s opera to reach 10,000 young people across Ontario

Toronto – This fall, Second Nature, a thought-provoking opera with an environmental message, receives its Canadian premiere with the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio School Tour. Nearly 10,000 young people will experience live opera in their own communities when the touring production visits schools across Ontario from November 10 to December 4, 2016, and is presented in one public performance taking place on November 27 in Toronto.

Second Nature has been hailed as “entertaining yet thoughtful” with an “absorbing and inventive” score (Chicago Tribune). The inspirational work is the creation of award-winning American composer, pianist and poet Matthew Aucoin, who has been called “the next Leonard Bernstein” (Wall Street Journal) and “Opera’s Great 25-Year-Old Hope” (New York Times).

“In 2016, it’s easy to believe everything’s available to us with the click of a mouse–but opera reminds us that the human voice needs to be experienced in person, in all its primal beauty,” says composer Matthew Aucoin. “So I’m thrilled that my chamber opera Second Nature will be travelling around Ontario, and that kids will hear the COC’s extraordinary young singers up-close and personal!”

Set in a post-apocalyptic, dystopian future where humans have retreated from nature because of the deteriorating environment, Second Nature is about two curious and courageous pre-teens who decide to leave the safety of their artificial habitat and work to heal the planet. Dora Award-winning duo, director Ashlie Corcoran and designer Camellia Koo, bring the futuristic, zoo-like enclosure of Second Nature’s “Habitat” to life, and the opera is performed by the rising stars of the COC Ensemble Studio, Canada’s premier training program for young opera professionals.

“For 50 years, the Ensemble Studio School Tour has introduced countless students to the power of opera and live performance,” says Katherine Semcesen, the COC’s Associate Director, Education and Outreach. “At its heart, opera is about telling compelling stories that resonate with audiences. With Aucoin’s Second Nature, we’ve found an opera that showcases the operatic art form at its best, through a story that shares an important environmental message relevant for today’s youth.”

Aucoin adds: “I hope that the kids enjoy the opera, and that they’re moved by the amazing work the COC’s singers are doing. But I also hope that Second Nature inspires them to think about what our species is doing to the environment, and what our world might look like in a hundred years if we stay on the course we’re on today.”

Leading up to the in-school opera experience, the COC offers free workshops to each school for up to 40 student leaders in grades 6, 7, and 8. Led by artist educator Bryna Berezowska, each workshop teaches students about the basics of opera as an art form, and they are introduced to the plot, characters, and themes of Second Nature. The participants then become their school’s Opera Ambassadors and present what they’ve learned to their peers in advance of the performance.

In addition to travelling to elementary and middle schools across the province, a public performance of Second Nature takes place on Sunday, November 27 at the Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Opera Centre in Toronto. Before the performance, families can participate in fun, hands-on activities related to the opera. Tickets are $10 for children under the age of 15 and $15 for adults. They may be purchased by calling COC Ticket Services at 416-363-8231 or visiting coc.ca/OperaForFamilies.

Created specifically for young audiences, Second Nature is sung in English and is approximately 50 minutes in length. A 10-minute question-and-answer period with the cast and crew follows every performance. It is ideal for students in grades 4 to 8.

Cast and Creative Team of Second Nature
Director: Ashlie Corcoran
Music Directors: Hyejin Kwon and Stéphane Mayer
Set and Costume Designer: Camellia Koo
Stage Manager: Michael Lewandowski

Lydia: Emily D’Angelo/Lauren Eberwein
Jake: Aaron Sheppard/Charles Sy
Elizabeth: Betty Allison/Danika Lorèn
David/Bonobo: Iain MacNeil/Bruno Roy
Elder Constance: Samantha Pickett/Megan Quick

About Matthew Aucoin
Matthew Aucoin is an American composer, conductor, writer, and pianist. In 2016, he became Artist-in-Residence at Los Angeles Opera, a position created for him that fuses his work as a composer and conductor. Each season Aucoin will conduct at LA Opera, including the world premiere of his own new work, commissioned by LA Opera for the 2018/2019 season. Recently, he conducted the premiere of his opera, Crossing, at Boston’s American Repertory Theater. He is currently working on a new opera for the Metropolitan Opera/Lincoln Center Theater’s New Works program.

The COC welcomes media coverage of school performances. Photographers and writers must advise the COC’s media relations team 48 hours before the performance of their attendance at the in-school presentation. The COC must advise the school before any media can attend. This is a legal requirement.


Acknowledgements


The COC Ensemble Studio, underwritten in part by Peter M. Deeb, Marjorie and Roy Linden, RBC Foundation and The Slaight Family Foundation, is Canada’s premier training program for young opera professionals and provides advanced instruction, hands-on experience, and career development opportunities. The Ensemble Studio is also supported by the Government of Canada, the Hal Jackman Foundation and other generous donors.

The 2016 Ensemble Studio School Tour is booked through the COC’s arts education and touring partner, Prologue to the Performing Arts. The COC is a founding partner of Prologue, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this season.

About the Canadian Opera Company
Based in Toronto, the Canadian Opera Company is the largest producer of opera in Canada and one of the largest in North America. The COC enjoys a loyal audience support-base and one of the highest attendance and subscription rates in North America. Under its leadership team of General Director Alexander Neef and Music Director Johannes Debus, the COC is increasingly capturing the opera world’s attention. The COC maintains its international reputation for artistic excellence and creative innovation by creating new productions within its diverse repertoire, collaborating with leading opera companies and festivals, and attracting the world’s foremost Canadian and international artists. The COC performs in its own opera house, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, hailed internationally as one of the finest in the world. Designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects, the Four Seasons Centre opened in 2006. For more information on the COC, visit its award-winning website, coc.ca.

- 30 -

For more information or to request photography, please contact:

Kristin McKinnon, Publicist and Publications Co-ordinator, tel: 416-306-2383, e-mail: kmckinnon@coc.ca
Jennifer Pugsley, Media Relations Manager, tel: 416-306-2303, e-mail: jenniferp@coc.ca

Posted by Public Relations / in Press Releases / comments (0) / permalink

Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10  >> Next 
COC Blogs
Read the latest news about the COC.
Follow Us
The COC is on Twitter!
COC In The News
Read interesting articles and news from other publications about the COC