By Alexander Neef, General Director
As I watched this year’s Ensemble Studio members perform their first concert of the season in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre last week, I was once again struck by the wonderful musical talent that this country produces.
In creating the Ensemble Studio in 1980, former General Director Lotfi Mansouri had the foresight to begin the process of intensive training and nurturing of young Canadian artists, and it’s a legacy that I take very seriously.
This summer I visited three different young artist programs, starting in St. Andrews by-the-sea, New Brunswick, observing and participating in Wendy Nielsen’s fantastic opera program there. As I’m sure you know, Wendy is a world-renowned soprano who has appeared on our stage, as well as all the major stages of the world. In the past few years she has begun teaching, and last year I asked her to join the COC as a special coach for the Ensemble.
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This fall, spend your Sunday nights at the opera in your own living room with COC General Director Alexander Neef and CinéTFO+'s Sunday opera program! At 8 p.m. each Sunday, from September 22 to October 20, watch as Alexander introduces each of the late 19th-century French operas featured below and shares his insights about the productions, history and cast.
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I was very saddened to learn of Lotfi Mansouri’s death two weeks ago. I knew he had been ill, and the prognosis wasn’t good, but I wasn’t quite prepared for the loss I felt when I heard he’d passed away.
As everyone who came into contact with him knows, Lotfi was full of life. His enthusiasm for life, and especially opera was infectious. A simple recounting of his many accomplishments while at the head of the COC paints a clear picture of how he communicated his love for this company and his community.
Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001