Youth Opera Labs are FREE events for teens and young adults ages 16 to 24. No previous experience with opera is necessary. Participants are selected based on the interest and relevance demonstrated in their online application. Click the panels below to explore this season's Labs.
Thursday, October 15, 2015 from 5 to 9:30 p.m.
Participate in the lab and you’ll receive two FREE tickets to the dress rehearsal of Pyramus and Thisbe. Sunday, October 18, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.
Registration for this Youth Opera Lab is now closed.
Julie Tepperman is an actor, playwright, educator and co-artistic director of Convergence Theatre. Her acting credits include two seasons at the Stratford Festival. Playwriting credits include: YICHUD (Seclusion), which received a Capital Critic's Circle Nomination, and was published by Playwrights Canada Press; a re-imagining of the August Strindberg play The Father; I Grow Old as part of The Gladstone Variations which earned a Dora Award nomination and was voted #2 in NOW Magazine's “Top Ten Toronto Productions of The Decade;” and Rosy, as part of AutoShow was voted Best Production, Best New Play, and Outstanding Ensemble at the Toronto Fringe Festival.
Julie teaches acting, playwriting and self-producing workshops for the Stratford Festival, Luminato Festival, Toronto Fringe Festival, Nightwood Theatre, Tarragon Theatre, Ryerson University, and George Brown and Humber colleges. Convergence Theatre has twice been voted by NOW Magazine readers as “The Best Site Specific Theatre Company in Toronto.” Most recently, Julie co-created,wrote, and directed Brantwood— an epic 15-hour, immersive musical theatre extravaganza where audience members followed characters all over an abandoned high school. Upcoming projects include SELFIE, an opera for teens exploring “slut-shaming,” composed by Chris Thornborrow and commissioned by Tapestry Opera.
Toronto based composer Chris Thornborrow has been described as "simply a marvel" (Globe & Mail), whose music "casts a spell" (Hollywood Reporter). His awards include multiple SOCAN Awards for Young Audio Visual Composers, and the Toronto Emerging Composers Award Honourable Mention. He was the sound designer and orchestrator for Brantwood the Musical, winner of the 2015 Audience Choice Dora Award. He is the artistic director of the Toy Piano Composers collective, and has had works commissioned by Ensemble Paramirabo, Musica Reflecta, ArrayEnsemble, junctQín, the Bicycle Opera Project, and the Thin Edge New Music Collective. He has scored award winning films including the short We Ate the Children Last (Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival [TIFF]) and the feature length Sleeping Giant (Cannes, Munich Film Fest, TIFF). Current projects include: SELFIE, a full-length opera for Tapestry Opera.
Roberto Mauro plays an integral role as the Canadian Opera Company’s Director of Music and Artistic Administration. Mauro takes part in searching for conductors, negotiates contracts with performers, and travels around the world to hear singers on many different operatic stages to cast for COC productions. Mauro has previously held key positions in the administration of L’Opéra de Montréal (Production and Administrative Assistant, and later as Senior Director of Artistic Operations), the Michigan Opera Theatre (Assistant Artistic Director), and the Florida Grand Opera (manager of the Young Artist Studio). In addition to his other accomplishments, Mauro has overseen the casting and production of important new works and written supertitle translations for approximately 40 operas that have been seen on the stages of the Michigan Opera Theatre, the Cincinnati Opera, the Opera Company of Philadelphia, the Florida Grand Opera, the Florentine Opera, Opera Omaha, and Opera Ontario. Mauro is a highly respected speaker and frequently gives presentations on composers, repertoire, and singers. He graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science.
Friday, January 29, 2016 from 5 to 9:30 p.m.
Participate in the lab and you’ll receive two FREE tickets to the dress rehearsal of The Marriage of Figaro. Monday, February 1, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.
Autumn Coppaway has worked as a freelance technician and manager for several years in the Greater Toronto Area. Autumn graduated from Ryerson Theatre School in 2012 and her recent credits include Company Production Manager for Against the Grain Theatre, Assistant Technical Director for The Grand Theatre, and the Production Manager for Carousel Players. She continues to work as a Director of Production for numerous corporate events and theatrical endeavours across the city as well as serving as Assistant Technical Director for the Canadian Opera Company.
Originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Sharon Ryman began her career as a make-up artist in the fashion industry. An eye-opening experience volunteering with the Manitoba Opera Association led her to the Manitoba Theatre Centre where she learned the art of wig-making and honed her technical make-up skills. Subsequent work took her to the Banff and Shaw festivals, and the National Arts Centre as the Head of Wigs and Makeup. After touring with Les Misèrables and The Phantom of the Opera, Sharon spent eight years with Livent working on Showboat, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, Ragtime, Fosse, and The Phantom of the Opera. Fifteen years ago, she joined the Canadian Opera Company as wig and make-up supervisor. She has toured with the COC’s production of Oedipus Rex/Symphony of Psalms to the Edinburgh Festival, The Nightingale and Other Short Fables, and Semele at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
Monday, April 4, 2016 from 5 to 9:30 p.m.
Participate in the lab and you’ll receive two FREE tickets to the dress rehearsal of Carmen. Saturday, April 9, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.
Registration for this Youth Opera Lab is now closed.
Award-winning dancer and choreographer Anjelica Scannura was trained in flamenco dance by her mother, Valerie, and continued her training in Spain in the major flamenco centres of Jerez de la Frontera, Madrid, and Granada. She has studied many forms of dance intensively including ballet, contemporary, Irish, Middle-Eastern and, most notably, flamenco, receiving the prestigious Paula Citron Fresh Blood Award in 2012. Of her early solo dance career Citron wrote, “She is a wild child of dance whose fusion performances radiate a passion that belies her age.” She was the only Canadian accepted to present her contemporary flamenco work Oya in the Madrid Choreographic Competition in 2013 and was praised for her daring originality by many of Spain’s most illustrious flamenco professionals. In 2014, Anjelica danced the solo lead flamenco role in the Canadian Opera Company’s production of Don Quichotte. A passion for Middle-Eastern rhythms led her to excel at belly dance and she won several titles at Bellydancer of the Universe in 2013. With her family-based company Ritmo Flamenco, she has performed sold-out shows at Harbourfront Centre’s NextSteps Dance Festival and has appeared in several roles for film and television, including the upcoming film for CBC entitled Flamenco. www.anjelicadances.com
Ritmo Flamenco's founder Roger Scannura is an internationally recognized flamenco guitarist and a leading exponent of nuevo flamenco. Born on the history-drenched island of Malta, he studied art restoration and music. He mastered the techniques and nuances of flamenco guitar while in Spain, where he studied intensively under the auspices of Pepe Habichuela and other flamenco masters over a 12-year period. He recently had the privilege of performing in Ottawa for the Spanish Ambassador and former Prime Minister Stephen Harper. His range of recordings is vast with nine CDs encompassing both traditional and modern styles. Roger is on the faculty of York University where he is director of the Flamenco Guitar Program. www.rogerscannura.ca
Jennifer Swan is a breath and body clinician for singers and has been an integral part of the teaching team for the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio training program since 2012. Jennifer’s methodology creates, sustains and strengthens a singer's breath support, her technique evolving from her extensive dance and Pilates background. Jennifer regularly teaches her voice method at the Centre for Opera Studies in Italy and the University of Toronto. She is also the resident choreographer with the Toronto Children's Chorus and operates Performance Architects/Swan Studio Dance in London, Ont.
Monday, April 18, 2016 from 5 to 9:30 p.m.
Participate in the lab and you’ll receive two FREE tickets to the dress rehearsal of Maometto II. Monday, April 25, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.
After a 25-year career on the international opera and concert stages, soprano Wendy Nielsen is now head of voice and a lecturer in voice and opera at the University of Toronto. In addition, she is head vocal consultant for the COC Ensemble Studio and maintains an active private voice studio in Toronto teaching many of Canada’s prominent performers. Wendy made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 1996 as Fiordiligi in Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte under the baton of James Levine. Subsequent performances at the Met over 12 seasons included: Countess Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro, Micaëla in Carmen, and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni. Her international orchestral performances were numerous, notably opening the Lucerne Summer Festival as Elsa in Lohengrin with Ivan Fisher conducting the Budapest Festival Orchestra. Other significant engagements include appearances with the Beijing Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Beethoven Festival in Krakow (Poland), Madrid Sinfonica, Prague Autumn Festival, Toronto Symphony, Düsseldorf Philharmonic, and Montreal Symphony Orchestra.
A native of New Brunswick, Wendy attended Mount Allison University, earned a bachelor of Music from the University of Lethbridge, and a master of music in opera from the University of British Columbia. In addition, Wendy holds three honorary doctorates and has garnered numerous awards recognizing her contributions nationally, provincially, and locally. She is the artistic director of three vocal programs at St. Andrews by-the-Sea:Vocal Techniques Workshop for undergraduates, Opera Workshop for graduate students and young professionals, and a Professional Development Workshop for those in mid-career. She has guided these programs since 1994, helping them to evolve into the nationally recognized programs that they are today.
Liz Upchurch is the head of the Ensemble Studio at the COC and a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music in London, England, where she won several prizes as a solo pianist and accompanist. As a music director, vocal coach and répétiteur, she has worked in 21st-century and traditional opera, music theatre, and theatre. She has also covered a wide range of working techniques with singers, actors, and instrumentalists in community and educational projects. For many years she worked with young artists at the Britten-Pears School in Aldeburgh where she played for master classes with artists such as Anthony Rolfe Johnson, Suzanne Danco, William Pleeth, and Dame Joan Sutherland. Liz has also worked at the Kammeroper Schloss Rheinsberg festival in Germany and the National Theatre in London. She held a faculty position in the 20th-century opera and song program at the Banff Centre for the Arts and was répétiteur and chorus director at Edmonton Opera. As a pianist, she has performed all over Europe and has been broadcast with the BBC, Norwegian Radio and the CBC. She also appeared as a judge on Bravo’s hit series, Bathroom Divas: So you want to be an opera singer!
Youth Opera Lab, 2014. Video: COC
J.P. Bickell Foundation