• Midori Marsh: What it’s like to win a national vocal competition

    By Midori Marsh

    That’s me up there!

    I’m hoisting a bottle of champagne after winning the Centre Stage Ensemble Studio Competition in 2019, and I don’t exaggerate when I say this was one of the most life-changing moments in my career so far. It was totally surreal and I felt like I was going to faint that entire time, but it’s a memory that’s in my brain forever.

    Most important, being a finalist in the competition has opened up a world of opportunities for me as an artist. It allowed me to join the Ensemble Studio—the COC’s career development program for emerging opera artists.

    It’s a rare gift to be part of a program like this: to benefit from incredible mentorship and to grow as an artist through performance experience that only the COC could provide; to be a young singer and take risks, to perform on the stage of the Four Seasons Centre, one of the top opera houses in the world, with the extraordinary COC Orchestra; to work with so many amazing artists, conductors, and creative teams—it’s a transformation that I passionately want other young artists to experience as well as we all strengthen what opera can be.

    That’s why hundreds of young singer audition for the Ensemble Studio every year. For the past few weeks, the COC’s artistic and music teams have been holding auditions all over Canada, listening to young singers who are just like me, hopeful of a chance to showcase their talent on a highly visible, national platform.

    I encourage you to support these young artists by purchasing a Competition Experience ticket today ($150/ticket) and join us as the top voices from across Canada share their gift and, quite possibly, change the course of their lives.

    Your ticket gives you access to the thrilling final round of the national Ensemble Studio Competition. Not only that, you’ll also enjoy a selection of delicious canapés and refreshments specially curated by The Chase before the show. Afterwards, you’ll have an opportunity to mingle with other music lovers and the country’s emerging opera talent at a toast fêting the winners and finalists of Centre Stage.

    Thank you for supporting Centre Stage this year and making a significant contribution to growing and strengthening Canada’s opera future. I know that your generous participation in the event is going to have a tremendous, life-changing impact on the young voices you’ll hear next month.

    After I won the competition—after all the photo shoots and award ceremonies wrapped up—the first person I saw was my dad. He’s my biggest fan. When we found each other in the crowd, it was so special for me because I knew we were the two most excited people in the opera house. And I knew then that the award was about so much more than cash prizes. I had the feeling that this full house of music lovers—an entire of community that made that moment possible—paved the road for me with incredible potential for the future.

    And I’m living that potential today.

    Thank you for your investment in Canadian opera. I hope to see you at Centre Stage next month for the next chapter of this one-of-a-kind event.

    With gratitude,

    Midori Marsh

    P.S. Did you know the COC has special Under 30 pricing for Centre Stage, available to patrons who are 29 or younger? It’s a perk I especially appreciate as a young artist and take every opportunity to spread the word far and wide to my friends and family. Learn more here. All proceeds go to support the Ensemble Studio, Canada’s premier training program for emerging opera professionals.

    Join us for Centre Stage: Ensemble Studio Competition on Thursday, November 3!

    Support young artists with a ticket purchase today.


    Photo Credits (top to bottom): Ensemble Studio Competition First Prize and Audience Choice Award winner soprano Midori Marsh with host Ben Heppner and former COC General Director Alexander Neef (2019); Midori Marsh as Papagena and Gordon Bintner as Papageno in The Magic Flute (COC, 2022), photos: Michael Cooper
    Posted in 22/23 Season


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