Parlando: The COC Blog


Les Adieux: Farewell to the Ensemble Studio members

With the 2012/2013 season coming to a close, we're also bidding "adieux" to our graduating members of the COC's Ensemble Studio. Today, Les Adieux will be their final concert as Ensemble members at the Richard Bradshaw Ampitheatre, but we are looking forward to following their blossoming careers! 

We asked some of our graduates what their favourite moments were, and what they'll remember most about the COC. 

Mireille Asselin 
"When I try to think of one defining memory of my time at the COC, I come up instead with a slideshow of moments: seeing Russell Braun in rehearsal for Iphigénie en Tauride last season running sideways on the walls of the set, aided by the strong arms of a dozen dancers; my first day in the school tour van at 7 a.m.; the efficiency of the dressers who helped me during the Ensemble show of Semele, as I quick changed into a harness... and then subsequently singing a Handel aria soaring above a centuries-old Chinese temple.  

Gratefully, the list goes on and on. Thank you to everyone who made my time here so very memorable indeed.

Ambur Braid
"My years in the Ensemble Studio have given me many incredible memories.  They have shaped and molded me as an artist and I am so grateful to have had so many thrilling opportunities. Some events do stand out though. Like getting through a virusy Vitellia, being in Carsen's Orfeo, my headdress in Die Fledermaus, the tri-tones in Saariaho, and all dressing room antics (the 'killer look'). But mostly, I loved sharing the stage with incredible artists and building relationships that have completely changed my life."

Rihab Chaieb
"It is an almost impossible task to pinpoint only ONE memorable moment during my time in the Ensemble Studio. But there is one  moment that keeps on happening, and that is being onstage of the Canadian Opera Company, staring at the hall and its imposing beauty. 

The view of the hall from the stage's perspective had a strong impact on me the first time I stepped on this stage, but it keeps on happening, more powerfully each time. I would catch myself staring at the structure of the hall, the stairs, the seats, the dimming lights, the beautiful pastel nude shade of its walls. And suddenly a feeling of happiness would arise in me."

Timothy Cheung 
"One of my favourite moments happened just before I was to play the Salome piano dress rehearsal. I was warming up in the pit at the Four Seasons Centre, and I looked up in the house, and thought to myself, 'I can't believe I am practicing here, in the hall at the Four Seasons Centre.'

I've had a wonderful time at the Canadian Opera Company, working with fantastic colleagues, wonderful artists, and all the behind-the-scenes folks who never get a mention. It takes hundreds of people to put on a single show, and I'm grateful to have been, and will continue to be, a part of it."

Neil Craighead
"It's hard to pick just one moment from four years of amazing experiences. Some favourites were: being in the water as the Japanese envoy in the The Nightingale and Other Fables, covering a week of staging rehearsal alongside Larry Brownlee in La Cenerentola, and, more recently, winning the Louis Quilico award."


Jenna Douglas
"I think my favourite memory was the Ensemble performance of Semele. I stood backstage for the entire opera, and I got the opportunity to watch my colleagues (and friends!) transform into their characters as they stepped onstage. It was my first chance to be involved in a show from start to finish, and I had the pleasure of helping the singers as they learned their music, and turned it into theatre. I was immensely proud of my work and that of my friends, and I even got to witness Mireille Asselin's backstage descent from flight!"

Christopher Enns
"Picking a memorable moment in 3 years of nonstop action is no simple task. It ends up being some of the little things that stand out. The first time they slipped that bright blue coat on me for Tamino and I realized they had built the whole costume just for my one show was a pretty cool moment. 

There have been incredible shows, and countless inspiring performances. But at the end of the day what I'll remember the most is being able to connect to some of the truly amazing artists that come through the company. It's an amazing business to be in, and this had been an amazing place to do it. I am very grateful for my time here."


Photos: All photos by Michael Cooper unless otherwise indicated: Image for Mireille Asselin: Mireille Asselin as Semele in the Ensemble Studio performance of the COC’s production of Semele, 2012 Image for Ambur Braid: Ambur Braid as Adele in the COC’s  production of Die Fledermaus, 2012.; Image for Neil Craighead: Neil Craighead performing in the Richard Bradshaw Ampitheatre, 2010. (photo: Chris Hutcheson);  Image for Rihab Chaieb: Neil Craighead as Publio and Rihab Chaieb as Sesto in the Ensemble Studio Performance of the COC’s production of La clemenza di Tito, 2013; Image for Christopher Enns: Christopher Enns as Tamino in the Ensemble Studio performance of the COC’s production of The Magic Flute, 2011

Posted by Meighan Szigeti / in Ensemble Studio / comments (0) / permalink

Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001



Subscribe to the COC e-mail newsletter.
Contact Tanner
Have a question? Want to share a link? Submit a comment!