Parlando: The COC Blog

11/12/2013

Meet the Ensemble Studio Competition Finalists: Nathan Keoughan

On November 26, 2013, for the first time, nine finalists in the Ensemble Studio Competition will now perform from the mainstage of the Four Seasons Centre, accompanied by the internationally acclaimed COC Orchestra conducted by COC Music Director Johannes Debus and hosted by Grammy-nominated and multi-Juno Award winner, singer-songwriter and composer Rufus Wainwright. To watch the competition and see Canada's rising opera stars, visit our Centre Stage website and buy your tickets today! Over the next two weeks, follow along on Parlando as we introduce you to each of our finalists.

Nathan Keoughan, bass-baritone

Nathan was born and raised in Charlottetown, P.E.I., completed his bachelor of music at the University of Prince Edward Island and still finds it hard to pry himself away. But he’s managed to do so long enough to attend the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, where he completed a master’s degree in Vocal Performance in 2012.

Before moving to Boston, Nathan says that his opera career “was not the original plan.” An accomplished theatre actor, Nathan portrayed Royal Gardner in Anne & Gilbert (Harbourfront Theatre) for three consecutive summers, and also played Edwin Simpson in Nine Lives, a musical about the life of L.M. Montgomery, for the Charlottetown Festival.

It was theatre that gave him a taste for performance, but opera that captured his imagination. “As my training continued at UPEI through the years, my amazing teachers, Stephen and Sung Ha Shin Bouey, introduced me into the world of opera, and with the help of YouTube I was soon a huge fanatic,” Nathan says. “What really draws me to opera is the culmination of such a focused singing technique while having the most dramatic of intentions and, on top of that, keeping up with the rich orchestral music underneath you.”

Nathan’s opera roles include Colline in La Bohème (Cowtown Opera, Highland Opera Studio), Sarastro in The Magic Flute (Highland Opera Studio), the Mayor in Dr. Miracle (New England Conservatory) and excerpts of Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro, New England Conservatory). He says, “What I find the most enjoyable is becoming a completely different person than my everyday self. I'm really quite addicted.”

When he’s home on the Island with his friends, who are mostly rock musicians, Nathan goes to performances by local bands. He also enjoys playing around on YouTube, which he can do from anywhere.

Nathan doesn’t speak any languages other than English – yet – but looks forward to playing dramatic roles such as Wotan (Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen), and Scarpia (Puccini's Tosca). When asked why, he says, “The music is so rich and the characters are SO evil! I can't wait; give me 20 years and another 30 for Wotan.”

You can follow Nathan on Twitter or friend him on Facebook.


The Ensemble Studio competition is Tuesday, November 26, 2013. Tickets to the Ensemble Studio Competition and Centre Stage cocktail celebration are $100.For more information and to purchase tickets, visit COCCentrestage.ca.  You can buy tickets here, call COC Ticket Services at 416-363-8231 or go to the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts Box Office (145 Queen St. W.). You can also chat about the event with us on Twitter using #COCCentrestage.

Posted by Danielle D'Ornellas / in Ensemble Studio / comments (0) / permalink


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