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? Tenor Andrew Haji.
Andrew Haji, a tenor from London, ON, didn’t always plan to be a singer. When he finished high school, he weighed singing against his more practical interest, computer science, and decided to choose the safer option of the two—working with computers.
“But after about a year and a half I realized it really wasn't fulfilling for me at all,” he says. So he “took a year off to do some soul searching” and decided to pursue music at the University of Toronto. As he says, “the rest is history!”
Although he had been singing in choirs from an early age, Andrew says, “I hadn't even seen an opera until coming to school in Toronto. While pursuing my voice performance degree I was intrigued by all the opera going on around me, and I decided to give it a try. I'm glad I did!”
The switch to music has certainly paid off for Andrew. He is currently working on his master’s degree in opera, also at the University of Toronto. This past year, he portrayed Tamino in Accademia Europea dell’Opera’s The Magic Flute and in January starred as Toronto mayor Rob Ford in a popular one-time-only production of Rob Ford, the Opera (University of Toronto Opera Division). He has also played Ferrando in Così fan tutte and Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni with the University of Toronto.
Despite his experience singing Mozart, Andrew says he is “a big fan of the romantic Puccini roles.” His dream role is Rodolfo in La Bohème.
Andrew still finds himself helping his friends and family with their computer woes, and thinks that he would be working with computers if he weren’t singing opera. His other hobbies include building computers, creating websites and watching TV shows and movies.
Like many opera singers, he has picked up some other languages during his studies. He is fluent in French and has learned a little Italian after spending three summers in Italy at the Centre for Opera Studies in Italy and Accademia Europea dell’Opera.
To learn more about Andrew (or to ask for his technological advice!), visit his website or follow him on Twitter.
Posted by Kathleen Keenan / in Ensemble Studio / comments (0) / permalink
Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001