LSM Newswire

Monday, January 28, 2013

Musicians in Ordinary Presents Italian Renaissance Concert


(The best musicians would observe) “the man infuriated or excited, the married woman, the clever harlot, the lover speaking to his mistress as he seeks to persuade her to grant his wishes, the man who laments…” – Vincenzo Galilei, composer; father of Galileo Galilei

Petrarch ID'd - e-mail smallCharacters from the Italian Renaissance spring vividly to life when The Musicians In Ordinary perform Italian Baroque music, Saturday, March 2, 8 p.m. at the Heliconian Hall, 35 Hazelton Avenue (Bay subway).  

Soprano Hallie Fishel and theorboist John Edwards unite their talents in a concert titled You Who Hear in These Scattered Rhymes.  Tickets, $25, $20 for students and seniors, are available at the door.  More information may be obtained from, by e-mailing or by calling 416-535-9956.

The concert features Baroque settings of the great Italian poets Petrarch, Tasso, Marino and Guarini, composed by Claudio Monteverdi, the father of modern opera; and by Giulio Caccini, Sigismondo d’India, Vincenzo Galilei and other great songwriters from the Italian Baroque.

John Edwards states, “Vincenzo Galilei was as clever with music as his son was with a telescope. He said, ‘the most important part of music is the imitation of the concepts of the words’ and that the best musicians would observe ‘the man infuriated or excited, the married woman, the clever harlot, the lover speaking to his mistress as he seeks to persuade her to grant his wishes, the man who laments...’”


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

COC Announces 2013-14 Season


   Toronto – The Canadian Opera Company unveiled its 2013/2014 season today at a press conference at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.  The company’s 64th season stars the world’s best singers, conductors, directors and designers in a performance year with seven operas, including three COC premieres and three new COC productions.  The COC presents Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème with a new production featuring some of Canada’s brightest stars; COC Music Director Johannes Debus makes his Benjamin Britten debut when he conducts Peter Grimes with a production starring acclaimed Canadian tenor Ben Heppner in the iconic title role; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Così fan tutte with a new COC production by renowned film and theatre director Atom Egoyan with Debus conducting; Giuseppe Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera starring great Canadian diva Adrianne Pieczonka in a role debut; George Frideric Handel’s Hercules with a COC premiere and new COC production by world-renowned director Peter Sellars with a star-studded cast; Gaetano Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux with a COC premiere starring soprano Sondra Radvanovsky in a role debut; and Jules Massenet’s Don Quichotte with a COC premiere featuring Debus in another conducting debut and the world’s pre-eminent bass Ferruccio Furlanetto in the title role.

   The 13/14 season ranks among the most exciting yet for the COC with more Canadian and international stars on the mainstage than ever before.  Making their COC debuts in the upcoming season are singersPhillip Addis, Sir Thomas Allen, Paul ApplebyLayla ClaireLucy CroweGrazia DoronzioJoyce El-Khoury,Giuseppe FilianotiFerruccio Furlanetto, Ekaterina Gubanova, Teodor IlincăiEric Owens andRoland Wood; conductors Carlo Rizzi and Corrado Rovaris; and directors Linda BrovskySergio Morabito and Jossi Wieler.  Returning artists include singers Russell BraunAlice CooteRichard Croft,Tracy DahlDavid DanielsAlan HeldBen HeppnerQuinn KelseyDavid LomelíAllyson McHardy,Marie-Nicole LemieuxAdrianne PieczonkaDimitri Pittas and Sondra Radvanovsky; conductorsHarry Bicket and Stephen Lord; and directors Neil ArmfieldJohn CairdAtom EgoyanStephen Lawless and Peter Sellars.  All performances take place in the company’s home, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, and feature the renowned COC Orchestra and Chorus.

   “More than ever, you can see how the COC has become a destination for artists of exceptional talent and renown.  The artists we invite to work with us, and the opera companies that choose to collaborate on productions with us, are among the best in the world,” says Canadian Opera Company General Director Alexander Neef.  “Looking beyond the extraordinary calibre of the artists coming to the COC next year, audiences can expect a season that invites them to engage with opera in a way that’s only possible by being part of a live theatrical experience. In the end, it is the electric exchange between artists and the audience that makes the art come alive.”

   The COC’s 13/14 season opens with one of opera’s favourite and most poignant love stories, Puccini’s La Bohème.  This masterpiece of youthful flirtation, passionate love and heartbreaking tragedy was last performed by the COC in 2009 and returns in a new company production directed by Canadian-born Tony Award-winning director John Caird (Don Carlos, 2007).  One of the leading conductors of his generation, Italian Carlo Rizzi, leads the COC Orchestra and Chorus.  The sets and costumes that capture the romance of France’s Belle Époque are created by Olivier Award-winning and Tony Award-nominated designer David Farley.  Making their COC debuts in the role of the fragile seamstress Mimì are two recent graduates of the Metropolitan Opera’s prestigious Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, already acclaimed for their renditions of this starring role: Italian soprano Grazia Doronzio and Canadian sopranoJoyce El-Khoury (Oct. 9, 19, 27, 30).  The role of the poet Rodolfo, Mimì’s lover, is sung by two rising young tenors, Mexican David Lomelí (Rigoletto, 2011) and Romanian Teodor Ilincăi (Oct. 9, 19, 27, 30).  Also appearing as the flirtatious singer Musetta, El-Khoury shares the role with COC Ensemble Studio graduate soprano Simone Osborne (Gianni Schicchi, 2012; Rigoletto, 2011; The Magic Flute, 2011) (Oct. 9, 19, 27, 30).  In the role of the painter Marcello, Musetta’s lover, are two standout Canadian baritones: Joshua Hopkins (Carmen, 2005) and, in a company debut, Phillip Addis (Oct. 9, 19, 27, 30).  The role of the philosopher Colline is shared by two celebrated bass-baritones: American Christian Van Horn (Tosca, 2012) and Canadian Tom Corbeil (Death in Venice, 2010) (Oct. 9, 19, 27, 30).  Addis also takes on the role of the musician Schaunard.  This production of La Bohème is a COC co-production with Houston Grand Opera and San Francisco Opera.  La Bohème is sung in Italian with English SURTITLES™ and runs for 12 performances at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts on October 3, 6, 9, 12, 16, 18, 19, 22, 25, 27, 29, 30, 2013.

   In the centenary of Benjamin Britten’s birth, the COC presents Peter Grimes, his gripping opera about an alienated fisherman and the seaside village he struggles to inhabit.  Acclaimed Canadian tenor Ben Heppner (Tristan in Tristan und Isolde, 2013) returns to the COC in the title role.  COC Music DirectorJohannes Debus makes his Britten debut when he leads the COC Orchestra and Chorus through Peter Grimes’ evocative score, last heard at the COC in 2003.  Award-winning Australian director Neil Armfield(Ariadne auf Naxos, 2011; A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 2009; Billy Budd, 2001) directs this co-production from Opera Australia and Houston Grand Opera.  Singing the role of Grimes’ unwavering advocate, Ellen Orford, is recent COC Ensemble Studio graduate soprano Ileana Montalbetti.  Captain Balstrode, one of Grimes’ few friends, is sung by one of the leading singing actors today, Alan Held (Kurwenal Tristan und Isolde, 2013; A Florentine Tragedy/Gianni Schicchi, 2012).  COC Ensemble Studio alumni, tenor Roger Honeywell and baritone Peter Barrett, portray the vengeful Bob Boles and Grimes’ friend, Ned Keene, respectively.  Canadian bass-baritone Tom Corbeil (who also appears in 2013’s La Bohème) is the lawyer Swallow, and critically acclaimed American mezzo-soprano Jill Grove (Aida, 2010) is Auntie.  Peter Grimes is sung in English with English SURTITLES™ and runs for seven performances at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts on October 5, 8, 11, 17, 20, 23, 26, 2013.

   Renowned Canadian film and stage director Atom Egoyan (directing Salome, 2013) returns to the COC with a new production of Mozart’s sublime musical depiction of the frailties of the human condition, Così fan tutte.  Egoyan’s concept takes its inspiration from the opera’s subtitle, The School for Lovers.  He approaches the production as one where love is examined, dissected and manipulated, exploring the themes of love, temptation and deceit in this wry comedy about two couples gambling with one another’s faith and desire.  Award-winning set and costume designer Debra Hanson makes her opera debut with Così fan tutte and, with Egoyan, creates a production that stylistically progresses through time from the 18th-century to present day.  Led by COC Music Director Johannes Debus with the COC Orchestra and Chorus, this new production features a cast of up-and-coming opera talent in the roles of the young lovers, alongside distinguished veterans.  Cast as the sisters are two Canadians: soprano Layla Claire in her COC debut as Fiordiligi and Ensemble Studio graduate mezzo-soprano Wallis Giunta (Annio in La clemenza di Tito, 2013) as Dorabella.  Singing the roles of the sisters’ two suitors are American tenor Paul Appleby in his COC debut as Ferrando and COC Ensemble graduate bass-baritone Robert Gleadow (Steersman in Tristan und Isolde, 2013; Publio in La clemenza di Tito, 2013) as Guglielmo.  World-renowned Canadian soprano Tracy Dahl makes a highly anticipated return to the COC stage after a 19-year-long absence, in the role of the conniving Despina.  Sir Thomas Allen, one of the finest lyric baritones on the world stage, makes his COC debut as the wily Don Alfonso.  COC resident conductor Derek Bate leads the COC Orchestra and Chorus for one performance.  Così fan tutte was last performed on the COC mainstage in 2006 and is sung in Italian with English SURTITLES™.  The production runs for 10 performances at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts on January 18, 24, 29, February 1, 6, 7*, 9, 15, 18, 21, 2014.

   The young singers of the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio perform Mozart’s Così fan tutteon February 7, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. on the mainstage.  This special performance stars the Ensemble members with the full COC Orchestra and Chorus under the direction of Così fan tutte’s conductorJohannes Debus and director Atom Egoyan. For casting, please visit the COC website at Tickets are accessibly priced at $25 and $55 per person.

In contrast with Mozart’s tale of young, uncertain love, the COC’s 13/14 winter season continues with Verdi’s more mature and bittersweet story of forbidden passion, Un ballo in maschera.  Requiring singers who can mine vast reserves of musical power and sensitivity, the COC has cast one of the world’s best dramatic sopranos, Canadian Adrianne Pieczonka (Tosca, 2012; Ariadne auf Naxos, 2011), and tenor Dimitri Pittas(Rigoletto, 2011) as the opera’s two lovers embroiled in political intrigue beyond their control.  Pieczonka andPittas make their role debuts as Amelia and Riccardo.  British baritone Roland Wood is Renato, Amelia’s husband, acclaimed Canadian mezzo-soprano Marie-Nicole Lemieux (RodelindaTancredi, 2005) is the fortune-teller Ulrica, and rising soprano star Ensemble Studio graduate Simone Osborne is Oscar, the page.  Not unlike the opera’s plot itself, political machinations have played a huge role in Un ballo in maschera’s history.  Originally forced to change the opera’s setting to Boston from Sweden to quell censors’ fears of real-life assassination plots, Verdi and his opera are proof that his theme of “love in a dangerous time” is both a universal truth and historically fluid.  In this same spirit, acclaimed directing duo Jossi Wielerand Sergio Morabito have revealed a layer of political and historical relevance to the plot by placing this Berlin Staatsoper production in the American South of the 1960s, with its undertones of Kennedy-era tensions, assassinations and power plays.  Stephen Lord (conducting Lucia di Lammermoor, 2013), one of America’s most distinguished conductors of opera today, returns to lead the COC Orchestra and Chorus. Un ballo in maschera was last performed at the COC in 2003.  Sung in Italian with English SURTITLES™,Un ballo in maschera returns to the COC for eight performances at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts on February 2, 5, 8, 11, 14, 16, 20, 22, 2014.

The opera company’s 13/14 spring season offers a trio of COC premieres: Handel’s Hercules, Donizetti’sRoberto Devereux and Massenet’s Don Quichotte.

Internationally renowned director Peter Sellars (directing Tristan und Isolde, 2013) returns to the opera company with a new production of Handel’s Hercules.  Sellars propels the incendiary Greek myth of Hercules into the modern day, giving voice to the untold horrors of war and the unspoken complications faced by veterans returning home.  With his frequent collaborators, set designer George Tsypin, costume designer Dunya Ramicova and lighting designer James F. IngallsSellars has created a minimalist production that evokes ancient Greece while still locating the action clearly in the present.  This co-production with Lyric Opera of Chicago earned unequivocal praise when it opened in Chicago in 2011. “An opera performance this great is plenty rare. But opera capable of inspiring moral action is for the ages,” said theLos Angeles Times while the Chicago Sun-Times described it as a production that “will follow you home and keep you thinking as well.”  The same star-studded cast from Chicago take to the COC mainstage: American bass-baritone Eric Owens makes his COC debut as Hercules; British mezzo-soprano Alice Coote(Ariadne auf Naxos, 2011) is Hercules’s wife Dejanira; American countertenor David Daniels (Xerxes, 1999) returns to the COC as Hercules’s trusted aide, Lichas; American tenor Richard Croft (Così fan tutte, 1991) returns as Hercules’s son, Hyllus; and British soprano Lucy Crowe makes her COC debut as Iole, the princess whose father died at Hercules’s hand.  Conducting Handel’s glorious music is internationally renowned Baroque specialist and COC favourite Harry Bicket (Orfeo ed Euridice, 2011; Idomeneo, 2009;Rodelinda, 2005).  Hercules is sung in English with English SURTITLES™ and runs for seven performances at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts on April 5, 11, 15, 19, 24, 27, 30, 2014.

American soprano Sondra Radvanovsky (Aida, 2010), the world’s leading interpreter of the great 19th-century Italian prima donna roles, returns to the COC to take on a new challenge with her role debut as the central character Elisabetta in Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux.  Making his COC and role debut as Roberto Devereux, whose life hangs in the balance for having betrayed his Queen’s affections by falling in love with the wife of one her courtiers, is celebrated lyric tenor, Italian Guiseppe Filianoti.  Also making role debuts are internationally acclaimed and COC favourite, Canadian baritone Russell Braun (Il Trovatore, 2012; Love from Afar, 2012; Iphigenia in Tauris, 2011) as the Duke of Nottingham and acclaimed Ensemble Studio graduate mezzo-soprano Allyson McHardy (Semele, 2012; Madama Butterfly, 2009) as Sara, the Duchess of Nottingham.  Donizetti’s show stopping melodies and sumptuous period costumes bring the intrigue of the Elizabethan court to life within a Shakespearean Globe Theatre-inspired setting in this Dallas Opera production by acclaimed British director Stephen Lawless, who also staged the COC’s hugely popularMaria Stuarda in 2010.  Acclaimed Italian conductor Corrado Rovaris makes his COC debut leading the COC Orchestra and Chorus.  Roberto Devereux is sung in Italian with English SURTITLES™ and runs for seven performances at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts on April 25, 29, May 3, 10, 15, 18, 21, 2014.

Italian Ferruccio Furlanetto, the world’s pre-eminent bass, makes his COC debut in the title role of Massenet’s intensely moving Don Quichotte, which closes the COC’s 13/14 season.  Massenet’s autumnal outpouring of lush melody, based on Cervantes’ iconic novel about the idealistic dreamer, Don Quixote, also stars Metropolitan Opera star, Russian mezzo-soprano Ekaterina Gubanova, in her COC debut as Dulcinée.  American baritone Quinn Kelsey, acclaimed for his COC performances as Rigoletto in 2011, returns to makes his role debut as Sancho Panza.  American director Linda Brovsky makes her COC debut with this enchanting production where characters spring out of giant leather-bound storybooks and windmills are fashioned from oversized quills.  COC Music Director Johannes Debus conducts his first Don Quichotte when he leads the COC Orchestra and Chorus through a score that represents Massenet’s tribute to the last days of chivalry, but also his own poignant farewell to a soon-to-be-lost golden age of French Romanticism.  Don Quichotte is sung in French with English SURTITLES™ and runs for seven performances at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts on May 9, 11, 14, 17, 20, 22, 24, 2014.

All repertoire, dates, pricing, productions, and casting are subject to change without notice. For more complete casting and creative team information, please see the production pages at

The Canadian Opera Company webcast the announcement of its 13/14 season live on on Jan. 23, 2013, at 10 a.m. from the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre in the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. The webcast is available for streaming.

For more information on the Canadian Opera Company’s 13/14 season, please visit


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

14 Year old Canadian Wins First Prixe at Bosendorfer Competition

Toronto’s Tony Yang Awarded Gold Medal, Cash Prize

Fourteen-year-old pianist and Toronto native Tony Yike Yang, a scholarship student of The Royal Conservatory’s Young Artists Academy, placed first in the prestigious 6th Bösendorfer and Yamaha USASU International Piano Competitionheld January 6-13 in Tempe, Arizona.

“Tony Yike Yang is an exceptional young artist, and it is exciting to see him recognized on such a significant world stage as the Bosendorfer International Piano Competition,” says Barry Shiffman, Director of the Young Artists Academy. “The Young Artists Academy at The Royal Conservatory is committed to training the best of Canada's next generation of classical performers. Seeing the success of our young musicians as they develop into artists is profoundly moving. We congratulate Tony on this milestone in his development and look forward to his continued growth and success.”

Tony placed first in The Yamaha USASU Young Artists International Junior Piano Competition, ages 13–15. In his final round, he performed Beethoven’s Sonata in F Major, Op. 10, No. 2, and Prokofiev’s Sonata No. 3 in A Minor, Op. 28. He was honoured with the Addona-Burns Award, a Gold Medal and a cash prize of $3,000. Tony studies with James Anagnoson, Dean of The Glenn Gould School at The Royal Conservatory.

Nearly 200 pianists from 31 countries applied to compete, with a total of 42 moving to the semi-final and final rounds. Prizes available included cash awards, engagements with the Phoenix Symphony, and performance opportunities across the world. Jury members for the 2013 competition were Martha Argerich of Argentina, Sergei Babyan and Robert Hamilton of the United States, Yanina Kudlik of Russia/Israel, Choong-Mo Kang of South Korea, and Baruch Meir, Chairman of The Bosendorfer International Piano Competition.

Past Royal Conservatory alumni honoured by The Bösendorfer and Yamaha USASU International Piano Competition include: West Vancouver’s Tristan Teo, 2011 First Prize-winner, and Nanaimo’s Devon Joiner, 2008 Third Prize-winner.

The Royal Conservatory is one of the largest and most respected music and arts education institutions in the world. Providing the definitive standard of excellence in music education through its curriculum, assessment, performance, and teacher education programs, The Conservatory has had a substantial impact on the lives of millions of people globally. In addition, the organization has helped to train a number of internationally celebrated artists including Glenn Gould, Oscar Peterson, David Foster, Sarah McLachlan, Angela Hewitt, and Diana Krall. Motivated by its powerful mission to develop human potential through music and the arts, The Royal Conservatory has emerged over the last two decades as a leader in the development of arts-based programs that address a wide range of social issues. For more information, please visit

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Toronto Consort Presents Cavalli's Apollo and Daphne

The Toronto Consort presents the Canadian premiere of 
Francesco Cavalli’s 1640 Italian opera  

The Loves of Apollo & Daphne 
February 15 & 16, 2013
Toronto, January 17, 2013 … The Toronto Consort is thrilled to present the Canadian premiere of The Loves of Apollo & Daphnean opera (performed in-concert) by the 17th-century Italian composer Francesco Cavalli, at 8:00 PM on February 15 and 16 at Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre. The renowned English tenor and frequent Consort guest Charles Daniels returns to sing the role of Apollo, and the Consort’s own Katherine Hill and Michele DeBoer, sopranos, andLaura Pudwell, mezzo-soprano, will sing the roles of Daphne, Aurora and Venus, respectively. For tickets, call the box office at (416) 964-6337 or visit
Francesco Cavalli is the brilliant Italian composer whose operatic masterpieces were the 17th-century equivalents of Rossini and Verdi. His second opera, The Loves of Apollo & Daphne, is an ironic and erotic tale about Apollo’s unrequited love for the nymph Daphne. Premiered in Venice in 1640, the opera would have featured a rich palette of instruments including strings, recorders, theorbo, baroque harp, organ, harpsichord and viola da gamba. 
With only a facsimile of the original hand-written score held in Venice’s Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana to work from, the Consort’s Artistic Director David Fallis and Tafelmusik’s Charlotte Nediger have taken on the arduous task of creating a proper performance edition of the score. Thanks to their efforts, Toronto Consort audiences will be among the first in Canada to hear a live performance of this operatic gem from the 17th-century. 

One of Canada’s leading interpreters of operatic and choral/orchestral repertoire, especially from the Baroque and Classical periods, Fallis is no stranger to the task of dusting off and reviving old scores. Since his appointment as Artistic Director in 1990, Fallis has introduced Toronto music lovers to the operas of Monteverdi, Rossi and Cavalli. In his role as Music Director for Opera Atelier, Fallis has conducted many performances of operas by Mozart, Handel, Monteverdi, Rameau, and Gluck, and has helped bring that company onto stages around the world —  to South Korea and Japan, as well as Glimmerglass and the Royal Opera at Versailles.
The Loves of
Apollo & Daphne
by Francesco Cavalli 
8:00 pm, February 15 & 16, 2013
Trinity St. Paul's Centre,
427 Bloor St. W. (west of Spadina)

$25 to $59 Regular 
$20 to $52 for 65+
Club Consort tickets: $10 for 30 & under with valid photo ID.
Box Office: (416) 964-6337
Online tickets and information:
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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

COC Announces 2013-14 new Ensemble Studio Members


Toronto – The Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio, Canada’s premier training program for young opera professionals, welcomes six outstanding new Canadian artists for the 2013/2014 season.  Bass-baritone Gordon Bintner, mezzo-soprano Charlotte Burrage, soprano Aviva Fortunata, baritone Clarence Frazer, tenor Andrew Haji and mezzo-soprano Danielle MacMillan were among the 10 finalists who competed for the highly coveted Ensemble Studio positions at the Second Annual Ensemble Studio Competition in November 2012.  BintnerHaji and Burrage were top prize winners at the 2012 competition with Bintner securing the first-place and audience-choice awards, Haji receiving second-place honours and Burrage taking the third-place award. 

The six singers join the Ensemble Studio in August 2013 and become part of an illustrious program that, since its inception in 1980, has launched the careers of over 150 Canadian singers, opera coaches, stage directors and conductors, including Ben Heppner, Isabel Bayrakdarian, John Fanning, Wendy Nielsen, David Pomeroy, Joseph Kaiser, Lauren Segal, Krisztina Szabó and Allyson McHardy.

These new members of the Ensemble Studio join four returning artists for the 13/14 season: soprano Sasha Djihanian, sopranoClaire de Sévigné, tenor Owen McCausland and baritone Cameron McPhail.  

Members of the Ensemble Studio receive a blend of advanced study and practical experience through an individually tailored, multi-year program, involving understudying and performing mainstage roles, intensive vocal coaching, language and acting studies, and career skills development, as well as participation in masterclasses with internationally renowned opera professionals.  In addition, they appear in principal roles in a special Ensemble Studio performance of a COC mainstage production, give several concert performances through the COC’s Free Concert Series and perform in the COC’s annual Xstrata Ensemble Studio School Tour, which introduces young audiences throughout Ontario to the world of opera and the performing arts.

All 10 of the new and returning artists of the Ensemble Studio open the 13/14 season of the Free Concert Series in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre with Meet the Young Artists in September 2013.  The series runs from September 2013 to June 2014 and features the members of the Ensemble Studio in several recitals of diverse repertoire over the course of the season.  Watch for complete details of the 13/14 Free Concert Series season to be announced later this year.


A native of Regina, Gordon Bintner is currently pursuing a master of music degree in opera and voice at McGill University’s Schulich School of Music.  Credits include the title roles in Le nozze di Figaro with Opera NUOVA and Don Giovanni with Opera McGill; his European debut as Colline in La Bohème with Angers Nantes Opéra; and, after winning the grand prize in the OSM Standard Life Competition, his debut with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. This season Bintner’s appearances include Nardo in Mozart’s La finta giardiniera with San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera Program and Lescaut in Massenet’s Manon with Opéra de Montréal.

Originally from Woodstock, Ontario, Charlotte Burrage holds a master of music in voice performance from the University of Toronto and is a graduate of the opera diploma program at University of British Columbia (UBC). Credits include Hansel in Hansel and Gretel(Vancouver Opera in Schools); Dorabella in Così fan tutte (Banff Centre’s Opera as Theatre, Jeunesses Musicales); and, La Zia Principessa in Suor Angelica and the title role in Massenet’s Cendrillon (UBC).  Burrage performed with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Arnie Roth and was the alto soloist in the Bach Magnificat, BWV 243 (UBC).

Calgary native Aviva Fortunata holds an advanced certificate in opera performance from the University of Toronto. This past summer with the Merola Opera Program in San Francisco she sang the role of the Lady with a Cake Box in Dominick Argento’sPostcard from Morocco.  Other credits include Donna Anna in Don Giovanni (Concert Opera Group, Centre for Opera Studies in Italy, University of Toronto), Poulenc’s Gloria (Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra) as well as singing at Jack Layton’s state funeral.  Fortunata was the 2012 Norcop Prize in Song Recital winner and was awarded a judges’ commendation in the Mildred Miller International Voice Competition (Opera Theater of Pittsburgh).

Mississauga, Ontario native Clarence Frazer completed his musical studies at the University of Western Ontario.  As a current member of Calgary Opera’s Emerging Artist Program, he performed the role of Re di Scozia in Ariodante and this season performs Count Gil in Il segreto di Susanna and Ramiro in L’heure espagnole.  Other roles include Pinellino in Gianni Schicchi, Daggoo inMoby-Dick, Alcindoro in La Bohème (Calgary Opera) and Sid in Albert Herring (Opera NUOVA).  Upcoming roles include Dottore Grenvil in La Traviata and Ford in Falstaff (Calgary Opera).  Frazer won the inaugural Lois Marshall Voice Competition and was a finalist in Palm Beach Opera’s International Voice Competition.

Originally from London, Ontario, Andrew Haji is currently pursuing a master of music degree at the University of Toronto’s Opera School.  At UofT his credits include Cecco in Haydn’s Il mondo della luna, Vanderdendur/Ragotski in Bernstein’s Candide, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, Lacouf/Reporter from Paris in Poulenc’s Les mamelles de Tirésias and most recently the title role in Rob Ford: The Opera as well as Ferrando in Così fan tutte.  Other roles include Nemorino in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore and Don Ottavio (Centre for Opera Studies in Italy) and Tamino in Die Zauberflöte (Accademia Europea dell’Opera).  Haji’s upcoming performances include an appearance with the Aldeburgh Connection, singing the role of Lionel in von Flotow’s Martha at UofT and joining the Music Academy of the West this summer to sing the role of Tamino in Mozart’s The Magic Flute.

Born in Toronto, Danielle MacMillan holds a bachelor of fine arts, with honours, in classical vocal performance from York University, with additional training at the International Vocal Arts Institute in Montreal, Istituzione Teatro Lirico Sperimentale di Spoleto in Italy and The Glenn Gould School (GGS) of The Royal Conservatory of Music. Roles include Rose in Lakmé (Opera by Request); Diana in Cavalli’s La Calisto, Véronique in Bizet’s Le docteur Miracle and the Cabaret Singer in Weil’s Mahagonny-Songspiel (GGS); and, Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro (York University).

COC General Director Alexander Neef extends the company’s congratulations to soprano Mireille Asselin, soprano Ambur Braid, mezzo-soprano Rihab Chaieb, pianist Timothy Cheung, bass-baritone Neil Craighead, pianist Jenna Douglas and tenorChristopher Enns, who graduate from the Ensemble Studio program at the end of the 2012/2013 season.  Before leaving the program, these young artists can be heard in several performances in the remainder of the 12/13 season.

On the COC mainstage this February, Mireille Asselin sings Servilia in Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito, in a production described as “modern music theater you mustn’t miss” (Chicago Tribune) and featuring some of opera’s most sublime music on February 3, 7, 9, 11, 13, 16, 19 and 22, 2013.  In the special Ensemble Studio performance of La clemenza di Tito, taking place February 6, 2013, audiences can see Ambur Braid as Vitellia, Rihab Chaieb as Sesto and Christopher Enns as the Emperor Tito.

Rihab Chaieb appears in the COC’s Robert Carsen-directed production of Dialogues des Carmélites this spring.  Chaieb is Soeur Mathilde in Francis Poulenc’s shattering masterpiece about an order of Carmelite nuns caught up in the turmoil and terror of the French Revolution, conducted by COC Music Director Johannes Debus on May 8, 11, 14, 17, 19, 21, 23 and 25, 2013

On May 23, 2013 at 12 p.m. as part of the COC’s Free Concert Series in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, join all seven graduating artists in a special farewell concert, Les Adieux.  The singers and pianists will perform a program of music featuring their favourite art songs and arias.

During the winter season, 12/13 Ensemble Studio members understudy and rehearse with the mainstage cast of Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito under the director of conductor Daniel Cohen and director Christopher Alden.  On 
February 6, 2013, the young artists sing the lead roles in their own mainstage performance of La clemenza di Tito with the COC Orchestra and Chorus at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.  Tickets are accessibly priced at $25 and $55.

Ensemble Studio members also perform in four more recitals during the 12/13 Free Concert Series season in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.

  • On February 14, 2013 at 12 p.m.Vive l’amour!, a musical celebration of love featuring some of opera’s most romantic arias and ensembles.

  • On February 21, 2013 at 12 p.m.Of Love and Longing: Songs of Richard Strauss, a program of arias and art songs by composer Richard Strauss.

  • On May 2, 2013 at 12 p.m.Sérénade Française, a program of French arias and art songs.

  • On May 13, 2013, from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.: Artists of the Ensemble Studio compete in the Christina and Louis Quilico Awards. 

About the COC Ensemble Studio
The COC Ensemble Studio, underwritten in part by Peter M. Deeb and The Slaight Family Foundation, is Canada’s premier training program for young opera professionals and provides advanced instruction, hands-on experience, and career development opportunities.  The Ensemble Studio is also supported by the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage, RBC Foundation and other generous donors.

About the Canadian Opera Company
Based in Toronto, the Canadian Opera Company is the largest producer of opera in Canada and one of the largest in North America.  The COC enjoys a loyal audience support-base and one of the highest attendance and subscription rates in North America.  Under its leadership team of General Director Alexander Neef and Music Director Johannes Debus, the COC is increasingly capturing the opera world’s attention.  The COC maintains its international reputation for artistic excellence and innovation by creating new productions within its diverse repertoire, collaborating with leading opera companies and festivals, and attracting the world’s foremost Canadian and international artists.  The COC performs in its own opera house, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, hailed internationally as one of the finest in the world.  Designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects, the Four Seasons Centre opened in 2006, and is also the performance venue for The National Ballet of Canada.  For more information on the COC, visit its award-winning website,

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