Centre Stage

Drama, decadence, and grandeur – experience A Night at the Opera with the Canadian Opera Company, as we celebrate a powerful and transformative evening of the art form like never before. In its sixth year as the premier fundraiser for the Canadian Opera Company, Centre Stage guests will mingle with emerging opera stars and notable COC artists at the glittering Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.

The main event is the Ensemble Studio Competition, an exhilarating vocal showcase of singers who are vying for cash prizes while aspiring to secure an invitation to the COC Ensemble Studio, Canada’s leading training program for young opera professionals. Finalists from across the country perform from the mainstage, accompanied by the internationally acclaimed COC Orchestra conducted by COC Music Director Johannes Debus—an extraordinary atmosphere for both spectators and artists.

Eight lucky singers compete for a chance to enter the prestigious Ensemble Studio training program. 

The 2018 Centre Stage finalists are:


Tenor Matthew Cairns of St. Catharines, ON

Soprano Vanessa Croome of Nanaimo, BC

Bass-baritone Aaron Dimoff of Owen Sound, ON

Bass-baritone Vartan Gabrielian of Toronto, ON

Tenor Rocco Rupolo of Toronto, ON

Mezzo-soprano Jamie Groote of Oakville, ON

Soprano Andrea Lett of Humboldt, SK

Soprano Noelle Slaney of Gander, NL



To purchase tickets to the Ensemble Studio competition only (includes open bar, reception, and competition), click here

To purchase tickets for the Gala Dinner, (includes open bar, reception, competition, and onstage dinner following), please email CentreStageGala@coc.ca or call 416-363-5801.





  • Competition

    A Night of Voices


    The COC Ensemble Studio Competition highlights the finest young talent from across the country. The audience at the vocal competition will hear artists following in the footsteps of such renowned Ensemble Studio graduates as Ben Heppner, Isabel Bayrakdarian, and Wendy Nielsen, among others.

    The live audition process sees COC artistic staff travel to Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto and New York to audition hopeful singers. Following a callback audition, the finalists are selected to perform at the Ensemble Studio Competition.

    At its heart, Centre Stage is about community-oriented philanthropy, with 100% of proceeds going towards supporting the COC’s Ensemble Studio. These young artists undertake an intense training regimen that includes hundreds of hours of vocal coaching, acting classes, language and diction training, as well as body movement and fitness instruction.

    Learn more about the Ensemble Studio and its current members.

    5:30 p.m.
    Cocktail Reception

    6:30 p.m.
    Ensemble Studio Competition

    BUY TICKETS

    Gala Dinner

    A Night at the Opera

    Join us for an intimate black-tie dinner on the stage of R. Fraser Elliott Hall featuring a special performance. The uniqueness of the gala evening is further highlighted by the rare opportunity to enjoy the onsite catering stylings of critically acclaimed Nota Bene Executive Chef David Lee.

    5:30 p.m.
    Cocktail Reception

    6:30 p.m.
    Ensemble Studio Competition

    Dinner on stage to follow
    Dinner styled by Nota Bene Executive Chef David Lee
    Featuring a special dinner performance

    Tickets to the Centre Stage Gala start at $1,500. For more information about the event and how to purchase tickets to the Gala Dinner, please CentreStageGala@coc.ca or call 416-363-5801.

  • Canadian Opera Company General Director Alexander Neef, Centre Stage 2017, photo: Michael Cooper
    Canadian Opera Company General Director Alexander Neef, Centre Stage 2017, photo: Michael Cooper
    Host Ben Heppner, Centre Stage 2017, photo: Michael Cooper
    Host Ben Heppner, Centre Stage 2017, photo: Michael Cooper
    Ensemble Studio Competition Third Prize winner soprano Anna-Sophie Neher, Centre Stage 2017, photo: Michael Cooper
    Ensemble Studio Competition Third Prize winner soprano Anna-Sophie Neher, Centre Stage 2017, photo: Michael Cooper
    Ensemble Studio Competition Second Prize winner bass-baritone Joel Allison, Centre Stage 2017, photo: Michael Cooper
    Ensemble Studio Competition Second Prize winner bass-baritone Joel Allison, Centre Stage 2017, photo: Michael Cooper
    Ensemble Studio Competition First Prize and Audience Choice Award winner mezzo-soprano Simona Genga, Centre Stage 2017, photo: Michael Cooper
    Ensemble Studio Competition First Prize and Audience Choice Award winner mezzo-soprano Simona Genga, Centre Stage 2017, photo: Michael Cooper
    (foreground) Ensemble Studio Competition First Prize and Audience Choice Award winner mezzo-soprano Simona Genga with finalists of the Ensemble Studio Competition and COC Music Director Johannes Debus (third from left), Centre Stage 2017, photo: Michael Cooper
    (foreground) Ensemble Studio Competition First Prize and Audience Choice Award winner mezzo-soprano Simona Genga with finalists of the Ensemble Studio Competition and COC Music Director Johannes Debus (third from left), Centre Stage 2017, photo: Michael Cooper
    COC Board of Directors Chair Justin Linden & party guests, Centre Stage 2017, photo: Ryan Emberley
    COC Board of Directors Chair Justin Linden & party guests, Centre Stage 2017, photo: Ryan Emberley
    Centre Stage Gala, photo: Ryan Emberley
    Centre Stage Gala, photo: Ryan Emberley
    Centre Stage Gala, photo: Ryan Emberley
    Centre Stage Gala, photo: Ryan Emberley
    Centre Stage 2017, photo: Ryan Emberley
    Centre Stage 2017, photo: Ryan Emberley
    Centre Stage 2017, photo: Gaetz Photography
    Centre Stage 2017, photo: Gaetz Photography
    Centre Stage 2017, photo: Gaetz Photography
    Centre Stage 2017, photo: Gaetz Photography
  • Platinum Supporter


    Competition Sponsor

    Hal Jackman Foundation


    Gold Sponsor

    Brookfield Asset Management


    Event Supporters

    Bespoke

    BT/A Advertising


    Chair-man Mills


    Cheese Boutique


    DMF Flowers

    Faulhaber Communications

    Nota Bene



    Turning Technologies Canada

    Wellington Printworks Inc.


Phone: 416-363-8231

Toll Free: 1-800-250-4653

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