Parlando: The COC Blog


Jane Archibald on her Favourite Roles

Canadian lyric coloratura soprano Jane Archibald is appearing with the COC this spring as Zerbinetta in Richard Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos, and her performances have gathered rave reviews in the press. Her debut solo CD, Haydn Arias, has just been released on ATMA Classique. She’ll also be returning to the COC next season singing the title role in our May 2012 production of Handel’s Semele

She recently spoke with Gianmarco Segato, retail and editorial co-ordinator for the COC from her home in Austria.

GS: What led you to leave Nova Scotia where you grew up, to study at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario?

JA: I knew I wanted to take singing pretty seriously and that I wanted a shot at having a real career. Everyone has a different path, so I’m not saying in any way that staying in Nova Scotia and going to a Maritime university would have prevented that, but at that point I wanted to be near a larger centre with lots of opportunities to attend concerts and operas and that kind of thing, where it was happening. But for me, the biggest determiner in terms of a specific university was my choice of voice teacher. I was singing in a Kiwanis Music Festival in grade 12 and someone mentioned to my voice teacher, something like “Who’s going to be looking after that voice next year? Because that’s a big responsibility!” That made me think that I should take my search for a teacher seriously, so in my limited way, I went about trying to find out who might be good, and Victor Martens was one of the names on the list. It may have been unusual, but even at 18, I went in with the idea that although I was the one auditioning, I was also auditioning my teacher. It had to be the right fit for me. I really paid attention to how it felt to sing and talk to this person. I sang for a number of schools but I just hit it off with Victor and it felt like the perfect fit. Since Wilfrid Laurier isn’t a huge school, and is primarily undergraduate, I got a lot of performing opportunities. And, I was still in Southwestern Ontario, able to drive to the COC and competitions as they came along.

GS: I think it’s quite unusual for an 18-year-old to demonstrate the kind of foresight you did to recognize the importance of finding the right teacher and that you wanted to make singing your career.

JA: Well, it wasn’t just me—I have to say my mother was a big help in that way. She played devil’s advocate asking me, “Is this really what you want to do?” She knew that it’s a hard career and she really wanted to make sure that I was very passionate about it, and I must have proven it to her because then she definitely got on board!

GS: Other than Richard Strauss who has obviously played an important part in your career thus far, which other composers’ music do you most enjoy performing?


Posted by Gianmarco Segato / in 2010/2011 / comments (0) / permalink


The Complete Works of #mythplot

Last week, the COC hosted a twitter contest for a pair of tickets to Orfeo ed Euridice. The conceit? Inspired by the popular #operaplot contest hosted annually by The Omniscient Mussel, the goal was to summarize the plot of a Greek myth in a single tweet (140 characters or less, including the mandatory #mythplot hashtag). For your entertainment, here's the complete list of entries. 

The winning tweet:

@emilyesanford: #mythplot Narcissus, loving his own image, was reduced to pondside foliage--ignoring Echo's devoted refrain. Their demise? Love in Vain.

Complete Works:

@g026r: For I have defeated the sphinx, saved Thebes, and married a beautiful queen. (Whaddya mean she's my mom?) #mythplot

@g026r: That is truly a beautiful man. I am unable to look away. Le mort de Narcissus #mythplot

@g026r: Up the mountain. Down the mountain. (Sys-) Up the mountain. Down the mountain. (-i-) Up the mountain. Down the mountain. (-phus) #mythplot

@g026r: ♪ This itsy-bitsy spider ticked Athena off... ♬ #mythplot>

@giannawichelow: Zeus eats pregnant wife who nurtures baby inside him. Headaches: OW! Full-size Athena explodes from his head. OW! Z survives. WOW! #mythplot

@giannawichelow: Naughty Zeus (again) takes form of swan, gets it on with Leda, she lays two eggs... which hatch. What the ~ ? Good times! #mythplot


Posted by Cecily Carver / in 2010/2011 / comments (2) / permalink


Behind the Scenes: The Spring Run

[Behind-the-Scenes, a series of guest posts by associate technical director Barney Bayliss, continues into the spring run! This post was written April 30. To see all Behind-the-Scenes posts, click here]

Today is the opening night for Ariadne auf Naxos. We first loaded Ariadne into the theatre more than a month ago, on March 29. Since then we have been working a LOT getting the three shows open.

All three of the spring shows come to us from different companies: Cinderella from Houston Grand Opera, Ariadne from Welsh National Opera, and Orfeo ed Euridice from Lyric Opera of Chicago. Last fall when I started putting the three operas together on paper, I knew that this season would be challenging. Ariadne has a lot of flown scenery and Orfeo has a gigantic wraparound cyclorama. Cinderella has two flown pieces that have to line up exactly with the set: the chimney and the bridge upstage of it. Ariadne features a flying bridge which brings Bacchus to the stage from the flies, and Orfeo has a working grave built into the raked deck, which has to be rigged with an elevator in the trap room.  

Now that Cinderella and Ariadne are open, we have one more week of rehearsing Orfeo while the other two shows run. We have changeovers almost every day now, and tomorrow we will have two: change from Ariadne into Cinderella for the May 1 matinee, then come back after the matinee to change into Orfeo for Monday’s day of lighting and Orfeo rehearsal.

We have built a new trap room elevator for Orfeo, something that should be standard equipment, but since the Four Seasons Centre was built, we have always made do with makeshift solutions. For Orfeo it was obvious that we needed a lot of travel and a platform big enough for two people, so we had the Scene Shop make us this structure (shown in the photo), which we run using a rented winch. It has been working beautifully.

Photo by Barney Bayliss, 2011

Posted by Barney Bayliss / in Behind the Scenes / 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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