Digital Audio Series

Key Change
is the COC’s new podcast, offering a fresh take on today's opera issues. Co-hosted by classical singer and culture critic Robyn Grant-Moran, a member of the COC’s Circle of Artists, alongside COC Director/Dramaturg-in-Residence Julie McIsaac, the first season of bi-weekly episodes explores the operagoing experience from a variety of perspectives, with special guests from the opera field and beyond.

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What stories are we telling? Why do they persist? And how can we tell them differently – in a way that invites more people into the narrative? In this episode, hosts Robyn Grant-Moran and Julie McIsaac talk storytelling with soprano and multi-disciplinary artist Teiya Kasahara and award-winning theatre director Ravi Jain.



Toronto-based stage director Ravi Jain is a multi-award-winning artist known for making politically bold and accessible theatrical experiences in both small indie productions and large theatres. As the founding artistic director of Why Not Theatre, Ravi has established himself as an artistic leader for his inventive productions, international producing/collaborations and innovative producing models which are aimed to better support emerging artists to make money from their art.

Ravi was twice shortlisted for the 2016 and 2019 Siminovitch Prize and won the 2012 Pauline McGibbon Award for Emerging Director and the 2016 Canada Council John Hirsch Prize for direction. He is a graduate of the two-year program at École Jacques Lecoq.  He was selected to be on the roster of clowns for Cirque du Soliel. Currently, Sea Sick which he co-directed will be on at the National Theatre in London, his adaptation of The Indian epic Mahabarata will premier at the Shaw Festival and What You Won’t Do For Love, starring David Suzuki will premier in Vancouver in 2021.


First-generation Nikkei-Canadian settler Teiya Kasahara is a queer, gender non-binary, interdisciplinary performer-creator. Heralded as “an artist with extraordinary things to say” by The Globe and Mail, Teiya comes from a background of over a decade of singing both traditional and contemporary operatic roles across North America and Europe, most recently Madama Butterfly with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra. Teiya explores the intersections of identity through opera, theatre, electronics, and taiko within their artistic practice, and they are a co-founder of a new Toronto-based company called Amplified Opera.


Why Not Theatre's Mahabharata 

Tapestry Opera's Shanawdithit: 

Soundstreams' Two Odysseys 

Featured Music:

Key Change theme music: R. Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier; Herbert von Karajan, conductor with the Philharmonia Orchestra; Warner Classics, 1956

Mozart's The Magic Flute; "Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen;" Lucia Popp; Otto Klemperer, conductor with the Philharmonia Orchestra; Warner Classics, 1964

Puccini's Manon Lescaut; Act III Intermezzo; Marco Armiliato, conductor with the Munich Radio Orchestra; Deutsche Grammophon, 2016

Strauss' Salome; "Ah! Ich habe deinen Mund geküsst, Jochanaan;" Cheryl Studer, soprano; Giuseppe Sinopoli, conductor with the Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin; Deutsche Grammophon, 1991



In our first episode, co-hosts Robyn Grant-Moran and Julie McIsaac chat with four special guests from both inside and outside the opera world about their first experiences with the art form - the good, the bad and the ugly. You'll hear from acclaimed soprano Angel Blue, who saw her first opera at the age of four; Canadian visual artist Shary Boyle, who draws some amazing comparisons between opera and thrash metal bands; the COC's own Music Director, Johannes Debus; and soprano Midori Marsh, a new member of the COC’s Ensemble Studio training program for Canada’s rising opera stars.


Watch HiHo Kids: "Kids Meet an Opera Singer" with soprano Angel Blue.

Learn more about Shary Boyle's work including information about her upcoming solo show, Outside the palace of Me.

Featured Music:
Key Change theme: R. Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier; Herbert von Karajan, conductor with the Philharmonia Orchestra; Warner Classics, 1956

Puccini's Turandot; Francesco Molinari-Pradelli, conductor with the Orchestra del Teatro Dell'Opera di Roma; Warner Classics, 1965

Puccini's Turandot; "In questa reggia;" Tamara Wilson, soprano; Carlo Rizzi, conductor with the COC Orchestra; COC, 2019

Verdi's Aida; "O patria mia;" Sondra Radvanovsky, soprano; Constantine Orbelian, conductor with the Philharmonia of Russia; DELOS, 2010

In this episode, hosts Robyn Grant-Moran and Julie McIsaac explore how we hear opera, with special guests musicologist Dr. Hannah Chan-Hartley and acoustician Bob Essert. They’ll take us through the history and science of why opera sounds the way it does, its evolution through the ages, and how it affects audiences on both a physical and emotional level.



Dr. Hannah Chan-Hartley is a musicologist, active in the public sphere as a writer, speaker, and researcher. She was recently Musicologist-in-Residence at the 2018 Verbier Festival in Switzerland and at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, where she was also Managing Editor of publications. She holds a Bachelor of Music Honours in violin performance from McGill University, a Master of Philosophy in musicology and performance from the University of Oxford, and a PhD in musicology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Hannah’s research interests include the social and cultural history of music and music institutions, focusing on the Europe–North America transatlantic context from the 19th century to the present day, as well as the performance and reception history of opera (notably, the works of Richard Wagner) and orchestral music, about which she has written and presented at major conferences. She is the creator of the award-winning Visual Listening Guides—a new kind of graphic listening guide for symphonic music.


Acoustician Bob Essert, founding director of Sound Space Vision, uses sound in architecture in the service of the arts: to connect performers and audiences, teachers and students, and to enable artists to do their best work.   Weaving the priorities of performance into a building involves upholding the connection between design and engineering, based on the human perception and experience of sound.   

Based first in New York, and now in London, Essert has for 40 years been working with orchestra, opera and theatre groups and venues to develop quality arts buildings around the world.  His projects have achieved a reputation for success, ranging from small gems to prestigious concert halls and opera theatres. His acoustics in Canada include the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, Koerner Hall, Weston Recital Hall, Maison Symphonique in Montreal and the Chan Centre at UBC, and is now working on the revitalization of Massey Hall. He has designed acoustics in the UK for Garsington Opera and Nevill Holt Opera, theatres in Istanbul and Kazakhstan and the new Xiqu Centre for Chinese Opera in Hong Kong.

Featured Music:

Key Change theme music: R. Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier; Herbert von Karajan, conductor with the Philharmonia Orchestra; Warner Classics, 1956

Handel's Giulio Cesare; "Giulio, che miri;" Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, baritone; Karl Richter, conductor with the Münchener Bach-Orchester; Deutsche Grammophon, 2006

Handel's Giulio Cesare; "Piangerò la sorte mia;" Joan Sutherland, soprano; Richard Bonynge, conductor with the London Symphony Orchestra; Decca, 1992

Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro; Act II: "Voi signor, che giusto siete;" Sir Georg Solti, conductor with the London Philharmonic Orchestra; Decca, 1982

R. Strauss' Elektra; "Allein! Weh, ganz allein;" Christine Goerke, soprano; Johannes Debus, conductor with the COC Orchestra; COC, 2019
Episode 4
Release date: Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Episode 5
Release date: Tuesday, December 22, 2020



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 is the COC’s first Director/Dramaturg-in-Residence. The year-long residency is the newest addition to the COC Academy, the company’s professional development program for young opera artists, creators, and administrators. Julie is a stage director, dramaturg, playwright/librettist, and multi-instrumentalist, whose projects work towards reshaping and revitalizing the stories told on stage. During her residency with the COC, she served as Assistant Director on Ivany's production of Hansel and Gretel (COC) and will stage the COC commission Fantasma, composed by COC Composer-in-Residence Ian Cusson with libretto by Colleen Murphy. She 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).


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