On November 26, 2013, for the first time, nine finalists in the Ensemble Studio Competition will now perform from the mainstage of the Four Seasons Centre, accompanied by the internationally acclaimed COC Orchestra conducted by COC Music Director Johannes Debus and hosted by Grammy-nominated and multi-Juno Award winner, singer-songwriter and composer Rufus Wainwright. To watch the competition and see Canada's rising opera stars, visit our Centre Stage website and buy your tickets today! Over the next two weeks, follow along on Parlando as we introduce you to each of our finalists.
Francesca Corrado didn’t always know she wanted to be an opera singer. As a high school student in Burnaby, B.C., she took part in nearly every singing program offered at her school, but it was purely for enjoyment. It wasn’t until grade 12, when she was struggling to decide what to do after graduation, that her choir teacher suggested she consider a career in opera.
“I knew nothing about opera and had the misconception that opera was just a bunch of people who sang very loudly,” says Francesca. “I didn’t know where a “C” was on the piano!” As a child, she went to science camp, while other kids took music classes. But her lack of formal training didn’t hold her back and she enrolled in the music program for classical voice at Capilano University.
It didn’t take long for Francesca to catch “the opera bug,” when she auditioned to be in the chorus of her first opera with Burnaby Lyric Opera. She continued her operatic training at the University of British Columbia (UBC), where she completed her bachelor’s degree in opera performance and is currently pursuing her master’s degree.
“Opera is a compelling art form because it allows me to immerse myself into a character that is brought to life for audience members,” says Francesca. “I get lost in my character when I am on stage. I am no longer Francesca but the character I am portraying… There is no better feeling than being on stage.”
Francesca’s dream role is the title character in Bizet’s Carmen, a role she’s been lucky to sing already at UBC, European Music Academy (EMA), Westben Arts Festival and Bard on the Beach Festival (BBF). “Carmen was the very first opera I saw live and I have been hooked ever since,” says Francesca.
Additional credits include Giulietta in Les contes d’Hoffmann, Mère Marie in Dialogues des Carmélites, Praskowia in The Merry Widow, Ježibaba in Rusalka and Rebecca Nurse in The Crucible (UBC); and Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro (BBF and EMA). Upcoming roles include La Baronessa di Champigny in Il cappello di paglia di Firenze (UBC).
But Francesca’s interest in opera isn’t limited to singing – she also enjoys the behind-the-scenes aspects of a production. Her work-study placement at UBC’s costume shop allows her to help organize the opera ensemble members’ costumes. This summer, she even did a stint in the lighting booth.
When she’s not living the busy life of a UBC opera student, Francesca enjoys spending time with her family and friends, whether it’s going on road trips or playing baseball. She recently took up hot yoga and finds it “a great mental and physical challenge.” This summer, she visited her grandfather’s rustic farm in Calabria, Italy. “I enjoy city life but being on his farm is so relaxing… I love waking up in the morning to the sound of the roosters and breathing in the fresh clean air.”
Francesca values the support she’s received from her family throughout her life. “My parents have always been supportive of me in my decisions on the path that I have chosen,” she says. But she still wonders: “Maybe I should have listened to them as a child when I had the opportunity to take music lessons!”
The Ensemble Studio competition is Tuesday, November 26, 2013. Tickets to the Ensemble Studio Competition and Centre Stage cocktail celebration are $100. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit COCCentrestage.ca. You can also buy tickets here, call COC Ticket Services at 416-363-8231, or go to the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts Box Office (145 Queen St. W.). You can also chat about the event with us on Twitter using #COCCentrestage.
Posted by Danielle D'Ornellas / in Ensemble Studio / comments (1) / permalink
Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001