NOVEMBER 28, 2011 —The 10 finalists from across Canada, selected from over 160 singers in preliminary auditions in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and New York, each performed two arias with piano accompaniment in front of the audience and a panel of judges, comprised of COC General Director Alexander Neef, Music Administrator Sandra Gavinchuk, Head of the Ensemble Studio Liz Upchurch, Opera Canada editor Wayne Gooding, and Canadian soprano, voice teacher, and Ensemble Studio alumna Wendy Nielsen. Finalists included UBC Opera Alumni Rachel Fenlon and Cameron McPhail.
In addition to the four cash prizes, the finalists were competing for highly coveted positions in the 2012/2013 COC Ensemble Studio, Canada’s premier training program for young opera professionals. The competition marked the first time in COC history that the final auditions for the Ensemble Studio were held in front of a public audience. Based on the performances at tonight’s Ensemble Studio Competition, COC artistic administrators will now finalize the lineup of the 2012/2013 Ensemble Studio, with its new members to be announced in the new year.
This year, Montreal soprano Sasha Djihanian claimed the top prize selected from 10 finalists to receive the $5,000 award.