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. Each day we will introduce you to one of our finalists. Today's finalist? Baritone Clarence Frazer.
Mississauga baritone Clarence Frazer is pursuing a career in opera because he can’t imagine his life without music. He’s following advice given to him by Canadian choral conductor and teacher Jean Ashworth Bartle: "You should never pursue a career in music unless it’s something you cannot live without.”
With that in mind, Clarence chose to study opera at the University of Western Ontario because he knew that “studying the classical art form, no matter which style I [eventually] chose to sing, was the right way to go.” He adds, “What is so compelling to me about opera is the fact that we get to take a piece of art which was composed hundreds of years ago, present it to a modern audience, and show how relevant the music and stories still are in today's world.”
If he weren’t an opera singer, he would still be involved in music. One day, he shares, he “would like to take some training in conducting.”
After studying at Western, Clarence joined the Calgary Opera’s Emerging Artists Program, where he will play Count Gil (Il segreto di Susanna), Ramiro (L’heure espangol) and Dottore Grenvil (La Traviata) in 2013.
Clarence’s past performances include Escamillo in Carmen and Sprecher in Die Zauberflöte (Highlands Opera Studio, Haliburton), Alcindoro in La Bohème (Calgary Opera) and the title role in Don Giovanni (UWOpera, University of Western Ontario). But after seeing the COC’s production of Il Trovatore this fall, he’s added another role to his wish list: the Conte di Luna. “It was the first opera performance that moved me to tears,” he says.
Clarence devotes much of his spare time to sports. He is a fan of both the Argos and the Roughriders (“it’s a long story,” he says), as well as the Blue Jays and the Maple Leafs. He manages to find time to play hockey, whether he’s in Calgary or Mississauga, and also enjoys going on canoe trips from his family cottage in Haliburton.
Clarence’s mother is Korean, but he says he hasn’t learned the language yet. However, he’s making some progress in Italian, which he practices speaking with his girlfriend. He also cooks, attends live theatre and the opera, and tries to travel as much as possible.
Follow Clarence on Twitter to learn more about him.
Posted by Kathleen Keenan / in Ensemble Studio / comments (1) / permalink
Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001