Digital Audio Series

Key Change
is the COC’s new 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 bi-weekly 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.

Episode 12: Opera & Contemporary Art

The worlds of opera and modern art collide in this lively discussion with Icelandic contemporary artist Ragnar Kjartansson and Adelina Vlas, Associate Curator of Contemporary Art at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Co-hosts Robyn Grant-Moran and Julie McIsaac discover how experiments in musical repetition and duration create freer experiences where audiences can explore works on their own terms.

**This episode contains explicit language that has not been edited or censored.

Subscribe to Key Change, wherever you get your podcasts:



Ragnar Kjartansson is a performance and video artist based in Reykjavik, who draws on the entire arc of art in his work.The history of film, music, theatre, visual culture, and literature find their way into his video installations, durational performances, drawing, and painting. He studied at the Iceland Academy of the Arts and The Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts, and his work has been exhibited widely with major solo shows at: the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, The Barbican Centre in London, and The Palais de Tokyo in Paris, among others. Currently, his panoramic installation, Death is Elsewhere can be viewed at the Art Gallery of Ontario.


Adelina Vlas is the Associate Curator of Contemporary Art at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Prior to joining the AGO in 2014, she held curatorial positions at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the National Gallery of Canada. Her area of specialty is post-war contemporary art with a focus on conceptual and time-based media practices. Most recently, Adelina was involved in bringing a number of exciting and popular exhibits to the AGO that include: Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors (2018), Hito Steyerl: This is the future (2019), and Haegue Yang: Emergence (2020).


More about Death is Elsewhere at the AGO - 

Video of Death is Elsewhere 

More about Canadian artist Michael Snow -  

More about German filmmaker Hito Steyerl -  

Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors (AGO exhibition overview) - 

Haegue Yang's Emergence (AGO exhibition overview) - 

Spirit of the Grotto (public art by Luis Jacob on Dufferin Street in Toronto) -  

Three Points Where Two Lines Meet (public art by Christian Giroux and Daniel Young) - 

Review of Ragnar’s Bliss from the Los Angeles Times -  

More about opera singer Engel Lund -  

Music from the film Amadeus -  

Chris de Burgh’s “Lady in Red” -  

More about Marcel Duchamps’ urinal art - 


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

"Va pensiero" from Verdi's Nabucco. Riccardo Muti, conductor, with the Philharmonia Orchestra and the Ambrosian Opera Chorus. EMI, 1987.

Overture to Mozart's Don Giovanni. Sir Neville Marriner, conductor, with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields and the Ambrosian Opera Chorus. Philips, 1991.

"The Lady in Red" written and performed by Chris de Burgh. A&M Records, 1986.

Finale from Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro. Sir Georg Solti, conductor, with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and London Opera Chorus. Decca, 1982.

Teil IV from Kjartan Sveinsson's Der Klang der Offenbarung des Göttlichen. Krunk, 2016.

"The Winner Takes it all" by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, performed by ABBA. Polar, 1980.



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 is now 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 she is the Dramaturg and Director of the upcoming COC commission Fantasma, composed by COC 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).


Phone: 416-363-8231

Toll Free: 1-800-250-4653

Contact Page

Facebook Twitter Instagram Youtube