Parlando: The COC Blog


Meet the Finalists: Laura McLean

Nova Scotia soprano Laura McLean is today's featured Ensemble Competition finalist! You can read about Laura in the New Glasgow News, as well as on her new blog.

Laura holds a bachelor of music from Mount Allison University and a master’s degree from the New England Conservatory in Boston. Her recent performances include the Sprechstimme in Pierrot Lunaire, First Lady in The Magic Flute and Donna Anna in Don Giovanni with the New England Conservatory. She has also performed with Opera Viva in Verona, the International Vocal Arts Institute and Operaworks in Los Angeles. She placed second at the 2011 National Music Festival, was a national finalist in the Elora Festival competition, and, in 2010, won a Presser Publishing Music Award.

We asked her "why opera" and here's what she had to say:

"I never cease to be amazed by the capacities of the human voice. The way that opera singers find methods to co-ordinate all these tiny muscles and resonating spaces to get this massive sound and huge variety of expression is incredible! I think the element of discovery, of figuring all these things out bit-by-bit, is what excited me about opera singing when I started. It can seem so magical! Besides this, the stories, the music, and the characters in opera are so compelling. There is such diversity in the operatic repertoire, so much wonderful music to explore. In my humble opinion it really is the ultimate art form!"

As for her other interests, she tells us: "I am a voracious reader; I love spending my free time with a book or magazine. I also like trivia and board games. Scrabble is very popular in my house, although I lose to my husband 95% of the time. I also really like singing in choirs. I did a lot of choral work in high school, and now I sing with the choir at Royal York Road United Church in Etobicoke."

Posted by Cecily Carver / in Ensemble Studio / comments (0) / permalink


Meet the Finalists: Owen McCausland

Tenor Owen McCausland, born and raised in Saint John, New Brunswick, is today's featured Ensemble Competition finalist. He was also featured in the Saint John Telegraph-Journal.

Owen is currently working towards completing a bachelor of arts in music with Dalhousie University. He recently performed the role of Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni at the Centre for Opera Studies in Italy. Other operatic credits include Juan in Don Quichotte (Opera Nova Scotia) and Spoletta in Tosca (Maritime Concert Opera). 

He tells us about his first experience with opera:

"I was 17 years old when I participated in the chorus of La Traviata with Opera New Brunswick. At the time I was very enthusiastic about musical theatre and this production was very exciting and inspiring. As an orchestral musician I was very intrigued by opera because of the many dramatic and musical elements that go into a single production."

Owen plays the violin and the piano, is interested in conducting and composing, and also enjoys hockey and football. This winter, he'll be performing Handel's Messiah with the Fredericton Chamber Orchestra and with the Saint John Choral Society.


Posted by Cecily Carver / in Ensemble Studio / comments (1) / permalink


Meet the Finalists: Danielle MacMillan

Danielle MacMillan

This blog post was originally posted for the Inaugural Ensemble Studio Competition in 2011.

Our introduction to the finalists in the inaugural COC Ensemble Studio Competition continues today with Danielle MacMillan, a mezzo-soprano from Toronto. Danielle is the only mezzo-soprano among the 10 finalists. You can find her on twitter as @MezzoSopranoDan as well as on Facebook.

Danielle holds a bachelor of fine arts, with honours, in classical vocal performance from York University with additional training at the International Vocal Arts Institute in Montreal, Istituzione Teatro Lirico Sperimentale di Spoleto in Italy and The Glenn Gould School of The Royal Conservatory of Music. Last season, she performed the roles of the Cabaret Singer in An Evening of Kurt Weill and Véronique in Bizet’s Le docteur Miracle.

She tells us why she loves opera:

"I started dance training and taking vocal lessons when I was 12, and acted in high school. 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. Since then, I haven't changed my mind; it's what I've always wanted to do. It's a full-body experience shared with other human beings, which is genuine and exciting. We're taking something so historic and presenting it to a modern audience. The music may be centuries past, but the physicality that comes with it is ever-changing."

Danielle also enjoys "racing go-karts (helps with the coloratura), writing music, cooking without a recipe, reading inspirational quotes, and practicing yoga and Qi gong."   

Posted by Cecily Carver / in Ensemble Studio / comments (2) / permalink

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



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