Parlando: The COC Blog

8/29/2013

Catching up with Ensemble Studio member Clarence Frazer

By Jennifer Pugsley, Media Relations Manager


Clarence Frazer (Publio) and Emily D'Angelo (Annio) posing before their COSI performance of La clemenza di Tito.

The COC welcomed new Ensemble Studio member baritone Clarence Frazer last week as the training program started up for the 2013/2014 season. He, like fellow Ensemble Studio newcomer Danielle MacMillan, spent part of June and much of July in Sulmona, Italy, attending the Centre for Opera Studies in Italy (COSI), before heading out to the family cottage in Muskoka, ON. Since fall is so close at hand, we wanted to get one more dose of summer by hearing about Clarence’s time away.

Danielle shared with us a little bit of what COSI is and what one does when attending the program. How would you describe it?

The COSI experience is rich in operatic training and performances, with immersion in Italian life and Italian language classes. Internationally renowned faculty in operatic performance, voice and piano teaching and coaching, dramatic coaching, bodywork, and lyric Italian converge with advanced singers and pianists to create wonderful performances in beautiful Italian venues.


The piazza in Sulmona, Italy, just outside the theatre in which the COSI students were performing.

What was your routine like? What kind of training did you receive? 

I sang the role of Publio in La clemenza di Tito with conductor Jonathan Berman and director Timothy Nelson. I also participated in two masterclasses: one with Wendy Nielsen and the other with Giuseppe Finzi and sang in the chorus for COSI’s performances of Vivaldi’s Gloria and in concerts in and around Sulmona. I was given vocal lessons with the voice faculty, made up of Darryl Edwards, Wendy Nielsen and Kathleen Brett, coachings with Kathryn Tremills, Mai’kai Nash, Rachel Andrist, Nathalie Doucet-Lalkens, Liz Upchurch and Giuseppe Finzi, and did Pilates bodywork with Jennifer Swan.

What was your favourite part of the experience?

Definitely performing Publio in La clemenza di Tito. For me, being on stage is the most exciting, fulfilling and exhilarating part of the job. Being in Italy was okay as well, ha ha.

Who were you most excited to meet or work with at COSI?

Everyone has been equally exciting to work with. It was a real pleasure and very humbling to work with this world-class faculty every day.

You were in Italy for the summer. All work and no play... or did you get to explore the land of love, music, beauty, fashion, history, art, culture and gastronomy?

This time I did not get to experience Italy as much as in the past. Aside from a few trips to the beach in Pescara, my time was spent in Sulmona.

It sounds like you were pretty focused on your studies while in Italy. What kind of music were you listening to in your off time?

I usually don’t listen to classical or opera music in my personal time. I have all types of music on my iPod and listen to almost anything.

Italy would be the dream travel destination for a lot of people, but since you were there to focus on your opera training, what would be your dream travel destination?

It has to be the South Pacific, to places like Bora Bora or Tahiti. So exotic, warm and secluded. Seems perfect to me.


You can catch Clarence performing with all of this year’s Ensemble Studio members in our Meet the Young Artists Free Concert Series performance on September 26, and as Customs House Sergeant in this fall's La Bohème.

Photos: (top) Clarence Frazer as Publio and Emily D'Angelo as Annio for the COSI performance of La clemenza di Tito, 2013; (middle) A cathedral in Sulmona, Italy; (bottom) The main piazza in Sulmona, Italy. Photos provided by Clarence Frazer

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