• Up, Up, and Ahoy! COC Opera Camps Launch Virtually for Summer 2021

    By COC News

    Arts-minded youth are flexing some serious creative muscle in two COC summer programs happening online this month.

    Summer Opera Camp is designed for younger people in grades 5-8, looking to explore the foundations of performance art, while the Opera Teens Summer Intensive invites those in high school and first-year post-secondary to learn about professional singing careers through week-long training sessions with coaches from the COC Academy.

    Teaching artist Annemarie Cabri gets campers moving!

    “Our summer camp experience is a great way to make new friends, discover new interests, and build confidence while having fun,” says Sarah Forestieri, COC Manager of Community Partnerships & Programs. “Since this year’s programming is taking place entirely online, we’ve been able to welcome participants from all over, creating a uniquely collaborative environment for sharing perspectives and skill set development.”

    Through the making of an original opera, summer opera campers learn about composition, drama, and set design - and this year, the group came up with a spirited, high-flying pirate adventure: Up, Up, and Ahoy! When the Sky Pirates and Animals clash over who gets to have the forest, there’s only one way to settle the dispute - a hot air balloon race!

    The campers collaborate on creating a storyline, characters, and music.

    "I absolutely love the white canvas at the beginning of each program,” says COC Teaching Artist Saman Shahi. “The uncertainty of what we will create and the story we will tell... I am always delighted with the outcome, and this time was no exception. I have truly enjoyed collaborating with these wonderful students, making the story, the music, and the entire show!"

    We caught up with a few COC campers to find out how camp’s been for them.

    Ram’s ready to compose and to craft!

    From Ram B:

    What made you want to sign up for Summer Opera Camp?
    When the SJTCA (St. James Town Community Arts) told me to sign up, I said sure. It sounded fun and it was! I really enjoyed it.

    Are you Team Animals or Team Sky Pirates?
    I am Team Sky Pirates because they like to look for treasures and they are adventurous like me!

    Ella (centre of screenshot): “I’m really looking forward to performance day because I get to wear my pirate hat, and I get to be all dramatic!”

    From Ella S:

    What have you been working on at camp so far?
    We have these morning exercises, and then there is some dance too. I really like the dance moves we’ve been doing so far and we’ve been making our hot air balloons for our opera and they’ve been turning out really nice! I really like them.

    What is something new that you learned, or something that surprised you about opera?
    When I first came I didn't know much about opera, I just knew there was singing involved. So I was surprised with how we were making our own songs - I thought we were going to be doing something from the internet or some classical song but I really like that we made our own music and now we get to sing it!

    On July 15, 2021, COC campers shared their finished opera with family and friends in a final virtual performance - check it out for yourself here!


    Next up, the COC Opera Teens Summer Intensive runs from July 19 – July 23, 2021.

    These classes focus on lyric diction, acting, and breath and body training for singers through private and group coaching, with additional one-on-one sessions offered with professional opera coaches. Participants will have a chance to work with some of the top coaches in the industry, including those that train the COC Ensemble Studio and graduates of the prestigious young artist training program.

    We can’t wait for their final performances!



    Summer Opera Camp Staff
    Saman Shahi: Opera Teaching Artist (Composition)
    Karine White: Opera Teaching Artist (Voice)
    Annemarie Cabri: Opera Teaching Artist (Dance)
    Tiffany Folmeg: Opera Teaching Artist (Set Design)

    Teen Intensive Coaching Staff
    Steven Leigh: Corrective Phonetics for Opera Singers Specialist (C-PhOS) and Lyric Diction Coach
    Elizabeth McDonald: Voice Singer, teacher, and arts leader
    Jennifer Swan: Breath and Body Training
    Anna Theodosakis: Acting

    Canadian Opera Company Staff:
    Sarah Forestieri: Community Partnerships & Programs Manager
    Sharifa Riley: Education Assistant
    Taylor Long: Sound & Video Editor
    Gianna Wichelow: Program Design & Creative
    Posted in Community Partnerships and Programs

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