Parlando: The COC Blog


Opera Under 30 Profiles – Kip Sawyer


Kip Sawyer, 18 years old.
University of Toronto student.

1. How were you introduced to opera?

It was a natural progression from my enjoyment of musical theatre. I really liked shows with romantic or dramatic music like The Light in the Piazza, or The Phantom of the Opera, especially the Canadian cast recording featuring the COC's own Rebecca Caine. I realized I should give opera a try since so many of the shows I liked had some operatic influence.

2. What was your first opera?

It was the premiere of Life is a Dream at the Santa Fe Opera. The production was well done, but I disliked the opera because it was too atonal for my tastes. After that, it was over a year and a half until I saw another opera, which was Iphigenia in Tauris at the COC (I listened to and watched a number of recordings in the time between, it's just hard to see live opera when you're in Maine!)

3. How did you find out about the Opera Under 30 program?

Part of my decision to come to Toronto from Maine was all the art and culture that Toronto had to offer over some of the smaller cities where I had been accepted to universities. Thus, some of my university research led me to the COC's website, where I saw the info about the Opera Under 30 program.

4. How many COC performances have you seen?

In the one year that I've been in Toronto, I've seen all seven productions during the public performance runs and four student dress rehearsals.

5. Have you successfully introduced any of your friends to opera? 

I've managed to introduce four friends to opera, of which three have already returned to see another show with me (I think that's a pretty good track record!)

6. Tell us about your favourite opera. 

I'd have to say The Tales of Hoffmann. "Les oiseaux" was one of the first arias I really fell in love with, and I really like Offenbach's lighter, operetta-influenced writing/composition. Needless to say I was very excited that the COC produced it this spring and I really enjoyed the production from Vlaamse that was chosen to be brought in.

7. What opera from the 2012/2013 season are you most looking forward to?

I'd have to say either Die Fledermaus (again with my slant towards lighter works) or Salome. I've heard great things about both, and I like what I've heard from Die Fledermaus and am intrigued by the story of Salome.

8. What is your favourite thing to wear to the opera? 

If I have time I try to change into a nice pair of pants and a dress shirt before I go see an opera, but I've never been that formal in my attire. I occasionally wear my (nice) jeans, but no matter what I wear I try to look put together (it is opera after all.) Basically, I just want to be comfortable; after all, some operas are long and I don't want to be stuck in stuffy clothes for that long!

You can chat with Kip on Twitter @kip_sawyer

Opera Under 30 tickets go on sale Saturday, September 15 at 10 a.m. online and in person at the Four Seasons Centre. For more information, visit

Photo: Kip Sawyer

Posted by Danielle D'Ornellas / in Opera Under 30 / comments (0) / permalink

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



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