What she's doing with us: Ensemble Studio graduate Ileana Montalbetti returns to the COC to star alongside world-famous tenor Ben Heppner in Peter Grimes. The Saskatchewan native makes her role debut as Ellen Orford, the town school teacher and one of Grimes' few friends.
Where you might have seen her: While she was in the Ensemble Studio, Ileana performed in mainstage performances of La Cenerentola, Maria Stuarda and Death in Venice. Last season she returned to the COC to understudy the roles of Leonora in Il Trovatore and Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus and gave two Free Concert Series performances. Since graduating from the Ensemble Studio in June 2012, Ileana has made her Edmonton Opera debut as Antonia in The Tales of Hoffmann, and performed as Leonore in Fidelio at the Michigan Opera Theatre.
Her background: After completing undergraduate studies at the University of Manitoba, Ileana continued to hone her skills at the University of Toronto, graduating from the opera diploma program. She also studied at the Chautauqua Institute and completed two fellowships at the Tanglewood Music Centre in addition to the four years she spent in the COC Ensemble Studio.
Posted by Danielle D'Ornellas / in Peter Grimes / comments (0) / permalink
By Tanya Morgado, Public Relations Intern
While Torontonians are sweltering under back-to-back heat alerts, new Ensemble Studio member tenor Andrew Haji is enjoying the friendlier weather in California. “Santa Barbara's weather is phenomenal,” he says. “It’s just the right temperature, with very little rain and lots of sun.”
Andrew (last seen at the COC winning second-place in the Ensemble Studio Competition) is having a busy summer attending the Music Academy of the West, a two-month program for opera singers and instrumentalists. The musicians participate in daily rehearsals, masterclasses, and individual lessons with prestigious faculty members, including mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne who has directed the vocal program since 1997.
“I was very excited to work with Marilyn Horne,” confesses Andrew. “I've had one voice lesson with her so far, and she’s fantastic. She's been in the business for a good amount of time so she knows all the secrets and the tools of the trade. I have also had a chance to work with some great coaches from around the country: Carrie-Ann Matheson, who is a prompter at the Met; Warren Jones, a superb pianist and coach; and Jonathan Kelly, assistant conductor at the Met and San Francisco Opera.”
The program also offers Andrew many performance opportunities, beginning with a “Death by Aria” concert which took place in the first week. Each Academy Voice Fellow sang an aria, and Andrew explains that it was “similar to a ‘sing-in’ but with a paying audience.” A few days later, he sang in a masterclass led by Russian baritone, Vladimir Chernov: “Vladimir gave a recital shortly after, and it was phenomenal. It was truly a wonderful experience to work with him, and to listen to his exquisite music-making.”
Posted by Danielle D'Ornellas / in Ensemble Studio / comments (1) / permalink
What's he doing with us: This fall we're presenting a brand new production of one of opera's most beloved love stories — Puccini's heartbreaking La Bohème. Our Set and Costume Designer David Farley makes his COC debut imagining the world of Rodolfo, Mimì, Marcello and Musetta, designing a set inspired by and comprised of Marcello’s paintings.
Where you might have seen him: The Olivier Award-winning and Tony Award-nominated designer has credits that include a deliciously bleak production of The Turn of the Screw at the New York City Opera, several highly lauded theatre productions such as La Cage aux Folles and Sunday in the Park with George in London's West End and Broadway (the latter of which earned him an Olivier), and closer to home for us, Kiss Me, Kate at the Stratford Festival.
His background: A graduate of the Oxfordshire School of Art and Design and Wimbledon School of Art, Farley started his career with a strong, practical background in Theatre Design and had his first big break designing a David Mamet double bill of Sexual Perversity in Chicago and The Shawl.
Posted by Danielle D'Ornellas / in La Bohème / comments (0) / permalink
Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001