On Nov. 11, 2013, the Canadian Opera Company (COC) announced that the final nine competitors of its National Audition Tour have been selected to compete in the 3rd annual COC Ensemble Studio Competition on Nov. 26, 2013, taking place in the R. Fraser Elliott Hall at 6:30pm at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto.
The prestigious Ensemble Studio Competition serves two purposes: to act as the main event for the COC’s 1st annual fundraising gala entitled Centre Stage, and to showcase the opera stars of tomorrow. Although this is only the third year that the competition has been in place, the COC Ensemble Studio has been an opera mainstay since 1980 and has given over 180 young professional Canadian singers, opera coaches, stage directors and conductors their first taste of major professional operatic experience. The Ensemble Studio has produced some of the finest names in modern opera, such as Ben Heppner, Isabel Bayrakdarian, John Fanning, Wendy Nielsen, Joseph Kaiser, David Pomeroy, Lauren Segal and Krisztina Szabó, as well as 2012 COC Ensemble Studio graduate Simone Osborne who was recently featured in an interview with Examiner.
The Ensemble Studio Competition is the brainchild of COC General Director Alexander Neef, having created it in 2011 as a way of finding and training young opera professionals across Canada. Eligible contestants must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents, and sing in preliminary auditions in Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto and New York, with the finalists travelling to the COC’s Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Opera Centre in Toronto. From here, finalists are chosen to take part in the COC Ensemble Studio Competition, vying for prizes like cash, roles and, perhaps most invaluably, a stepping stone to an international operatic career.
Tickets for the Ensemble Studio Competition at Centre Stage are $100, with all attendees having the choice to enjoy a pre-competition cocktail celebration in the Four Season Centre’s Isadore and Rosalie Sharp City Room. Patrons who wish to soak up the full experience can purchase Centre Stage Gala tickets for $1,500, which includes the vocal competition and an exclusive black-tie dinner prepared by Nota Bene Executive Chef David Lee, and will have the opportunity to meet and mingle with competition finalists and winners, COC artists, and Centre Stage co-chairs Trinity Jackman and Jonathan Bloomberg.
All information about the COC Ensemble Studio Competition and the Centre Stage Gala can be found on the COC’s website.