Parlando: The COC Blog


The Ensemble Studio: A Singer's Summer Vacation

By Jennifer Pugsley, Media Relations Manager

A singer never really goes on vacation. Yes, there’s time set aside for rest and relaxation, but always on the horizon is the need to get ready for what’s next. There’s always a performance to prepare for or some kind of private study in anticipation of a future role. That’s certainly the case for sopranos Sasha Djihanian and Claire de Sévigné, tenor Owen McCausland and baritone Cameron McPhail. Currently on break from the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio, these four young artists will enjoy a mixture of business and pleasure this summer before they return to the company at the end of August.

Soprano Sasha Djihanian is looking forward to a summer of travelling to Italy, Greece and Turkey, but before she departs she’ll be making a special appearance with The National Ballet of Canada. She’s a featured vocalist, along with incoming Ensemble Studio mezzo-soprano Danielle MacMillan, in the NBoC production of Pur Ti Miro, in performance at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts from June 19 – 23, 2013. When back at the COC next season, Sasha is on the mainstage as Fiordiligi in the Ensemble Studio performance of Così fan tutte on February 7, 2014, and as Pedro in Don Quichotte, in addition to understudying the roles of Oscar in Un ballo in maschera, Fiordiligi for the mainstage production of Così and Iole in Hercules.

Soprano Claire de Sévigné starts off her summer holiday with a visit to Chicago to spend some time with her voice teacher Steven Smith. She’s then headed to Santa Barbara, California to work under the direction of celebrated mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne in the Music Academy of the West’s voice program. Hopefully she’ll be able to soak up some sun when not studying or rehearsing for her performance as the Queen of the Night in the Academy’s production of The Magic Flute in August. There’ll also be role study in her future this summer, learning the role of First Niece for Peter Grimes at the COC in October 2013 and Despina for the Ensemble Studio performance of Così fan tutte in February 2014. Claire also understudies the roles of Despina for the mainstage production and Pedro in Don Quichotte in May 2014.

Tenor Owen McCausland has no major plans this summer, that’s if you don’t count studying with his voice teacher Patrick Raftery, learning his roles for next season, visiting family, growing a vegetable garden and building a website! On the books for the 2013/2014 season at the COC, Owen is scheduled to sing Parpignol in La Bohème, Reverend Horace in Peter Grimes (while also understudying the role of Bob Boles), and the Servant in Un ballo in maschera. He also sings Ferrando in the Ensemble Studio performance of Così fan tutte (and understudies the same role for the mainstage production), understudies Hyllus in Hercules, and sings Lord Cecil in Roberto Devereux and Juan in Don Quichotte.


Baritone Cameron McPhail is looking forward to a summer with his wife Cat. Amidst the plans to relax and enjoy visiting family, though, there will be some intense study in preparation for next year’s roles. Upon returning to the COC for the 2013/2014 season, Cam goes straight into rehearsals for La Bohème for which he sings Schaunard for four of the 12 performances. He also understudies Ned Keene in Peter Grimes, Silvano in Un ballo in maschera, Guglielmo in Così fan tutte (which he’ll sing in the Ensemble Studio performance) and the Duke of Nottingham in Roberto Devereux.



Photo Credits: <(top, l – r)> Owen McCausland and Cameron McPhail in the COC’s Xstrata Ensemble Studio School Tour production of The Brothers Grimm, 2012; (middle) Sasha Djihanian at the 2013 Christina and Louis Quilico Awards; (middle) Claire de Sévigné on May 2, 2013 at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre; (middle) Owen McCausland on January 8, 2013 at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre; (bottom) Cameron McPhail at the 2013 Christina and Louis Quilico Awards. All photos by Chris Hutcheson.

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



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