Announcement: Exclusive Audition Process with New Ensemble Studio Competition, Canadian Opera Company

For the first time in the history of the Canadian Opera Company, the final auditions for singers seeking to join the Ensemble Studio training program will be made public through the launch of an annual vocal competition.  The inaugural COC Ensemble Studio Competition takes place on Nov. 28, 2011 at 5:30 p.m. in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, with the winners garnering offers of highly-prized positions in the 2012/2013 Ensemble Studio.

“The COC is committed to developing the next generation of Canadian opera stars,” COC General Director Alexander Neef notes.  “Over its 30-year history, the Ensemble Studio has allowed young Canadian artists to receive internationally competitive training while staying in their home country, which we recognize as crucial to the development of the art form in Canada.  With the creation of the Ensemble Studio Competition, the public is invited to be a part of the singers’ professional journeys from the very beginning as it shines a spotlight on emerging artists in a substantial and significant way.”

The Ensemble Studio audition process, open only to Canadian citizens and landed immigrants, takes COC administrators across Canada and into the U.S. for preliminary auditions in Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto and New York.  The new COC Ensemble Studio Competition is the final round of auditions, with approximately 10 – 15 singers performing in front of a public audience and COC judges, including Alexander Neef, General Director; Roberto Mauro, Artistic Administrator; Sandra Gavinchuk, Music Administrator; and Liz Upchurch, Head of the Ensemble Studio.  Along with guest panellists, they will deliberate on location and announce the competition winners at the conclusion of the event. Ticket information and other details will be released at a later date.

The COC Ensemble Studio Competition is presented in part by the Estate of Horst Dantz & Don Quick and RBC Foundation.

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About the Ensemble Studio
The members of the Ensemble Studio are the COC’s resident artists and are important ambassadors for the company.  Since its inception in 1980, over 150 young professional Canadian singers, opera coaches, stage directors and conductors have acquired their first major professional operatic experience through the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio.  Former members include Ben Heppner, Isabel Bayrakdarian, John Fanning, Wendy Nielsen, David Pomeroy, Joseph Kaiser, Lauren Segal and Krisztina Szabó.

Members of the Ensemble Studio receive a blend of advanced study and practical experience through an individually-tailored, multi-year program, involving understudying and performing mainstage roles, intensive vocal coaching, language and acting studies, and career skills development, as well as participation in masterclasses with internationally-renowned opera professionals.

The Ensemble Studio is generously supported by the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage, ARIAS (The Canadian Student Opera Development Fund), in loving memory of Mr. George R. Bishop from his family & friends, John A. Cook Young Artist Development Fund, in honour of Earlaine Collins, in honour of Ninalee Craig, Estate of Horst Dantz and Don Quick, Michael & Lora Gibbens, Ethel Harris, Audrey S. Hellyer Charitable Foundation, Peter & Hélène Hunt, Patrick & Barbara Keenan, Hal Jackman Fund at the Ontario Arts Foundation, Jo Lander, Ruby Mercer Fund, George Cedric Metcalf Charitable Foundation, Roger D. Moore Ensemble Studio Endowment Fund, RBC Foundation, Katalin Schäfer, in honour of Colleen Sexsmith, Slaight Family, John Stratton Trust, William & Phyllis Waters, and an anonymous donor.

About the Canadian Opera Company
Based in Toronto, the Canadian Opera Company is the largest producer of opera in Canada and one of the five largest in North America.  The COC enjoys a loyal audience support-base and one of the highest attendance and subscription rates in North America.  The COC celebrates its 62nd anniversary during the 11/12 season.  Under its leadership team of General Director Alexander Neef and Music Director Johannes Debus, the COC is increasingly capturing the opera world’s attention.  The COC maintains its international reputation for artistic excellence and creative innovation by creating new productions within its diverse repertoire, collaborating with leading opera companies and festivals, and attracting the world’s foremost Canadian and international artists.  The COC performs in its own opera house, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, hailed internationally as one of the finest in the world.  Designed by Diamond and Schmitt Architects, the Four Seasons Centre opened in 2006, and is also the performance venue for The National Ballet of Canada.  For more information on the Canadian Opera Company, please visit its award-winning website, coc.ca.

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