Youth Opera Lab

Youth Opera Lab

This free program for ages 16 to 24 (by the program date) includes a workshop with an opera professional; an exclusive glimpse of the first rehearsal of cast, crew and orchestra; and, a pair of free tickets to attend the BMO Financial Group Student Dress Rehearsal a week later. No previous experience with opera is necessary. Light refreshments are provided. 

Registration for Youth Opera Lab is now closed. Please check back in the fall for information about future Youth Opera Labs.


La Bohème – September 21, 2013

Get a special view of the impressive props and set pieces used in this production of Puccini’s La Bohème! Go on a backstage tour with associate technical director Barney Bayliss, followed by a Q&A with stage manager Kristin McCollum, and discover the incredible co-ordination and organization that happens behind the scenes during an opera performance.

Workshop and Rehearsal: Saturday, September 21, 5:30 – 9 p.m. La Bohème by Giacomo Puccini
Dress Rehearsal: Tuesday, October 1, 7:30 p.m.
Participants are required to attend the Youth Opera Lab in order to be eligible for dress rehearsal tickets.

Registration for this Youth Opera Lab is now closed.

Schedule - September 21:
5:30 5:45 p.m. Arrival and introductions
5:45 6:30 p.m. Backstage tour with Barney Bayliss
6:40 7:20 p.m. Q&A with Kristin McCollum
7:30 9 p.m. Observe La Bohème rehearsal

About the Guests:

Barney Bayliss has been working at the COC since 1991. He started at the Scene Shop because he had experience designing and building scenery for film productions, but eventually became Associate Technical Director.  In his current role, he supervises all of the technical staff who work on COC productions.

Kristin McCollum has been working as a professional stage manager since 1999. She came to the COC in 2004 and has worked on numerous productions as an assistant stage manager, ranging from The Handmaids Tale to Lucia di Lammermoor and, currently, Peter Grimes. Kristin has also worked as a stage manager on the COC's Glencore Ensemble Studio School Tour that brings opera to schools throughout Ontario.

A Masked Ball – January 25, 2014

Experience the drama of Verdi’s A Masked Ball! Sign up for a drama workshop led by playwright/librettist/lyricist Robert Gontier, followed by a Q&A with COC Costume Supervisor Sandra Corazza. Participants will explore major themes and characters from Verdi’s controversial opera through team-building and individual exercises, and then will find out about the fun, hard work, and unique challenges of creating costumes for opera.

Workshop and Rehearsal: Saturday, January 25, 5:30 – 9 p.m. A Masked Ball by Giuseppe Verdi
Dress Rehearsal: Thursday, January 30, 7:30 p.m.
Participants are required to attend the Youth Opera Lab in order to be eligible for dress rehearsal tickets.

Registration for this Youth Opera Lab is now closed.

Schedule - January 25:
5:30 – 5:45 p.m. Arrival and introductions
5:45 – 6:30 p.m. Drama workshop with Robert Gontier
6:40 – 7:20 p.m. Q&A with Sandra Corazza
7:30 – 9 p.m. Observe A Masked Ball rehearsal

About the Guests:

Robert Gontier completed his M.A. in Voice Studies from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (RCSSD) at the University of London. He has had the pleasure of teaching voice in the United Kingdom, Mexico, United States and across Canada. He has guest taught at RCSSD, London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art, and the educational departments of the Canadian Opera Company, Royal Conservatory of Music and Young People’s Theatre. Robert is currently a full-time Professor of Voice and Text at Sheridan College as well as being a playwright, librettist and lyricist.

Sandra Corazza has been working in costumes at the COC since 1989, and has been Costume Supervisor since 2008. She has costumed over 150 operas, including building 30 from scratch, and has traveled to Hong Kong, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, across Canada and the U.S., and to parts of Europe to supervise shows. During her time at the COC, Corazza has had the opportunity to work with numerous renowned directors and designers, including Robert Carson, Robert Lepage, Michael Levine, Susan Benson, and Tony-award winners Martin Pakledinaz and Catherine Zuber. Corazza has also worked in costumes at the Stratford Festival and the Banff Festival.

Hercules – March 29, 2014

This Youth Opera Lab will feature a very special guest for the Q&A: legendary director Peter Sellars who is at the helm of this spring’s production of Handel’s Hercules. Participants will also be treated to a vocal workshop focused on Baroque-style singing led by American soprano Peggy Kriha Dye.

Workshop and Rehearsal: Saturday, March 29, 12:45 p.m.  4:30 p.m. Hercules by George Frideric Handel
Dress Rehearsal: Thursday, April 3, 7:00 p.m.
Participants are required to attend the Youth Opera Lab in order to be eligible for dress rehearsal tickets.

Registration for this Youth Opera Lab is now closed.

Schedule - March 29: 
12:45 – 1 p.m. Arrival and introductions
1 – 1:45 p.m. Q&A with Peter Sellars
2 – 3:30 p.m. Observe Hercules rehearsal
3:40 – 4:30 p.m. Baroque-style singing workshop with Peggy Kriha Dye

About the Guests:

American opera, theatre, and festival director Peter Sellars made his COC debut in 2013 with his production of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde and returns this spring for Hercules. He has staged productions at the Glyndebourne Festival, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Dutch National Opera, Amsterdam, Opéra national de Paris, Salzburg Festival, Santa Fe Opera, and San Francisco Opera, among others. Inspired by the compositions of Kaija Saariaho, Osvaldo Golijov and Tan Dun, he has guided the creation of productions of their work, expanding the repertoire of modern opera. Collaborations with composer John Adams include Nixon in China, The Death of Klinghoffer, El Niño, Doctor Atomic, and A Flowering Tree. Their latest work, The Gospel According to the Other Mary, appeared in the U.S. and Europe in 2013. Recent projects include an acclaimed concert staging of Bach’s St Matthew Passion (Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra), stagings of Nixon in China (Metropolitan Opera), George Crumb’s The Winds of Destiny (Ojai Music Festival) and new productions of Handel’s Hercules (co-production Chicago and COC) and Vivaldi’s Griselda (Santa Fe).

Critically acclaimed international soprano Peggy Kriha Dye has performed with major opera companies and orchestras worldwide. Peggy created the role of Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire, written and conducted by André Previn at the San Francisco Opera, repeating the role with the Pittsburgh Symphony and again with Washington National Opera. Other roles and companies include Musetta in La Bohème in San Francisco, Shanghai and Festival Opera, Nannetta in Falstaff with Utah Opera, Drusilla in L’incoronazione di Poppea with Houston Grand Opera, Nedda in I Pagliacci with Tulsa Opera, and many more. She has been reviewed as “heart-rending”, “sympathetic,” “sexy,” “hilarious” and “complex.” Upcoming engagements include the world premiere of Claudel with Carpe Diem and the CDT, Mozart Great Mass in C Minor with ProMusicaOrchestra, Merope in Persée, and Eurydice in Orphée. Currently, Peggy is the General Manager of Opera Columbus.

Youth Opera Lab, Salome, 2013. Photo: COC

Program Supporters:

J.P. Bickell Foundation
State Street


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