The Canadian Opera Company welcomes three emerging Canadian artists who will join the company’s highly specialized development program for Canadian opera professionals in the 2024/2025 season: sopranos Emily Rocha
and Gabrielle Turgeon
, and bass Duncan Stenhouse
. The talented young singers join six returning Ensemble Studio members: soprano Karoline Podolak
, mezzo-soprano Queen Hezumuryango
, tenor Wesley Harrison
, baritone Korin Thomas-Smith
, and pianist/coaches Brian Cho
and Mattia Senesi
Last October, all three incoming Ensemble Studio artists placed as finalists at Centre Stage: Ensemble Studio Competition, a competitive vocal showcase for rising singers from all over Canada. Rocha took home Second Prize that evening and Stenhouse was awarded Third Prize.
“We were thrilled, excited, and deeply impressed by the gifts of Emily, Duncan, and Gabrielle through every stage of the Ensemble Studio Competition,” says COC General Director Perryn Leech. “It’s clear these three are immensely accomplished artists who are passionately dedicated to their craft. I’m looking forward to watching their skills grow throughout their time in the program and am genuinely excited by the talent that we’re seeing in this newest generation of Canadian opera performers.”
Ensemble Studio artists receive a blend of intensive coaching and practical experience through a highly tailored multi-year program that includes performing and understudying mainstage roles, while being provided with individualized career mentorship and guidance. In addition to rigorous training from some of the industry’s best vocal, language, movement, and acting coaches, and one-on-one time with acclaimed visiting artists, Ensemble members work directly with the COC’s executive and artistic leadership through every stage of their creative development.
"I am delighted to welcome Emily, Gabrielle, and Duncan to the Ensemble Studio next season,” says Dorian Cox, Director of the Ensemble Studio. “Each of these singers brings a unique point of view to their artistry, and I am excited to see them explore that further at the COC through the program’s holistic approach to artist development.”
At the end of this season, three artists will move on from their tenure with the Ensemble Studio: soprano Ariane Cossette
, who was featured in the COC’s production of Carmen
(2022) and will be seen in The Cunning Little Vixen
this winter; soprano Charlotte Siegel
, who starred in last fall’s La Bohème
and was also featured in the COC’s productions of Fantasma
and The Magic Flute
; and mezzo-soprano Alex Hetherington, who was featured in the COC’s 2022/2023 productions of Carmen
and will also be seen in this winter’s The Cunning Little Vixen
. All three will perform a final farewell concert as part of the Free Concert Series in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre Presented by TD Bank Group.
National auditions for the 2025/2026 Ensemble Studio will be announced in the spring, with the next COC Ensemble Studio Competition scheduled for October 30, 2024. Full details will follow at a later date.
For more information on the Ensemble Studio and its artists, please visit coc.ca/Ensemble
is a bass and composer currently completing his Advanced Operatic Diploma at the Royal Academy of Music. Stenhouse is a proud alumnus of the Memorial School of Music in St. John’s where he received his Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance with a minor in Composition. Stenhouse has lived in London, England since 2020, attending the Academy and performing at summer festivals in a range of operas by Britten, Dvořák, Mozart, Puccini, Rossini, Richard Strauss, Stravinsky, and Verdi.