Digital Audio Series
Key Change is the COC’s original podcast, co-hosted by classical singer and culture critic Robyn Grant-Moran, a member of the COC’s Circle of Artists, alongside stage director, dramaturg and COC Academy graduate Julie McIsaac. Our episodes explore the operagoing experience from a variety of perspectives, offering a fresh take on today's opera issues with special guests from the opera field and beyond.
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Episode 23: Kye Marshall, Amanda Hale, and Pomegranate
Ahead of the world premiere of Pomegranate in June, 2023, composer Kye Marshall and librettist Amanda Hale share the creative process behind this work, its central time-traveling love story, and their goals for queer representation in opera.
Kye Marshall is a Canadian composer and cellist, whose love of melody and facility as a classical and jazz musician and avant-garde improviser inform her unique style of composition. An eclectic musician, Marshall has performed jazz, classical, and free music with multiple venues and ensembles, including as principal cellist in the O’Keefe Centre Orchestra and as assistant principal cellist in the National Ballet Orchestra. Amidst four film scores, forty jazz compositions, and music for theatre, dance, and CBC Radio drama, Pomegranate represents her first full-length opera composition.
Amanda Hale is a novelist, poet, and writer who began her career upon her immigration to Montreal in the 1970s. Since then, she has published four novels, two poetry chapbooks, and two collections of short stories. Her work has appeared in Canadian and U.S. literary magazines, been widely anthologized, and won wide acclaim and awards such as the Prism International Prize for Creative Non-Fiction. In 2019, Hale entered the opera world as librettist for Pomegranate, an opera seeded by her book of lesbian love poems.
Pomegranate at the Canadian Opera Company
Pomegranate at Buddies in Bad Times
Key Change theme music: R. Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier. Herbert von Karajan, conductor, with the Philharmonia Orchestra; Warner Classics, 1956.
“In the Alcove” from Kye Marshall’s & Amanda Hale’s Pomegranate. Camille Rogers and Rebecca Gray, 2019.
“The Bartender’s Song” from Kye Marshall’s & Amanda Hale’s Pomegranate. Teiya Kasahara 笠原 貞野. Johannes Debus, conductor, with the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra, 2022.
Love Duet from Rufus Wainwright’s and Daniel MacIvor’s Hadrian. Isaiah Bell and Thomas Hampson. Johannes Debus, conductor, with the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra, 2018.
Episode 22: Roland Wood & Puccini's Tosca
Special guests: English baritone Roland Wood
Episode 21: Speranza Scappucci & Verdi's Macbeth
Special guest: Italian conductor Speranza Scappucci
Episode 20: Ambur Braid & R. Strauss' Salome
Special guest: Canadian soprano Ambur Braid
Episode 19: Luca Pisaroni & Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro
Special guest: Italian bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni
Episode 18: J'Nai Bridges & Bizet's Carmen
Special guest: American mezzo-soprano J'Nai Bridges
Episode 17: Alex Ross & Wagner's The Flying Dutchman
Special guest: Music critic and author Alex Ross
Special guests: Architect Jack Diamond, Canadian Opera House Corporation Executive Director Janice Oliver, and Soprano Sondra Radvanovsky
Episode 15: Opera & Criticism – Part II
Special guest: Theatre critic Karen Fricker
Episode 14: Opera & Space – Scale and Immersion
Special guests: Director Yuval Sharon and multidisciplinary artist Debi Wong
Episode 13: Opera & the Body
Special guests: Kinetics Performance Consultant Jennifer Swan, Mezzo-soprano Krisztina Szabó
Episode 12: Opera & Contemporary Art
Special guests: Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson and Adelina Vlas, Associate Curator of Contemporary Art at the Art Gallery of Ontario
Bonus Episode: In Conversation with Rebecca Caine
Special guest: Soprano Rebecca Caine
Episode 11: Ask Us Anything
Special guests: Rebecca Caine, Jonathan Christopher, Johannes Debus, Liz Upchurch, Perryn Leech, Teiya Kasahara
Episode 10: Opera & Criticism – Part I
Special guest: Music critic Anne Midgette
Episode 9: In Conversation with Michael Greyeyes
Special guest: Actor/director/dancer/choreographer Michael Greyeyes
Episode 8: Opera & Activism – Part II
Special guest: Conductor Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser
Episode 7: Opera & Activism – Part I
Special guest: Musicologist Rena Roussin
Episode 6: In Conversation with Perryn Leech and Alexander Neef
Special guests: COC General Director Perryn Leech and former General Director Alexander Neef
Episode 5: Visions for the Future
Special guests: COC Composer-in-Residence Ian Cusson and best-selling author Cherie Dimaline
Episode 4: Making Theatre Magic
Special guests: The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson and Canadian designer Michael Levine
Episode 3: Whose Story Is This?
Special guests: Theatre director Ravi Jain and multi-disciplinary artist Teiya Kasahara
Episode 2: Sounds Like Opera
Special guests: Musicologist Hannah Chan-Hartley and acoustician Bob Essert
Episode 1: Welcome to the Opera House
Special guests: Soprano Angel Blue, Canadian visual artist Shary Boyle, COC Music Director Johannes Debus, Soprano and Ensemble Studio artist Midori Marsh
MEET OUR CO-HOSTS
Robyn Grant-Moran (Métis) is a classical singer, writer, and a jack of many trades who, in 2018 met the requirements to call herself a Bachelor of the Fine Arts at York University. That same year, Robyn participated in the Performance Criticism Training Program with Generator Toronto where she learned that theatre criticism can be used to push for more inclusive spaces and champion voices less heard and often misunderstood; so of course she fell in love. Since then, she’s been published in Alt.Theatre and Intermission Magazine, won the Nathan Cohen Award for Outstanding Emerging Critic, and joined the Canadian Opera Company’s Circle of Artists, to name a few. Robyn currently resides in Tkaronto (Toronto), weathering the pandemic with her wee rat dog in a box in the sky.
Canadian stage director Julie McIsaac was named the COC’s first Director/Dramaturg-in-Residence in 2019 and subsequently Lead Curator of Opera Everywhere, the company's reimagined 20/21 season. A versatile opera and theatre artist, her projects work towards reshaping and revitalizing the stories told on stage. During her residency with the COC, she served as Assistant Director on Joel Ivany's production of Hansel and Gretel (COC) and in March 2022, she directed the world premiere of the COC commission Fantasma by former Composer-in-Residence Ian Cusson with libretto by Colleen Murphy. Julie earned her Master’s degree in Theatre from the University of York (UK) and is also a graduate of Carleton University (Music) and the Canadian College of Performing Arts (Theatre Performance and Playwriting). www.juliemcisaac.com