By Tanya Morgado, Public Relations Intern
With the hot weather quickly approaching, many of us are finalizing summer travel plans, including the six young artists joining the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio for the 2013/2014 season.
Bass-baritone Gordon Bintner, mezzo-soprano Charlotte Burrage, soprano Aviva Fortunata, baritone Clarence Frazer, tenor Andrew Haji, and mezzo-soprano Danielle MacMillan have busy summers ahead of them before officially joining the COC at the end of August.
Here’s a look at what’s in store for these talented singers and where they might be spending the dog days of summer.
Gordon Bintner just finished performing the role of Lescaut in Manon at Opéra de Montréal and has already moved on to his next project, singing the role of Escamillo in Carmen at Saskatoon Opera from June 15 – 22, 2013. He's then performing in a couple of recitals in July, including the FestiVoix festival in Trois-Rivières, Québec. After a quick stop in Toronto to pick up the keys to his new place, he jets off to Kelowna, BC, where he’s spending a month kayaking, hiking, cooking, and enjoying some much-anticipated family time. He’s back to work in August, singing the baritone solo in Mahler Symphony No. 8 at the Brott Music Festival in Hamilton before joining the COC.
Mezzo-soprano Charlotte Burrage is spending the summer in Toronto, reconnecting with friends and family. She’s looking forward to enjoying the seemingly endless activities the city has to offer, including the sun-soaked patios and concerts of all musical genres. Her move to Toronto from Woodstock, ON also allows for a reunion of sorts with her sister. The siblings haven’t lived in the same city for the last 10 years! Along with taking the summer to sing in some concerts and learn music for the COC’s upcoming 13/14 season, Charlotte’s attending her first 90s boy band concert in August, an event she feels is a quintessential Gen Y experience.
Calgary soprano Aviva Fortunata is heading south for the summer and can be found in California participating in the Merola Opera Program at San Francisco Opera. While there, she covers the roles of the Countess in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro and the female chorus in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia. Aviva’s also performing excerpts of Otello’s Desdemona and Don Giovanni’s Donna Elvira in one of the program’s special summer concerts. She’ll get a bit of an Ensemble Studio primer from recent graduates and fellow “Merolini” Rihab Chaieb and Timothy Cheung, whose advice will prove invaluable when Aviva travels back to Toronto to join the COC.
London, Ontario tenor Andrew Haji is also off to the Sunshine State this summer. He’s studying at the Music Academy of the West program, run by mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne, in Santa Barbara, California. He’s performing the lead role of Tamino in the program’s production of The Magic Flute, and also participating in various concerts and master classes. While he's in Santa Barbara, Andrew's enjoying the sun with fellow Academy participant and returning Ensemble Studio member Claire de Sévigné, who is sure to give him some COC pointers for his start in the fall!
Toronto audiences caught a glimpse of the next two jet-setting young opera singers earlier this month. Clarence Frazer and Danielle MacMillan performed at the Recital of Art Song and Opera Arias at Metropolitan United Church on June 2, but they won’t be staying in town for long. They fly off to Sulmona, Italy this summer to attend the Centre for Opera Studies in Italy (COSI).
Clarence sings the role of Publio in COSI’s production of La clemenza di Tito, keeping him busy for part of June and much of July. He’s back on Canadian soil in August, learning music for the upcoming COC season, spending time at his cottage in Muskoka, and beating the heat playing on his summer ice hockey team.
Before saying "buongiorno" in bella Italia, Danielle joins fellow Ensemble Studio member Sasha Djihanian onstage with The National Ballet of Canada as guest vocalists in Pur Ti Miro, running from June 19 – 23 at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. Once she wraps up her operatic engagements and studies, Danielle’s looking forward to spending August catching the last rays of summer sun with lots of family and friends in northern Ontario.
These six young artists join returning members, soprano Sasha Djihanian, soprano Claire de Sévigné, tenor Owen McCausland, and baritone Cameron McPhail, when the Ensemble Studio program resumes in August 2013.
Make sure to catch these exceptional singers in their first COC performance of the season at the free concert, Meet the Young Artists, in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre at the Four Seasons Centre on September 26, 2013.
Photos: (top) Bearitone Bear (middle) Gordon Bintner; (middle) Charlotte Burrage; (middle) Aviva Fortunata; (middle) Andrew Haji; (middle) Clarence Frazer; (bottom) Danielle MacMillan. Photo credits: (top) COC; All other photos from the 2012 Ensemble Studio Vocal Competition. Photographer: Chris Hutcheson.
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Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001