Out of a pool of 120 aspiring opera singers from across the country, eight were selected to compete at Centre Stage: Ensemble Studio Competition on November 3, 2015, our annual celebration of the next generation of opera stars selected from nationwide auditions for the COC Ensemble Studio—Canada’s premier training program for young opera professionals. The competition features the young singers vying for cash prizes ranging in value from $1,500 to $5,000. We interviewed our eight young finalists to learn more—check out all of the interviews, linked by name as they become available, here (or here if on a mobile device).
Montreal-born baritone Bruno Roy is currently studying for his master of music performance at McGill University, where he also received his bachelor’s degree. His recent operatic credits include Count Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro (Opera McGill); Matt in Crush (Banff Centre); L’Horloge/Le Chat in L’enfant et les sortilèges (Opera on the Avalon); Papageno in The Magic Flute (Blooming Voce Summer Opera Workshop); Masetto in Don Giovanni (FAVA Opera); and Raoul de Gardefeu in La Vie Parisienne (Opera Without Fences). In 2016, he appears as John Brooke in Little Women and Belcore in L’elisir d’amore at Opera McGill.
From a very young age, I was involved in choirs and other vocal ensembles. My mother always had a subscription to the opera and I would often accompany her during these formative years. It created in me a deep appreciation for this repertoire and it is why I decided to make it my course of study.
It is an art form that I find fascinating; it melds drama, literature and music all into one and by juxtaposing it with the power of the human voice, provides us with a unique sensory experience. It has the capacity to make us laugh, cry and reflect, and the composers, stage directors and musicians wanting to share these emotions are what keep this art form going.
I am a big foodie. When it comes to coffee, wine and good food, I always go for the best that a city has to offer. You will also find me behind the counter, whipping up a nice meal for some friends.
Lastly, I must admit that I am often a victim of vanity; I love shopping for nice shoes and I’m always on the lookout for a new hair pomade.
The title role in Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande is one that I hold near and dear to my heart. It is a beautiful work in which the characters intentions and emotions are expressed with a unique colour palette where the orchestra expertly supports the prose-like vocal line and where suggestion is just as powerful as action. A highly symbolic opera, it is one that produces in me a new reflection on every listen.
Follow Bruno on Twitter at @brunobeloinroy
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit COCCentreStage.ca, call COC Ticket Services at 416-363-8231 or visit the Four Seasons Centre Box Office (145 Queen St. W.).
To buy competition tickets, click here.
To buy Under 30 competition tickets sponsored by TD, click here.
For more information about the the Centre Stage Dinner event and how to purchase tickets, please contact the PC Office at 416-363-5801
Photo Credit: Stephane Poirier
Posted by Kiersten Hay / in Centre Stage / comments (0) / permalink
Originally from Kitchener, Ontario, soprano Samantha Pickett studied opera at McGill and Wilfrid Laurier universities. Her credits include Anna in Crush (Banff Centre); the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro (Opera McGill and Opera Laurier); La Ciesca in Gianni Schicchi, understudy for the title role in Suor Angelica and Elle in La voix humaine (Opera McGill); Micaëla in Carmen and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni (Opera NUOVA); Mrs. Demers in City Workers in Love, Lady Gerstein in One Lump or Two, Sophia in May 23, and First Lady in The Magic Flute (Opera Laurier). She recently participated in the St. Andrews by-the-Sea Opera Workshop and the Bel Canto Summer Voice Program in Munich.
I fell in love with music at the tender age of three. My mother took my brother and me to see The Phantom of the Opera, and I cried at intermission because I thought it was over. My parents signed me up for piano, dance and voice lessons when I was five and I have been singing ever since.
I can't remember precisely when opera became my life's passion; I think that it is because large, intense music has always been close to me. I began singing opera when I was 16, and at that point I had a hope that it would become my career, but, as any 16-year-old should, I had many lofty ambitions for my future self. Opera is a long-form art; it is a process, and to be an opera singer is a protracted endeavour.
One of the things I love most about opera is the commanding power of the narrative throughout its sensory facets. The total, aggregate nature of opera is truly irresistible. In many ways it is the ultimate art; exposing the senses to the total power and fragility of the human body.
Somewhere between massage therapist, yoga teacher, stage director, make-up artist, animal rescuer, interior designer, writer, and nanny. But who's to say you can't be all of those things?! Certainly not all at once, but we shall see where life takes me.
I have been practicing Moksha (hot) yoga for seven years. The combination of dynamic physicality and deep meditative practice is essential to my daily life. I have been a Moksha yoga ambassador, both here in Toronto and in Montreal, for three years.
I am an avid reader. My favourite book is A Sunday at the Pool in Kigali, a historical fiction account of the simultaneous, but nearly uncorrelated destruction of Rwandan genocide and AIDS in the same country.
I adore poetry. I'm particularly smitten with Shakespeare, but I am also partial to Robert Frost and James Joyce. I also have an encyclopedic knowledge of The Simpsons.
Learn more about Samantha from her blog, The Emerging Project at theemergingproject.com, and follow her on Twitter at @SamoSoprano
A native of Laval, Quebec, mezzo-soprano Pascale Spinney studied opera at McGill University and is a current member of the Atelier lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal. Her recent credits include Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly (Opéra de Montréal); Dora in A Little Too Cozy (Banff Centre); Fatmé in Zémire et Azor (Violons du Roy); Hänsel in Hänsel und Gretel (VIVace); Véronique in Le Docteur Miracle (Stu&Jess Productions); the title role in Giulio Cesare in Egitto, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Third Lady in The Magic Flute, Epicene in Volpone, and Eustazio in Rinaldo (Opera McGill). Upcoming roles include Stephano and Gertrude in Jeunesses Musicales du Canada’s touring production of Roméo et Juliette.
I find two things that I can't live without in opera: music and the theatre.
I was introduced to classical music while studying jazz voice in CEGEP, and was fascinated by the level of technical skill that opera singers needed to achieve. I applied to classical voice performance in university, took an extra year to catch up to my peers, and never looked back.
I would have been a pilot!
I like to do yoga and I have a passion for fitness and nutrition. I also enjoy reading a great deal.
Photo Credit: Brent Calis
Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001