On November 29, 10 young singers will participate in the COC Ensemble Studio Competition, competing for cash prizes and a position in the prestigious Ensemble Studio training program for emerging artists. Each day we will introduce you to one of our finalists. Today's finalist? Bass Nathan Keoughan.
For bass Nathan Keoughan, home is hard to forget.
Nathan was born and raised in Charlottetown, P.E.I. and still finds it hard to pry himself away from the Island. But he’s managed to do so long enough to attend the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, where he is currently completing a master’s degree in Vocal Performance.
Before moving to Boston, he received his bachelor of music from the University of PEI, but Nathan says that his opera career “was not the original plan.” An accomplished theatre actor, Nathan portrayed Royal Gardner in Anne & Gilbert (Harbourfront Theatre) for three consecutive summers, and also played Edwin Simpson in Nine Lives, a musical about the life of L.M. Montgomery, for the Charlottetown Festival.
It was theatre that gave him a taste for performance, but opera that captured his imagination. “As my training continued at UPEI through the years, my amazing teachers, Stephen and Sung Ha Shin Bouey, introduced me into the world of opera, and with the help of YouTube I was soon a huge fanatic,” Nathan says. “What really draws me to opera is the culmination of such a focused singing technique while having the most dramatic of intentions and, on top of that, keeping up with the rich orchestral music underneath you.”
Nathan’s opera roles include Sarastro in The Magic Flute (Highland Opera Studio), the Mayor in Dr. Miracle (New England Conservatory) and excerpts of Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro, New England Conservatory). He says, “What I find the most enjoyable is becoming a completely different person than my every day self. I'm really quite addicted.”
When he’s home on the Island with his friends, who are mostly rock musicians, Nathan goes to performances by local bands. He also enjoys playing around on YouTube, which he can do from anywhere.
Nathan doesn’t speak any languages other than English – yet – but looks forward to playing dramatic roles such as Wotan (Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen), and Scarpia (Puccini's Tosca). When asked why, he says, “The music is so rich and the characters are SO evil! I can't wait; give me 20 years and another 30 for Wotan.”
You can follow Nathan on Twitter or friend him on Facebook.
Posted by Kathleen Keenan / in Ensemble Studio / comments (0) / permalink
Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001