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 some our finalists. Our next finalist? Mezzo-soprano Charlotte Burrage.
Finalist Charlotte Burrage, a mezzo soprano, credits her parents for getting her involved in a wide variety of extracurricular activities when she was a child. Even though she grew up in a small town (Sweaburg, ON, just southwest of Woodstock), she still had the opportunity to experience “every recreation possible.”
After trying music, theatre and sports, Charlotte quit competitive swimming to focus on singing and says, “I think the day I quit the [swim] team for music I knew there was no turning back.”
At first Charlotte played piano, but became hooked on opera after meeting her teacher Vicki St. Pierre. “Her voice was the first operatic sound I had ever heard and I was blown away,” Charlotte remembers. “The power of her voice and the effect it had on me was something I had never experienced. I bought my first classical vocal recording shortly after meeting Vicki; she recommended Maureen Forrester and I haven't stopped listening to her since.”
Charlotte went on to study music at the University of Toronto, where she received bachelor’s and master’s degrees. She recently completed a diploma in opera at the University of British Columbia. Her past roles include Dorabella (Così fan tutte, Jeunesses Musicales), Cendrillon (Cendrillon, UBC Opera Ensemble) and Hansel (Hansel and Gretel, Vancouver Opera in Schools).
Charlotte can’t imagine her life without music. She says, “I have never seriously considered another career choice. My life has revolved around music for 20 years; I cannot even fathom dedicating this much time to anything else. This is not a career that you could do unless you are completely invested. We all know that opera singers are not in it for the money!”
But she also enjoys cooking, dining out and throwing parties, another hobby she inherited from her parents. “Wine and cheese parties with my girlfriends are a particularly favorite pastime,” Charlotte says.
When she’s not singing, travelling or hosting a dinner party, Charlotte still enjoys water sports, particularly rowing. She also likes visiting art galleries and practicing her French. Her current tour with Jeunesses Musicales Canada, a Quebec-based organization dedicated to promoting young professional classical musicians, offers her the opportunity to speak French with her colleagues. Her next goal is to conquer German, which she finds “so romantic and encompassing.”
Learning German would certainly help Charlotte land her dream role, Octavian from Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier. She says, “What better challenge than a girl, who is playing a boy, who becomes a girl?”
Follow Charlotte on Twitter to stay up to date on her travels and language studies!
Posted by Kathleen Keenan / in Ensemble Studio / comments (0) / permalink
Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001