Parlando: The COC Blog

11/26/2011

Meet the Finalists: Aviva-Fortunata Wilks

This blog post was originally posted for the Inaugural Ensemble Studio Competition in 2011.

In our final "meet the finalists" post, we feature Calgary soprano Aviva-Fortunata Wilks!

Aviva-Fortunata is currently completing her advanced certificate in opera performance at the University of Toronto, studying with Dr. Darryl Edwards. Recent appearances include Donna Anna in Don Giovanni (Concert Opera Group, Centre for Opera Studies in Italy, University of Toronto), Poulenc’s Gloria (Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra) and a performance at Jack Layton's state funeral. She has been awarded a Judges’ Commendation in the finals of the Mildred Miller International Voice Competition with the Opera Theater of Pittsburgh. As the winner of the 2012 Norcop Prize in Song Recital, Ms Wilks will perform on January 10, 2012 in Walter Hall, UofT.

She tells us about how she came to love opera, and shares some details about her upcoming projects:

"To me, opera is the perfect blend of the fantastical and the beautiful. Is it realistic? Not necessarily, but the music and the voices and the sheer drama that is opera takes us beyond that.  As a performer, it is exhilarating to throw yourself into the essentially primal nature of singing powerful emotions at the top of your voice!

I consider myself fortunate as I have always known that I wanted to pursue singing as a career.  Seeing my first musical (Anne of Green Gables, still my favourite!) opened up a whole new world of possibilities to me, but it was seeing my first opera, The Marriage of Figaro at Calgary Opera that really changed my perceptions of singing. The music, the drama, the costumes, and especially the singers and the amazing things they could do with their voices truly inspired me.

Right now, I am working hard on my upcoming recital for the Jim and Charlotte Norcop Prize in Song Recital on January 10th, at Walter Hall in the University of Toronto. It is an interesting project, and challenging. In opera, you get to portray one character throughout the evening but in a song recital, you can be playing many, many more!

I am also excited as I recently found some beautiful art songs of Reynaldo Hahn that are in my family's dialect of Italian, from the Veneto region, which makes them particularly meaningful to me."

In addition to singing, she enjoys "travelling, show tunes on LP, and cycling around Toronto (except my near-daily habit of getting stuck in the streetcar grooves!)"

Posted by Cecily Carver / in Ensemble Studio / comments (2) / permalink

Elaine Case (11/27/2011 12:42:00 AM)
We will be following the next stage of the competition with all of our best wishes for your success.
Hope Lee (11/27/2011 1:55:00 PM)
So proud of you, Aviva. May the beauty and power of your voice continue touching people's heart. With best wishes from Hope, David and Claire.

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