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 5: Visions for the Future

In our season 1 finale, co-hosts Robyn Grant-Moran and Julie McIsaac speculate on the future of opera and creation – including who will be telling those stories and who will be watching – in conversations with best-selling author Cherie Dimaline (Empire of Wild, The Marrow Thieves) and COC Composer-in-Residence Ian Cusson. Both hail from the same Georgian Bay community and share their views on creating for future generations, representing their communities, as well as some exciting updates on their own new opera.

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Ian Cusson is a Métis and French-Canadian composer of art song, opera, and orchestral work. His work explores the Canadian Indigenous experience, including the history of the Métis people, the hybridity of mixed-racial identity, and the intersection of Western and Indigenous cultures. He is the inaugural artist of the COC’s newly developed Composer-in-Residence program, with a residency at the COC Academy that officially began on August 19, 2019.

As part of Cusson’s composer residency, the COC has commissioned a new work with award-winning Canadian playwright and librettist Colleen Murphy. Fantasma is being developed with families and young people in mind.


Cherie Dimaline is a member of the Georgian Bay Métis Community in Ontario who has published five books. Her 2017 book, The Marrow Thieves, won the Governor General’s Award and the prestigious Kirkus Prize for Young Readers, and was the fan favourite for CBC’s 2018 Canada Reads. It was named a Book of the Year on numerous lists including the National Public Radio, the School Library Journal, the New York Public Library, the Globe and Mail, Quill & Quire and the CBC, has been translated into several languages, and continues to be a national bestseller two years later.  Her most recent novel for adults, Empire of Wild (Penguin Random House Canada) became an instant Canadian bestseller and was named Indigo's #1 Best Book of 2019. It was published in the US through William Morrow in July 2020. Cherie recently moved from Vancouver, BC, to Midland, ON, where she is working on a new YA book, the next adult novel and the hotly anticipated sequel to The Marrow Thieves, as well as the forthcoming TV adaptation.


Maria Campbell 

Sonny-Ray Day Rider 

Cris Derksen 

Lee Maracle
Twitter: @MaracleLee 

Melody McKiver 

Waubgeshig Rice

Eden Robinson ​ 

Janet Rogers
Twitter: @janetmarieroger

Richard Van Camp 
Twitter: @richardvancamp  

Joshua Whitehead 


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

"Dodo, mon tout petit" from Louis Riel, music by Ian Cusson, text by Mavor Moore. Simone Osborne. Johannes Debus, conductor, with the COC Orchestra, 2019.

"Celeste Aida" from Verdi's Aida. Jon Vickers. Sir Georg Solti, conductor, with the Orchestra del Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, Decca, 1962.

"Prenderò quel brunettino" from Mozart's Così fan tutte. Miah Persson, Anke Vondung. Iván Fischer, conductor, with the Orchestra of the Age of the Enlightenment, Glyndebourne Opera House, 2006.

Cusson's Fantasma. Recorded during a March 2020 workshop featuring artists from the COC Ensemble Studio.



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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