On November 25, 2014, seven finalists will take to the mainstage of the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts for the Ensemble Studio Competition, the feature event of Centre Stage gala. The event will be hosted by world-renowned Canadian tenor Ben Heppner, and the singers will be accompanied by the internationally acclaimed COC Orchestra conducted by COC Music Director Johannes Debus. 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.
Zoe Band, Mezzo-soprano
Mezzo-soprano Zoe Band’s life revolves around music. “My hobby, joy, job, and passion is music. When I’m not listening to it, I’m working to make money to pay for lessons,” she says. “When I have time to myself, I practice!”
Born and raised in Toronto, Zoe got her start singing in choir and playing classical guitar. Her guitar teacher’s wife was a singing teacher and “from there it began.”
Zoe studied music at the Peabody Conservatory, earning her bachelor and master of music in voice performance. Her roles with Peabody Opera included Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Miss Benson in Lakmé, Ferdinand in Ariel’s Tempest, Betty Parris in The Crucible, Anna in The Trio and Zinnie in Dora. She has also appeared as Lucretia in The Rape of Lucretia (HexaCollective); Hansel in Hansel and Gretel (Toronto Summer Opera and Little Patuxtent Opera); and Patricia Hutton in Camelot Requiem (The Figaro Project).
One day, she hopes to add Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro to her repertoire, and she’d especially love to sing the title role Handel’s Ariodante. “What a role!”
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by Michael Lewandowski
For over 30 years, students from all across Ontario have been inspired and delighted by the magic of live opera performance. The operas developed for the Glencore Ensemble Studio School Tour are adapted or created specifically for young audiences, and the artists perform in full costume with sets, props and piano accompaniment. The operas are performed in English and an informal question-and-answer period with the cast immediately follows each performance.
We asked COC Stage Manager Michael Lewandowski to share a day in the life on the road with the Ensemble Studio School Tour, as they perform The Scorpions' Sting: An Egyptian Myth. Read on for his account of an average day on tour!
The Scorpions' Sting: An Egyptian Myth will also be presented at the Royal Ontario Museum on November 29th at 11am, free with museum admission! Find out more here.
First day of The Scorpions' Sting rehearsal. As a Stage Manager I'm responsible for keeping everyone informed of the schedule and keeping track of everything that happens in rehearsal. I'm the eyes and ears for everyone who may not be in the room. My job is to keep all the departments informed of any changes or needs the production may have.
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Nathan Keoughan, Bass-baritone
Nathan Keoughan's hoping his past experience auditioning for the
Ensemble Studio will hold him in good stead when he returns for this
Nathan’s credits include Luka in The Bear, Angelotti in Tosca and Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte (Highlands Opera Studio/HOS); Pankrol in Milk Bar (Mount Allison Opera Studio); Colline in La Bohème (Cowtown Opera and HOS); the Mayor in Dr. Miracle and the Lackey in Ariadne auf Naxos (NEC); Roy Gardner in Anne & Gilbert (Harbourfront Theatre); and Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor (Opera by Request). You’ll also be able to see him this season as Dr. Dulcamara in Elixir of Love with Cowtown Opera.
Here’s what you might remember about Nathan from last year’s competition:
(To view last year's blog post, click here.)
Born and raised in Charlottetown, P.E.I., Nathan completed his bachelor of music at the University of Prince Edward Island and still finds it hard to pry himself away. But he’s managed to do so long enough to attend the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, where he completed a master’s degree in Vocal Performance in 2012.
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Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001