• Minnie McCurdy, 1907—2011

    By Claudine Domingue

    [This is a guest post by Claudine Domingue, director of public relations]

    This week we were saddened to learn that COC subscriber Minnie McCurdy passed away recently after a short illness. Minnie was 104 years old. She was an accompanist for many aspiring opera singers during auditions for the newly formed Canadian Opera Company in its earliest days, attended the COC’s first performance, and continued her support of the opera from then on. Besides being one of the COC’s longest subscribers, we think that perhaps Minnie was also the COC’s oldest subscriber. Old in years, but retaining a youthful spirit. 

    Born in 1907 in Fredericton, N.B., Minnie began her love of piano at the age of seven. She graduated with a Licentiate of Music from Dalhousie University in 1927, and continued at Halifax Ladies College, where she studied with Harry Dean. Minnie sailed to Europe in 1934 to visit her fiancé, Dr. Gordon Alexander McCurdy (Nov. 15, 1907—Nov. 22, 1944) who was completing his postgraduate studies in Pathology at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary. They had planned on a visit only, but eloped the day after her arrival! 

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    Posted in COC History
  • Lighting up the Stage: The Wally Russell Internship

    By Wendy Greenwood

    [This is a guest post by Wendy Greenwood, lighting co-ordinator at the Canadian Opera Company. For more information on the Wally Russell Internship, click here]

    In my final year of university one of my professors offered me the opportunity to take an Independent Study with the Canadian Opera Company as an apprentice lighting design assistant. I was ecstatic. I had only discovered lighting design while in my first year, and I loved it. I loved light. The way it moved, the way it evoked or manipulated emotion, what it revealed—or hid . . .  I couldn’t believe the opportunity before me. That season the productions were Don Pasquale and Il Re Pastore at the Elgin Theatre in Toronto. It was also my first introduction to Rep (running more than one show at a time on the same stage). That opportunity turned out to be everything I could have hoped—I was working with a large opera company alongside two very different yet equally talented lighting designers. I learned so much over the course of that apprenticeship, consciously and unconsciously, lessons that helped shape who I became as a lighting designer and my career path as a lighting professional. The COC has experienced incredible growth since then—we produce seven mainstage productions a year in our own opera house—and there have been many mentors and influences in my life since that first apprenticeship, but the COC will always be there at the start of it all.

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    Posted in COC History
  • See Photos of COC Greats

    By Cecily Carver Posted in COC History

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