• National Finalists Chosen for Centre Stage: Ensemble Studio Competition

    By COC Staff

    Seven of Canada’s most promising new opera singers have been selected to compete in the Canadian Opera Company’s Centre Stage: Ensemble Studio Competition on October 26, 2023 at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. The annual fundraiser and vocal competition showcases the very best in emerging opera talent, with all proceeds supporting the COC’s prestigious artistic career development program, the Ensemble Studio.

    125 candidates applied to join the Ensemble Studio next season, with judges traveling all over Canada to hear nearly 90 young artists in-person, with stops in Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal, and Toronto. This year’s finalists are:

    • Jamal Al Titi, baritone – Minsk, Belarus
    • Matthew Bermudez, tenor – London, ON
    • Matthew Li, bass – Ottawa, ON
    • Emily Rocha, soprano – Courtice, ON
    • Duncan Stenhouse, bass – Calgary, AB
    • Elisabeth St-Gelais, soprano – Chicoutimi, QC
    • Gabrielle Turgeon, soprano – Sault Ste. Marie, ON

    “The Ensemble Studio’s national reputation as the premier destination for young opera singers to launch major international careers continues to steadily grow,” says Dorian Cox, Director of the Ensemble Studio. “This year we saw a significant increase in the number of applicants and heard an extraordinary level of artistry, expressiveness, and virtuosity across the country. These seven finalists represent the highest level of excellence and I am looking forward to celebrating them at Centre Stage!”

    This season, organizers have rolled out the red carpet, with a theme of “Lights. Camera. Opera!” Television’s Sangita Patel hosts the fast-paced and fun-filled night featuring some of opera’s most popular selections. On October 26, finalists will sing one last aria, accompanied by the acclaimed COC Orchestra, for a shot at cash prizes and the chance to be invited to join the COC Ensemble Studio. Audience members can also join in the action with a live-vote to decide the night’s Audience Choice Award winner.

    Following each singer’s performance, they will be evaluated and receive live feedback from this year’s judging panel:

    • Perryn Leech, COC General Director
    • Roberto Mauro, COC Director of Artistic Planning
    • Adrianne Pieczonka, internationally-celebrated soprano
    • Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser, Canadian conductor and music educator
    • Thom Allison, actor and director of Rent at the Stratford Festival

    Immediately following the main event, Spotlight Premium Experience ticket-holders enjoy a three-course dinner and live entertainment presented in the stunning Henry N. R. Jackman Lounge which, on this night, will be transformed into glamorous Studio 145 as part of the night’s Hollywood-themed festivities.

    For full details on competition timing and tickets, please visit coc.ca/CentreStage

    Tickets for Centre Stage: Ensemble Studio Competition range from $80-$150 with Opera Under 30 tickets priced at $35 anywhere in the auditorium. They are available online, by calling 416-363-8231, or by visiting the Four Seasons Centre Box Office in person at 145 Queen St. W.

    BMO Financial Group: Season Sponsor

    The COC Ensemble Studio is Underwritten By: The Catherine and Maxwell Meighen Foundation, with major support from Anne & Tony Arrell, Marjorie & Roy Linden, The Estate of Tom C. Logan A.R.C.T., The MacNeill Family Foundation, Wendy J. Thompson, The Azrieli Foundation, RBC Foundation, and Stingray with additional support from ARIAS: Canadian Opera Student Development Fund, Marcia Lewis Brown, Neil & Blanche Carragher, Catherine Fauquier, George & Irene Hamilton, Patrick and Barbara Keenan Foundation, Joy Levine, Patricia & Frank Mills, and Brian Wilks

    Presenting Sponsor: RBC

    Artist Training Partners: Letko Brosseau, Morgan Meighen & Associates

    Rising Star Sponsors: Anonymous

    Spotlight Experience Supporters: Kristy Balkwill, Frank Bartoszek & Daniel O'Brien, Mike Brown, BT/A Advertising, Burgundy Asset Management, Jean Davidson & Paul Spafford, Hatch, Lily Li, TD Bank Group

    Supporting Sponsors: Marcia Lewis Brown, Ernst & Young, Kristine Vikmanis & Denton Creighton

    Event Sponsors: Bespoke Audio Visual, BT/A Advertising, Cavinona Wine Club, Chair-man Mills, The Chase, Terroni, Wellington Printworks Inc.

    Artist Prize Sponsors: ARIAS: Canadian Opera Student Development Fund, Classical 96.3 FM, Richard and Darcy Phillips, Temerty Foundation
    Posted in 23/24 Season


Phone: 416-363-8231

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