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.

Episode 18: J'Nai Bridges & Bizet's Carmen

Co-hosts Robyn Grant-Moran and Julie McIsaac speak with Grammy Award-winning mezzo-soprano J’Nai Bridges, one of two dazzling opera artists singing the iconic title role in Georges Bizet’s Carmen. Bringing her acclaimed experience in the role to the COC stage this fall, Bridges explores her unique relationship to the heroine amidst Carmen’s historically complicated characterization.

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Two-time Grammy Award winner J’Nai Bridges is an internationally renowned mezzo-soprano gracing the world’s top opera and concert stages. A leading figure in classical music’s shift towards conversations of inclusion and racial justice, Bridges is not only recognized for her “plush-voiced mezzo-soprano” (New York Times) and “calmly commanding stage presence” (The New Yorker), but also for her work off the stage as one of Kennedy Center’s NEXT 50 cultural leaders.


BET: “J’Nai Bridges, ‘The Beyoncé Of Opera,’ Makes Her Debut As Nefertiti”

Lift Every Voice: A Conversation Hosted by J’Nai Bridges 

The New York Times: Opera Can No Longer Ignore Its Race Problem 

The Guardian: Bizet’s Carmen is a mashup of male-fantasy sexual encounters. She needs reinventing. 

Cécile McLorin Salvant: composer, singer and visual artist; 2020 MacArthur fellow and Doris Duke Artist Award-winner


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

Overture from Bizet’s Carmen. Claudio Abbado, conductor, with the London Symphony Orchestra; Deutsche Grammophon, 1998.

Habanera (“L’amour est un oiseau rebelle”) from Bizet’s Carmen. Teresa Berganza as Carmen. Claudio Abbado, conductor, with the London Symphony Orchestra; Deutsche Grammophon, 1998.

“La fleur que tu m’avais jetée” from Bizet’s Carmen. Plácido Domingo as Don José. Claudio Abbado, conductor, with the London Symphony Orchestra; Deutsche Grammophon, 1998.

Excerpt from Bizet’s Carmen. Maria Callas as Carmen, Nicolai Gedda as Don José. Georges Prêtre, conductor, with the Orchestre National de L’Opéra de Paris, His Master’s Voice, 1964.

“Viva la Vida” from Coldplay’s Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends. Capitol Records, 2008.

“La Vida Es Un Carnaval” by Celia Cruz. Universal Music, 1998.



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).


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