Parlando: The COC Blog


Next Season's Debut Artists: Susan Graham

[This is part of a series profiling the artists making their COC debuts in the 2011/2012 season]

"The American mezzo-soprano Susan Graham has for the better part of a decade impressed audiences with her creamy singing and chiseled characterizations..." – The New York Times

Name: Susan Graham

Range: Mezzo-soprano

Where she's from: Midland, Texas (where Sept. 5 has been declared "Susan Graham Day" in perpetuity)

What she's singing: Iphigenia in Gluck's Iphigenia in Tauris, at the COC from Sept. 22 to Oct. 12

Where she's been: Iphigenia in Iphigenia in Tauris at the Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, and Teatro Real Madrid. 


  • Grammy award-winner for her disc of Charles Ives songs with Pierre-Laurent Aimard
  • Grammy award-nominee for her performance as Dido in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas
  • Musical America: Vocalist of the Year (2004)
  • Honored by the French government as "Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur."


Watch and Listen

In the video below, she sings "Parto, parto" (from Mozart's La clemenza di Tito) at a 2006 Metropolitan Opera gala:

Here she is with Renee Fleming and Thomas Hampson, in a chat about auditions. She relates how she once forgot the words (twice) to "Parto, parto" while auditioning for Lotfi Mansouri: 

A video of Susan Graham singing "Ave Maria" at U.S. senator Edward M. Kennedy's funeral mass cannot be embedded, but can be viewed here.

And, for something a little different: here she is on the Martha Stewart show! It's in two parts:


Top Photo: Susan Graham. Photo © Dario Acosta

Middle Photo: Susan Graham in a scene from Iphigenia in Tauris at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Photo by Dan Rest © 2006

Posted by Cecily Carver / in 2011/2012 / comments (0) / permalink


The Season Doesn't Have to be Over: La Boheme

Some of you may be experiencing opera withdrawal now that the curtains have come down on the trio of Cinderella, Ariadne auf Naxos, and Orfeo ed Euridice. But the end doesn't have to be quite so sudden! Against the Grain Theatre (which we last wrote about back in November) is back with their first full production of a fully-staged opera: 

La Bohème, opening its four-performance run tonight at the Tranzac Club

There are plenty of reasons to see it, and to bring along your opera-shy friend: It's an accessible, classic love story with some of Puccini's most beautiful music, and it's performed in English, so newcomers will have no trouble following along. The setting, The Tranzac Club, is central, relaxed and casual, and, unlike at the Four Seasons Centre, you're encouraged to enjoy the refreshments on offer during the performance. 

Those who follow the Ensemble Studio program will recognize many of the names: Laura Albino (Mimi), Adam Luther (Rodolfo), Justin Welsh (Marcello) and Christopher Mokrzewski (Music Director) are all recent graduates. And you'll be seeing real-life chemistry on stage: the singers playing the ardent young couple will be getting married next week!

More info can be found on the Against the Grain website.  

Photo: Lindsay Sutherland Boal as Musetta and Justin Welsh as Marcello in Against the Grain Theatre’s La Bohème. Photo © Gene Wu, 2011

Posted by Cecily Carver / in Opera Appreciation / comments (1) / permalink


Announcing the Inaugural COC Ensemble Studio Competition

The process of auditioning new young artists for the Ensemble Studio has so far been relatively private (if broad, with auditions taking place in Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto and New York). That's about to change: this November, you'll have the chance to see the final stage of the audition process for yourself. All the finalists (between 10 and 15 of them) will perform in the inaugural COC Ensemble Studio Competition in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre this November, and a select few will be offered admittance to the program.

The judges will be Alexander Neef, our General Director; Roberto Mauro, our Artistic Administrator; Sandra Gavinchuk, our Music Administrator; and Liz Upchurch, the Head of the Ensemble Studio. After all the finalists have sung, judges will deliberate and announce the winners – and the audience will then be free to argue with their friends about whether they'd have picked the same singers!   

The competition will take place November 28 at 5:30 p.m. in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. If you're Facebook-inclined, here's the event.

Photo: Members of the 2010/2011 Ensemble Studio. Photo © Chris Hutcheson.

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

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



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