Hear From a Past Winner: Simona GengaBy Simona GengaPosted in Ensemble Studio
I’ve had amazing experiences singing at some unique venues — but singing at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts as a finalist in the Ensemble Studio Competition was an especially sentimental and profound experience for me.
It’s the theatre where I first fell in love with opera, the place that inspired me to follow my dreams of studying classical voice, and the venue I had always dreamed about singing in.
Playing around with instruments in my uncle’s studio.
During the final callback auditions, it was so exciting to meet, reconnect and share this once-in-a-lifetime experience with the other finalists. It was such a positive and supportive group – we made a Facebook group where we planned meals together, picked up coffee and tea orders for each other, and gave each other advice and support throughout the week.
I learned so much during that time, but one of the most important things was to trust myself and my intuition. I was encouraged by the coaches and Johannes Debus (the COC’s Music Director) to really dig deep, be brave, and allow my vulnerability and joy for music to come through generously when I’m performing, not just on stage but also in rehearsals and lessons.
We were so well prepared and supported in the lead-up to the competition, but I was still surprised at how ready and comfortable I felt the moment I stepped onto the stage that night. I don’t have enough words to describe just how exhilarating and palpable that moment was. It was absolutely surreal.
The power and magic in the sound of the COC Orchestra led by Johannes Debus is incomparable. From the first note the orchestra played, I was filled with such wonder and childlike excitement – I still feel that way every time I hear them play. I felt utterly spoiled to have them to myself for two arias!
Simona with fellow finalists after winning the Ensemble Studio Competition.
I found my home up there on stage. I’m extremely grateful that I received such an opportunity, and I’m still grateful every time I get to step up on stage now as a member of the Ensemble Studio training program.
I already felt like a winner from the day I got the call that I got to the final round. The chance to share that moment with all the other amazing artists from across Canada was the best prize and encouragement one could ask for.
Hearing my name called as a winner that evening was just icing on top of the icing of a great week and experience.
2017 Ensemble Studio Competition Winner
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