Parlando: The COC Blog

11/22/2013

Meet the Ensemble Studio Competition Finalists:
Jean-Michel Richer

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.

Jean-Michel Richer, tenor

Jean-Michel Richer was born in Montreal, and raised in the city’s Côte-des-Neiges neighbourhood. He was a scout leader for nine years and, like most Canadians, has a major interest in this country’s national pastime – hockey!

Music has always been a part of his life, but it wasn’t a given that it would be his chosen profession. In fact, a career as a civil engineer is likely what this young tenor would be pursuing instead, if not for having a change-of-heart at the age of 17.

“Music has always been a great part of my family. My father's mother was a singer and my mother's father was an organist. After completing eight years of training at Les Petits Chanteurs du Mont-Royal, a famous boys’ choir in Montreal, I realized I wanted to become an operatic singer,” says Jean-Michel. “When I was 17, I was in CEGEP in both science and trombone studies, and I decided to put the science on hold to take private voice lessons and put everything into music.”

And put everything into music, he did.

Jean-Michel went on to the University of Montreal where he completed a bachelor’s and master’s degree of music in voice performance. He’s also a grant recipient of the Jacqueline Desmarais Foundation.

As a current member of the Atelier lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal, Jean-Michel has sung the role of King Kaspar in Amahl and the Night Visitors and Ben in The Telephone. Additional credits include Pong in Turandot, Bardolfo in Falstaff, Gastone in La Traviata and Zingaro in Il Trovatore (Opéra de Montréal); and Chevalier de la Force in Dialogues des Carmélites and Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni (Chautauqua Music Festival).

Rodolfo in Puccini’s La Bohème and the title role of Massenet’s Werther aren’t in his repertoire yet, but those are two roles Jean-Michel dreams to take on one day.

For opera fans who want to see more of Jean-Michel after catching his performance in the 2013 Ensemble Studio Competition at Centre Stage on November 26, take note of his next gig. On December 11, 2013, Jean-Michel joins an exciting roster of singers from Quebec and across Canada to perform in the annual Gala de l'Opéra de Québec, which also features Ensemble Studio alumni Peter McGillivray, Luc Robert and Lauren Segal.

Perhaps he’ll be asking them for tips about the Ensemble Studio by then?


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.

Photo: (banner) BT/A.

Posted by Danielle D'Ornellas / in Ensemble Studio / comments (0) / permalink


Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001