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 our finalists. Today's finalist? Soprano Aviva Fortunata.
Aviva Fortunata, a soprano from Calgary, AB, is passionate about everything she does, not just opera. If she weren’t a singer, she says she “would definitely want to devote my energy towards the exciting and under-appreciated world of professional roller derby.”
Aside from roller derby, Aviva enjoys nail polish art (check out her nail polish blog), guerilla knitting and Broadway shows.
But she’s chosen to devote her life to music — so why opera instead of roller derby or Broadway? “I grew up performing in community theatre musicals, and I always knew that I wanted to keep singing forever!” Aviva says. “As I grew up, classical song repertoire and the grand theatrics of opera appealed to me more and more, and now I can't imagine doing anything else. It is a difficult field, but it is so exciting to be doing what I love as a job, as clichéd as that sounds. I find the rehearsal process to be as satisfying, challenging, and equally rewarding as the performance aspect itself.”
Aviva’s performance experience has only enhanced her love for opera. While completing her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music at the University of Toronto, she appeared as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Gertrude in Hansel and Gretel and Tatyana in Eugene Onegin.
She has also taken part in several summer opera programs, most recently the Merola Opera Program (San Francisco), where she played Lady with a Cake Box in Postcard from Morocco. Aviva says that this amazing experience “cemented in me what is so appealing about this art form, how the power of the music and the drama elevates the text beyond what originally existed. It's obvious how much emotion can be conveyed through the voice, and what an amazingly cathartic experience a night at the opera can be.”
Somehow, Aviva has also found the time to become fluent in French and study Italian! In fact, her dream role, the title character in Ponchielli’s La Gioconda, would give her a chance to show off those Italian skills. Aviva says, “It has everything you want in an opera: love, betrayal, vengeance, gondoliers, fake suicide, and then real suicide. Her character is so real, so very flawed and human, and her music is unreal.”
Posted by Kathleen Keenan / in Ensemble Studio / comments (0) / permalink
Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001