Out of a pool of 120 aspiring opera singers from across the country, eight were selected to compete at Centre Stage: Ensemble Studio Competition on November 3, 2015, our annual celebration of the next generation of opera stars selected from nationwide auditions for the COC Ensemble Studio—Canada’s premier training program for young opera professionals. The competition features the young singers vying for cash prizes ranging in value from $1,500 to $5,000. We interviewed our eight young finalists to learn more—check out all of the interviews, linked by name as they become available, here (or here if on a mobile device).
A native of Laval, Quebec, mezzo-soprano Pascale Spinney studied opera at McGill University and is a current member of the Atelier lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal. Her recent credits include Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly (Opéra de Montréal); Dora in A Little Too Cozy (Banff Centre); Fatmé in Zémire et Azor (Violons du Roy); Hänsel in Hänsel und Gretel (VIVace); Véronique in Le Docteur Miracle (Stu&Jess Productions); the title role in Giulio Cesare in Egitto, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Third Lady in The Magic Flute, Epicene in Volpone, and Eustazio in Rinaldo (Opera McGill). Upcoming roles include Stephano and Gertrude in Jeunesses Musicales du Canada’s touring production of Roméo et Juliette.
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Halifax native and baritone Zachary Read is currently a member of Vancouver Opera’s Yulanda M. Faris Young Artist Program, and he studied opera at the University of Toronto (UofT) and Western University. His credits include Marullo in Rigoletto, Jonas Fogg in Sweeney Todd, Le Podestat in Le Docteur Miracle, Ivan in Die Fledermaus, and Morales in Carmen (Vancouver Opera); Sid in Albert Herring and Malatesta in Don Pasquale (UofT Opera); and Guglielmo in Così fan tutte (Accademia Europea dell’Opera). Mr. Read was a Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions regional finalist and won the District People’s Choice Award. He was also a semi-finalist in the 2015 Lotte Lenya Competition. Upcoming roles include Prince Yamadori and Imperial Commissioner in Vancouver Opera’s Madama Butterfly.
Clermont, Quebec-born mezzo-soprano Marjorie Maltais recently completed her master of music performance and literature at Western University, where she also earned a bachelor of music in voice performance. Her operatic credits include Rosina in The Barber of Seville (Montefeltro Festival); Dorabella in Così fan tutte, Angelina in La Cenerentola, and Concepcion in L’heure espagnole (Western University Opera); the title role in Carmen (Windsor Symphony Orchestra); and Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Opera on the Avalon). She also recently performed at Music Academy of the West. Upcoming performances include concert appearances with the Guelph and Windsor symphony orchestras, Boise Philharmonic and Sweetwater Music Festival.
Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001