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? Mezzo-soprano Danielle MacMillan.
Toronto mezzo-soprano Danielle MacMillan’s childhood dream was to become an astronaut. “My brother and I would wear underwear over our heads and run up and down the hallway pretending to be space cadets,” she recalls. (Clean underwear only, of course.)
But Danielle’s interest soon shifted to the performing arts. After a childhood spent dancing, acting and singing, it’s no wonder she was drawn to opera, an art form that allows her to combine all of these interests. “I find the combination of movement, action and voice on one stage and the emotional sincerity that reaches a listener's soul – that may move them to tears, laughter or surprise – very compelling,” she says. Opera, she points out, is a full-body experience.
Danielle completed her bachelor of fine arts in music at York University and followed her undergraduate degree with opera workshops and training programs in Italy (Istituzione Teatro Lirico Sperimentale di Spoleto), New Brunswick (St. Andrews by the Sea Opera Workshop) and Montreal (International Vocal Arts Institute). She recently spent two years studying at the Glenn Gould School at the Royal Conservatory of Music.
Her performance experience includes Rose (Lakmé, Opera by Request), Diana (La Calisto, The Glenn Gould School) and Veronique (Le docteur Miracle, The Glenn Gould School). When asked if she has a dream role, Danielle picks two that offer a range of emotional intensity: “I've always wanted to play Cherubino from Le nozze di Figaro and Giovanna Seymour from Anna Bolena. One is lighthearted and the other just breaks my heart.”
After years in the performing arts, Danielle finds it hard to imagine another career. “I am completely involved in all aspects of the arts, by attending the opera, museums, musicals, concerts, film and dance productions,” she says. “I can't picture myself pursuing a career outside of cultural arts, so I would definitely consider directing.”
Her hobbies include spending time with family and friends, cooking and making juice, practicing yoga and Qi gong, indoor rock climbing, and travelling, especially to the cottage country north of Toronto. She studied Italian during her undergraduate degree and was able to practice her skills while living in Florence.
Follow Danielle on Twitter or like her on Facebook to learn more about this stargazer-turned-opera-singer!
Posted by Kathleen Keenan / in Ensemble Studio / comments (0) / permalink
Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001