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One of the highlights was the selection of ensembles for the participants in the COC Ensemble Studio, a platform for young singers at the threshold of professional operatic careers. There was plenty of zest to the duet 'Mira, O Norma' from Bellini's Norma, with Joni Henson and Melinda Delorme displaying fine bel canto legato and some tripping coloratura. Impeccable rhythmic coordination enhanced the Quintet from Carmen Act II sung by Lauren Segal, Virginia Hatfield, Michele Bogdanowicz, Lawrence Wiliford and Peter Barrrett. Joined by Victor Micalleff and other young members of the Ensemble Studio, the group sang a tender version of 'Bruderlein' from Die Fledermaus.

The members of the COC Ensemble Studio in performance at the Altamira Summer Arts Opera Concerts. Photo © 2005 Laura Elizabeth Stanley
The members of the COC Ensemble Studio in performance at the Altamira Summer Arts Opera Concerts. Photo © 2005 Laura Elizabeth Stanley

The COC's exciting evolution takes on a new direction in the forthcoming 2006 season, in which the new Toronto Opera House is to be launched with the first ever Canadian Ring Cycle. Bradshaw explained that 80% of the seats were already sold for the three cycles, with 30% coming from overseas, including Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Europe. The new opera house, which is near to completion in its central location in downtown Toronto, is envisaged as a resource for the whole community, with some ninety free concerts to be given in the foyer areas by leading soloists, as well as a special price range for 18-29 year olds to encourage younger audiences to the opera. Certainly the policy of outreach was symbolized by the upbeat chactarer of this evening of operatic delights which ended on a splendid high note with the encore, the Overture from Rossini's Barber of Seville, in which the audience joined in some heartfelt rhythmic hand clapping.

Copyright © 11 September 2005 Malcolm Miller, London UK

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MALCOLM MILLER'S 2003 SAMPLE OF TORONTO'S SUMMER MUSIC

COC'S RICHARD BRADSHAW IN CONVERSATION WITH MALCOLM MILLER

THE CANADIAN OPERA COMPANY

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