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 7: Opera & Activism – Part I

Explore how opera – past and present – serves as a space for activism. ​Join co-hosts Robyn Grant-Moran and Julie McIsaac as they speak with musicologist Rena Roussin, who studies activism and intersectional identity in art music. Find out how Mozart and Beethoven were subversive for their time and how opera, now more than ever, is a driving force for change.

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Rena Roussin is a Métis and settler doctoral student in musicology at the University of Toronto. Her research examines activism and constructions of intersectional identity in art music, with a dual focus on both opera and oratorio in the Age of the Enlightenment, as well as art music performance in Canada in the age of Truth and Reconciliation. Her publications appear in Haydn: The Online Journal of the Haydn Society of North America, Musicological Explorations, and the forthcoming Bloomsbury Handbook of Music and Art. Rena is a member of the Canadian Opera Company’s Circle of Artists. 


NYC Heartbeat Opera’s staging of Fidelio:

Sweet Land:


Seven Last Words of the Unarmed:


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

"Sull'aria" from Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro. Gundula Janowitz, Edith Mathis. Karl Böhm, conductor, with Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin. Deutsche Grammophon, 1968.

"Komm Hoffnung" from Beethoven's Fidelio. Nina Stemme. Claudio Abbado, conductor, with Mahler Chamber Orchestra/Lucerne Festival Orchestra. Decca, 2010.

"O welche Lust" from Beethoven's Fidelio. Claudio Abbado, conductor, with Mahler Chamber Orchestra/Lucerne Festival Orchestra and Arnold Schoenberg Choir. Decca, 2010.



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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