Welcome to the Ensemble Studio!By COC StaffPosted in Ensemble Studio
The cat’s out of the bag… we’re welcoming four new young artists to the COC Ensemble Studio! Beginning next fall, soprano Midori Marsh, baritone Jonah Spungin, bass-baritone Alex Halliday, and pianist/intern coach Frances Thielmann will officially join over 235 Canadian opera professionals who have gotten a career jump start from this internationally renowned opera training program.
Soprano Midori Marsh is applauded by Canadian tenor Ben Heppner and COC General Director Alexander Neef after winning First Prize at the 2019 Ensemble Studio Competition.
Midori was born in Cleveland, Ohio and is currently completing her Master of Music in opera at the University of Toronto, following undergraduate studies at Wilfrid Laurier University. In October 2019, she claimed both First Prize and the Audience Choice Award at the 2019 Ensemble Studio Competition. This season with UofT Opera, she sang the roles of Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro, Cecilia Corfield in Maid & Master: The Massey Murder, and can soon be seen as Mary Crawford in Mansfield Park.
Bass-baritone Alex Halliday performing a final aria at the 2019 Ensemble Studio Competition.
Alex Halliday is from St. John’s, Newfoundland, where he received his Bachelor of Music in vocal performance from Memorial University. He is currently studying for his diploma in opera at the University of Toronto, where he also received in master’s degree in opera performance. Alex took home Second Prize at the 2019 Ensemble Studio Competition. Most recently, he sang Figaro in The Marriage of Figaro and Colonel Denison/Samuel Miller in Maid & Master: The Massey Murder with UofT Opera, and can soon be seen as Sir Thomas Bertram in Mansfield Park.
Baritone Jonah Spungin in the final round of the 2017 Ensemble Studio Competition.
Jonah Spungin hails from Ottawa and has earned a master’s degree in voice and opera from McGill. He was a finalist at the 2017 Ensemble Studio Competition in Toronto and has since graduated from Calgary Opera’s Emerging Artist Program. His recent stage credits include Marullo in Rigoletto, Mike Groom in Everest, King Melchior in Amahl and the Night Visitors, and Paris in Roméo et Juliette with Calgary Opera.
Pianist Frances Thielman accompanies bass-baritone Jean Phillipe Mc Clish as part of an oratorio interpretation class with Opéra de Montréal’s Atelier lyrique
Frances Thielmann, of Vancouver, completed her master’s degree in collaborative piano at the University of Toronto and holds a bachelor’s degree with distinction in piano performance from the University of Victoria. She recently joined Opéra de Montréal’s Atelier lyrique as a coach and pianist for the 2019/2020 season and was also invited to participate in the 2020 Vocal Piano Program at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California.
Underlining the Canadian Opera Company’s commitment to providing incomparable, hands-on experience, all the young artists will be involved with upcoming mainstage productions in the company’s 2020/2021 season.
Nina Draganić, Director of the COC Academy, says that she is excited to see how the Ensemble Studio’s newest members embrace and grow from the immersive experience ahead. “With Midori, Alex, Jonah, and Frances,” she says, “the company recognized a perfectly timed development opportunity that will provide these four with the support and guidance required to elevate their performance, as industry professionals, to the next level.”
COC Ensemble Studio members receive a unique blend of advanced training and practical career experience. The multi-year program involves understudying and performing mainstage roles, intensive vocal coaching, as well as detailed language, movement and acting studies. Participants attend intimate masterclasses and lessons with internationally renowned opera professionals and are also provided with holistic training that includes honing industry-specific business skills as well as financial, career and nutrition counselling. The new group, which includes returning artists Matthew Cairns, Vartan Gabrielian, Jamie Groote, Anna-Sophie Neher and pianist Alexander Soloway, will later open the 2020/2021 season of the Free Concert Series in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, presented by TD Bank Group, with a Meet the Young Artists concert, set for September 2020.
You can also see our current Ensemble Studio members perform in concerts throughout the GTA – and most performances are free!
Click here for their full upcoming schedule.
Photo Credits: Headshot images courtesy of artists; Midori Marsh at the 2019 Ensemble Studio Competition (photo: Michael Cooper); Alex Halliday at the 2019 Ensemble Studio Competition (photo: Michael Cooper); Jonah Spungin at the 2017 Ensemble Studio Competition (photo: Michael Cooper); Frances Thielmann in performance with Opéra de Montréal’s Atelier lyrique (photo: Brendan Friesen); artists of the 2019/2020 Ensemble Studio (photo: Gaetz Photography).