On November 29, 10 young singers will participate in the COC Ensemble Studio Competition, competing for cash prizes and a position in the prestigious Ensemble Studio training program for emerging artists. Every day we will introduce you to one of our finalists. Today's finalist? Tenor Michael Marino.
Tenor Michael Marino, is so committed to opera that theatre is part of everything he does. He even proposed to his girlfriend on stage! Michael’s new fiancée is also an opera singer and both were taking part in the Opera as Theatre Program at the Banff Centre this summer, which is where the proposal took place.
The London, ON native may be devoted to opera now, but as he puts it, “opera chose me, not the other way around.”
Encouraged by his mother, he took voice lessons and sang in choirs as a child, but didn’t discover opera until he started his undergraduate degree at the University of Western Ontario. “It was after I'd been cast as St. Brioche in my school's production of The Merry Widow that I realized I'd fallen in love with the art form,” he says. “I love the collaborative nature of the opera, working with new directors and colleagues, and the sense of accomplishment that comes after opening night.”
Michael joined the Calgary Opera’s Emerging Artists Program in 2011. Before moving to Calgary, he completed bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music at the University of Western Ontario and trained at the Banff Summer Arts Festival, Opera NUOVA (Edmonton) and Highlands Opera Studio (Haliburton, ON).
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On November 29, 10 young singers will participate in the COC Ensemble Studio Competition, competing for cash prizes and a position in the prestigious Ensemble Studio training program for emerging artists. Each day we will introduce you to one of our finalists. Today's finalist? Soprano Lara Secord-Haid.
For Winnipeg’s Lara Secord-Haid, a soprano, opera is a family affair.
Lara’s father is responsible for introducing her to opera. “I was drawn to opera because of the quality time I spent with my father, starting when I was very young, listening to the Saturday afternoon radio broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera,” she says. “My dad played the music so regularly in our house and I found myself drawn to the drama and acoustic aesthetic of this art form.”
Since falling in love with opera as a child, Lara has gone on to study vocal performance at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston and pursue a master’s degree at The Juilliard School in New York.
Lara has played Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni (The Banff Centre), Giulia in La Scala di Seta (Juilliard) and Mme Silberklang in The Impresario (Little Opera Company). She has also been featured in concert performances at Alice Tully Hall, the New England Conservatory and Juilliard. But her dream role? She would love to play Violetta from Verdi’s La Traviata and the title character in Alban Berg’s Lulu.
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On November 29, 10 young singers will participate in the COC Ensemble Studio Competition, competing for cash prizes and a position in the prestigious Ensemble Studio training program for emerging artists. Each day we will introduce you to one of our finalists. Today's finalist? Bass Nathan Keoughan.
For bass Nathan Keoughan, home is hard to forget.
Nathan was born and raised in Charlottetown, P.E.I. and still finds it hard to pry himself away from the Island. But he’s managed to do so long enough to attend the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, where he is currently completing a master’s degree in Vocal Performance.
Before moving to Boston, he received his bachelor of music from the University of PEI, but Nathan says that his opera career “was not the original plan.” An accomplished theatre actor, Nathan portrayed Royal Gardner in Anne & Gilbert (Harbourfront Theatre) for three consecutive summers, and also played Edwin Simpson in Nine Lives, a musical about the life of L.M. Montgomery, for the Charlottetown Festival.
It was theatre that gave him a taste for performance, but opera that captured his imagination. “As my training continued at UPEI through the years, my amazing teachers, Stephen and Sung Ha Shin Bouey, introduced me into the world of opera, and with the help of YouTube I was soon a huge fanatic,” Nathan says. “What really draws me to opera is the culmination of such a focused singing technique while having the most dramatic of intentions and, on top of that, keeping up with the rich orchestral music underneath you.”
Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001