Digital Audio Series

Key Change
is the COC’s new podcast, co-hosted by classical singer and culture critic Robyn Grant-Moran, a member of the COC’s Circle of Artists, alongside stage director, dramaturg and COC Academy graduate Julie McIsaac. Our bi-weekly episodes explore the operagoing experience from a variety of perspectives, offering a fresh take on today's opera issues with special guests from the opera field and beyond.

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EPISODE 14: Opera & Space – Scale and Immersion

In an art form often viewed as traditional and static, Yuval Sharon and Debi Wong are known for their experimental and unorthodox takes on opera production. From site-specific works that audiences drive through, to a virtual reality “choose your own adventure” experience, Robyn and Julie explore what happens when we push the boundaries of opera’s physical spaces and ask “What would opera look like, if it were created or invented today?”



Yuval Sharon is founder and Artistic Director of The Industry in Los Angeles, specializing in new and experimental opera, and the newly appointed Gary L. Wasserman Artistic Director of Detroit’s Michigan Opera Theatre. From 2016-2019, Sharon was the first Artist-Collaborator at the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He is the recipient of the 2014 Götz Friedrich Prize in Germany for his production of John Adams’s Doctor Atomic. His production of Cunning Little Vixen, originally produced at the Cleveland Orchestra, was the first fully-staged opera ever presented in Vienna’s Musikverein in October 2017. In 2017, Sharon received a MacArthur Fellowship and a Foundation for Contemporary Art grant for theater.


Debi Wong is a multidisciplinary performer, creator and producer that lives and works on the unceded lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw, and səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ Nations. She is also the founding artistic director of re:Naissance Opera, a bold new company driven by local artists and a deep commitment to equity, intersectionality, innovation and collaboration. Highlights of the past year include: The Apocrypha Chronicles, a ground-breaking new podcast that reached #1 in Canada for Fiction; and OrpheusVR, an interactive Virtual Reality opera that was featured at the VIFF Immersed exhibit at the 2020 Vancouver International Film Festival. | 


More on Yuval Sharon’s Twilight: Gods - 

More on Yuval Sharon’s Sweet Land - 

More on Punchdrunk’s immersive work - 

More on Jacques Rancière’s The Emancipated Spectator - 

More on the concept of presenting La Bohème backwards - 

More on Anthony Davis’s opera “X” - 

Yuval’s thoughts on narrative -  

More on re:Naissance’s social media opera, #DidoAndAeneas -  

More on re:Naissance’s OrpheusVR - 

Listen to Apocrypha Chronicles, re:Naissance’s podcast opera -  

Find out more about Landon Krentz’s American Sign Language opera - 

The history behind the immersive show Toronto Circus Riot  


Key Change theme music: R. Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier. Herbert von Karajan, conductor, with the Philharmonia Orchestra; Warner Classics, 1956

Funeral March from Wagner’s Götterdämmerung. Daniel Barenboim, conductor, with Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele. Warner Classics, 1991.

“O soave fanciulla” from Puccini’s La Bohème. Aleksandra Kurzak, Roberto Alagna. Riccardo Frizza, conductor, with Sinfonia Varsovia. Sony Classical, 2018.

“When I am laid in earth” from Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. Véronique Gens. William Christie, conductor, with Les Arts Florissants. Erato, 2006.


Episode 1: Welcome to the Opera House
Special guests: Soprano Angel Blue, Canadian visual artist Shary Boyle, COC Music Director Johannes Debus, Soprano and Ensemble Studio artist Midori Marsh

Episode 2: Sounds Like Opera
Special guests: Musicologist Hannah Chan-Hartley and acoustician Bob Essert

Episode 3: Whose Story Is This?
Special guests: Theatre director Ravi Jain and multi-disciplinary artist Teiya Kasahara

Episode 4: Making Theatre Magic
Special guests: The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson and Canadian designer Michael Levine

Episode 5: Visions for the Future
Special guests: COC Composer-in-Residence Ian Cusson and best-selling author Cherie Dimaline

Episode 6: In Conversation with Perryn Leech and Alexander Neef
Special guests: COC General Director Perryn Leech and former General Director Alexander Neef

Episode 7: Opera & Activism – Part I
Special guest: Musicologist Rena Roussin

Episode 8: Opera & Activism – Part II
Special guest: Conductor Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser

Episode 9: In Conversation with Michael Greyeyes
Special guest: Actor/director/dancer/choreographer Michael Greyeyes

Episode 10: Opera & Criticism – Part I
Special guest: Music critic Anne Midgette

Episode 11: Ask Us Anything
Special guests: Rebecca Caine, Jonathan Christopher, Johannes Debus, Liz Upchurch, Perryn Leech, Teiya Kasahara

Bonus Episode: In Conversation with Rebecca Caine
Special guest: Soprano Rebecca Caine

Episode 12: Opera & Contemporary Art
Special guests: Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson and Adelina Vlas, Associate Curator of Contemporary Art at the Art Gallery of Ontario

Episode 13: Opera & the Body
Special guests: Kinetics Performance Consultant Jennifer Swan, Mezzo-soprano Krisztina Szabó



Robyn Grant-Moran (Métis) is a classical singer, writer, and a jack of many trades who, in 2018 met the requirements to call herself a Bachelor of the Fine Arts at York University. That same year, Robyn participated in the Performance Criticism Training Program with Generator Toronto where she learned that theatre criticism can be used to push for more inclusive spaces and champion voices less heard and often misunderstood; so of course she fell in love. Since then, she’s been published in Alt.Theatre and Intermission Magazine, won the Nathan Cohen Award for Outstanding Emerging Critic, and joined the Canadian Opera Company’s Circle of Artists, to name a few. Robyn currently resides in Tkaronto (Toronto), weathering the pandemic with her wee rat dog in a box in the sky.


Canadian stage director Julie McIsaac was named the COC’s first Director/Dramaturg-in-Residence in 2019 and is now Lead Curator of Opera Everywhere, the company's reimagined 20/21 season. A versatile opera and theatre artist, her projects work towards reshaping and revitalizing the stories told on stage. During her residency with the COC, she served as Assistant Director on Joel Ivany's production of Hansel and Gretel (COC) and she is the Dramaturg and Director of the upcoming COC commission Fantasma, composed by COC Composer-in-Residence Ian Cusson with libretto by Colleen Murphy. Julie earned her Master’s degree in Theatre from the University of York (UK) and is also a graduate of Carleton University (Music) and the Canadian College of Performing Arts (Theatre Performance and Playwriting).


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