Parlando: The COC Blog

11/19/2013

Meet the Ensemble Studio Competition Finalists: Emma Char

On November 26, 2013, for the first time, nine finalists in the Ensemble Studio Competition will now perform from the mainstage of the Four Seasons Centre, accompanied by the internationally acclaimed COC Orchestra conducted by COC Music Director Johannes Debus and hosted by Grammy-nominated and multi-Juno Award winner, singer-songwriter and composer Rufus Wainwright. To watch the competition and see Canada's rising opera stars, visit our Centre Stage website and buy your tickets today! Over the next two weeks, follow along on Parlando as we introduce you to each of our finalists.

Emma Char, mezzo-soprano

Health coach. Therapist. Yoga Teacher.

Those are the possible careers that Emma Char may have pursued, that is if the mezzo-soprano hadn’t begun, at the age of 16, what has turned into a love affair with opera.

Born in Kitchener, Ontario, but raised in Philadelphia since the age of four, Emma fell into opera gradually, beginning with lessons with a voice teacher because she was interested in learning how to sing for musical theatre.

“He was the one who introduced me to classical singing in art songs and encouraged me to apply to music school for a voice degree. I decided singing was something I wanted to focus on more, so I took the plunge and went to a conservatory,” says Emma.

That operatic dive has put her on a path to one day realizing her dream role of singing Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia.

Emma received her master’s degree in music from Florida State University and an artist diploma from University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music (CCM). She then went on to join the Atelier lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal, of which she is currently a member. Her recent credits include Mallika in Lakmé and Rosette in Manon (Opéra de Montréal); La chatte/L’écureuil in L’enfant et les sortilèges (Canadian Vocal Arts Institute); Ramiro in Motezuma (Ensemble Caprice); The Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors (Atelier lyrique); Angelina in La Cenerentola and Sesto in Giulio Cesare (CCM). She has an upcoming performance as Hänsel in Hänsel und Gretel (Atelier lyrique).

In her free time, Emma's hobbies and interests take her outside of the operatic world. She’ll go to the gym, do yoga, take walks, enjoy great meals with friends, and read and watch TV and films. But her passion for opera burns pretty strong.

“I find opera amazing because the art form is so multifaceted. There are so many layers to sort through — text, music, character and story – and each layer is so rich and often in its highest or most complex form,” says Emma. “Then there is the physical aspect to opera, such as how do we bring this to life through our bodies? There are endless things to uncover with each opera one studies. It’s never boring!”

Learn more about Emma on her website, or follow her on Twitter!


The Ensemble Studio competition is Tuesday, November 26, 2013. Tickets to the Ensemble Studio Competition and Centre Stage cocktail celebration are $100. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit COCCentrestage.ca. You can buy tickets here, call COC Ticket Services at 416-363-8231, or go to the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts Box Office (145 Queen St. W.). You can also chat about the event with us on Twitter using #COCCentrestage.

Posted by Danielle D'Ornellas / in Ensemble Studio / comments (0) / permalink

11/18/2013

The Big COC Podcast: Episode 19

By Gianmarco Segato, Adult Programs Manager

 

For Episode 19, the “Opera critics UNITE!” edition, we welcome back opera journalists Joseph So, and Paula Citron; Western Canadian opera presenter and journalist, Stephan Bonfield as well as opera blogger John Gilks. New to the panel is Toronto music critic and musician, John Terauds. Gianmarco Segato, the COC’s Adult Programs Manager, is your host.

We took advantage of the critic-heavy presence this week to hold a round table discussion on the past, present and future of classical musical criticism (sneaking in a couple of other timely topics as well!)

Are you out there listening? What would you like us to talk about next time? Let us know by sending us your ideas/comments by commenting here, on Facebook, Twitter or by e-mail (community@coc.ca).

Posted by Danielle D'Ornellas / in The Big COC Podcast / comments (0) / permalink

11/18/2013

Meet the Ensemble Studio Competition Finalists: Iain MacNeil

On November 26, 2013, for the first time, nine finalists in the Ensemble Studio Competition will now perform from the mainstage of the Four Seasons Centre, accompanied by the internationally acclaimed COC Orchestra conducted by COC Music Director Johannes Debus and hosted by Grammy-nominated and multi-Juno Award winner, singer-songwriter and composer Rufus Wainwright. To watch the competition and see Canada's rising opera stars, visit our Centre Stage website and buy your tickets today! Over the next two weeks, follow along on Parlando as we introduce you to each of our finalists.

Iain MacNeil, bass-baritone

Iain MacNeil didn’t find opera, opera found him, and he’s never looked back.

Born and raised in Brockville, Ontario, Iain was introduced to opera in the first year of his music degree of Dalhousie University. Iain intended to become a music teacher. He studied voice, thinking that he’d be more successful as a vocalist than an instrumentalist in a university setting. However, his teacher at Dalhousie, Marcia Swanston, recognized potential when she heard it. Along with his other teachers, she opened Iain’s eyes (and ears) to a world of music that he hadn’t ever dreamed. 

“I quickly fell in love with singing, and with classical music,” he shares. “And lots of voice lessons and a healthy amount of stage experience has brought me to this point.”

From Dalhousie University, Iain went on to the University of Toronto, where he is currently completing an opera diploma. His opera performances to date include Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni in scenes from Don Giovanni and Dulcamara in scenes from L’elisir d’amore (Centre for Opera Studies in Italy); Bobby in Kurt Weill’s Mahagonny-Songspiel, Sweeney Todd in Sweeney Todd, Brewer in Comedy on the Bridge and Tom/John in The Face on the Barroom Floor (Dalhousie Opera Workshop). Most recently, in 2013, he participated in the Young Singers Project at the Salzburg Festival.

“What I find compelling about opera as an art form is that it depends on refined human voices, and uses them to marry several other powerful forces together, namely music and poetry,” says Iain. “Furthermore, I find that honest use of the voice is one of the most compelling and soul-stirring events known to humankind.”

When not thinking about opera, Iain’s attention is turned to another passion: motorcycles. “I love motorcycles, so I would consider just thinking about owning one a hobby in itself – I certainly spend plenty of time doing that,” he says. Otherwise, he’s playing the guitar, jamming with friends, shooting hoops, longboarding, watching philosophical debates on YouTube or having philosophical discussions, drinking good coffee, sipping micro-brewed beers, having campfires, stargazing and swimming in lakes.

He doesn’t have a dream role, yet, but is open to suggestions. Mozart’s Figaro and Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd are two parts, though, that are already on his radar, “Both are incredibly interesting and enjoyable to me, and having done them both already, I can’t wait to do them again!”


The Ensemble Studio competition is Tuesday, November 26, 2013. Tickets to the Ensemble Studio Competition and Centre Stage cocktail celebration are $100.For more information and to purchase tickets, visit COCCentrestage.ca.  You can buy tickets here, call COC Ticket Services at 416-363-8231 or go to the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts Box Office (145 Queen St. W.). You can also chat about the event with us on Twitter using #COCCentrestage.

Posted by Meighan Szigeti / in Ensemble Studio / comments (0) / permalink

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Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001