Meet the Ensemble Studio

Yesterday at noon we had the traditional season opening performance by the COC Ensemble Studio in the RBA; the Meet the Young Artists concert.  There were two new singers and a new pianist joining six members returning from last year.  First up was Danika Lorèn with Deh vieni non tardar.  I think I’ve run out of new things to say about Danika.  It’s all there; a very easy upper register, interesting colours and a growing degree of artistic assurance.  I just want to see her on the big stage.  Stéphane Mayer was at the piano with his usual sympathetic elegance.  He really is rather good!

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RBA Bach

Not a relation of JS, CPE or PDQ but the venue for today’s lunchtime presentation of two JS Bach cantatas by mezzo Lauren Eberwein and organist Hyejin Kwon with violinists Liz Johnston and Rezan Onen-Lapointe, violist Keith Hamm, cellist Paul Widner, bassist Robert Speer and oboeist Mark Rogers.  The two pieces were Ich habe genug, BWV 82 and Vergnügte Ruh, beliebte Seelenlust BWV 170; both works about the approach of death and the soul’s yearning for rest and salvation.

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Is it May already?

natdessYes it is and here’s what’s coming up.  Sadly Natalie Dessay’s Koerner gig tonight has been cancelled.  Get well soon and please come back!  Tomorrow at 8pm the TSO has a concert with Carla Huhtanen featuring Morawetz’ Carnival Overture, Boulez’ Le soleil des eaux and Rimsky-Korsakoff’s Scheherezade.  On Sunday Lyndsay Promane has a recital at 3pm at Islington United Church with works by Dowland, Faure, Schubert, Vaughan Williams and Strauss.  Admission is by donation

Next week there are a bunch of free concerts in the RBA at noon.  On Tuesday it’s Alysson McHardy and Rachel Andrist with a program of Schumann and Zemlinsky.  Wednesday sees Aaron Sheppard and Stéphane Mayer perform Finzi’s A Young Man’s Exhortation.  They will also be joined by Sam Pickett and Megan Quick.  Finally, on Thursday Lauren Eberwein, who is sounding really good recently, and members of the COC Orchestra will perform two J.S. Bach cantatas; Ich habe genug and Vergnügte Ruh.

Louis Riel and Tosca continue at the COC.

A Woman’s Life and Love

laureneYesterday’s lunchtime concert in the RBA featured mezzo Lauren Eberwin, soprano Danika Lorèn and pianists Hyejin Kwon and Stéphane Meyer.  Lauren and Hyejin were first up with Schumann’s Frauenliebe und -leben.  I’ve rarely seen this sung by a singer so obviously “in” the story.  There was a real sense of first person storytelling as well as rather good singing.  I thought Lauren sounded surprisingly sopranoish in the first seven numbers but they are optimistic and happy and a bright coloured voice seems apt.  She certainly darkened it nicely for the final grim song.  Hyejin was a most sympathetic partner.

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Quilico Awards

The Christina and Louis Quilico Awards are a singing competition for members of the COC’s Ensemble Studio.  This year’s edition took place early yesterday evening in the RBA.  Only five members of the Ensemble Studio were competing.  Megan Quick and Sam Pickett were not for reasons that I don’t think were announced and Aaron Sheppard was sick.  So it was a pretty brief affair.  The format as usual was that each contestant offered three arias and got to sing the one of their choice with the judges choosing which of the other two they should sing.
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Here we go again

The tenth season at the Four Seasons Centre opened with the, by now traditional, lunchtime concert by the COC’s Ensemble Studio.  Six of the eight singers and one of the two pianists are new recruits which is unusual and more of a chance to level set than see how anyone has developed.

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Night of the living mezzos

As previously revealed the line up for last night’s Centre Stage; the COC’s gala competition cum Ensemble Studio final audition featured four mezzos, two sopranos and two baritones.  Not a tenor to be had.  As was the case two years ago the competition was split into two parts; a late afternoon session for an invited audience and an early evening public session separated by a cocktail reception.  Each singer presented one aria in each session.  Accompaniment was provided by the COC Orchestra with music director Johannes Debus.

The Lieutenant Governor with the contestants

The Lieutenant Governor with the contestants

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