Learn more about our 2014/2015 Ensemble Studio members.
Regina, Saskatchewan native Gordon Bintner won first prize and the Audience Choice Award at the Second Annual COC Ensemble Studio Competition in 2012. Last season with the COC, he appeared as the Customs Officer in La Bohème, the Page in Roberto Devereux and Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte (Ensemble Studio performance). Additional credits include Papageno in The Magic Flute and Escamillo in Carmen (Saskatoon Opera); Nardo in La finta giardiniera (San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera Program); Lescaut in Manon (Opéra de Montréal); Colline in La Bohème (Angers Nantes Opéra); and the title roles in Le nozze di Figaro (Opera NUOVA) and Don Giovanni (Opera McGill). Mr. Bintner made his l’Orchestre symphonique de Montréal (OSM) debut in 2011 as winner of the OSM Standard Life Competition and returned there in 2014 for Bernstein’s A Quiet Place. He also appeared with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in 2014. This season with the COC, Mr. Bintner sings the roles of the Registrar in Madama Butterfly and Basilio in The Barber of Seville (Ensemble Studio performance). He will also sing Handel’s Messiah with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. .
Last updated: August 19, 2014
Born in Québec City, Karine Boucher won First Prize and the Audience Choice Award in the Third Annual Ensemble Studio Competition in 2013. She received her master’s degree and bachelor’s degree in opera performance from the Québec Conservatory. As a member of the Atelier lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal, her credits include Miss Pinkerton in The Old Maid and the Thief and Micaëla in Carmen. Additional credits include Credits include Annina in La Traviata, Inez in Il Trovatore and Kätchen in Werther (Opéra de Montréal); Damon in Acis and Galatea (Arte Music); Mimì in La Bohème (Jeunesses Musicales); and the title role in Rita (Highlands Opera Studio). Upcoming roles with the COC include Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, Helmwige in Die Walküre and Berta in The Barber of Seville (Ensemble Studio performance).
Last updated: August 2014
Originally from Woodstock, Ontario, Charlotte Burrage placed third in the Second Annual COC Ensemble Studio Competition in 2012 and made her COC mainstage debut in 2014 as Dorabella in Così fan tutte (Ensemble Studio performance). Additional credits include Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater with both Kevin Mallon in Italy and Christopher Verrette in Toronto; Hänsel in Hänsel and Gretel (Vancouver Opera in Schools); Dorabella in Così fan tutte (Banff Centre’s Opera as Theatre and Jeunesses Musicales); and the title role in Massenet’s Cendrillon (University of British Columbia). Ms. Burrage also performed with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra under conductor Bramwell Tovey and sang with Orchestra London in Handel’s Messiah. Upcoming COC roles include Waltraute in Die Walküre and Rosina in The Barber of Seville (Ensemble Studio performance).
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Originally from Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, tenor Jean-Philippe Fortier-Lazure placed second in the Third Annual Ensemble Studio Competition in 2013. In addition to studies at the University of Montreal, he has participated in young artist training programs with the National Arts Centre, Centre d’Arts Orford and Académie Internationale d’été Nice. Mr. Fortier-Lazure is also a recipient of the Governor General Performing Arts Mentorship Award. Credits include Pelléas in Pelléas et Mélisande (Nova Scotia Opera Company and Atelier d’Opéra, University of Montreal); Chevalier de la Force in Dialogues des Carmélites (Atelier d’Opéra); Beppe in Pagliacci (Opera Lyra Ottawa – Silver Cast); Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, Don Curzio/Don Basilio in Le nozze di Figaro and Mr. Gobineau in The Medium (University of Ottawa Opera Productions); and Guard in Manon and Prince of Persia in Turandot (Opera Lyra Ottawa). This season with the COC, he sings the role of Almaviva in The Barber of Seville (Ensemble Studio production).
Calgary native Aviva Fortunata made her COC mainstage debut in 2014 as Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte (Ensemble Studio performance). Additional credits include Desdemona in Otello and the Lady with a Cake Box in Postcard from Morocco (San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera Program); Donna Anna in Don Giovanni (Concert Opera Group, Centre for Opera Studies in Italy and the University of Toronto); and Poulenc’s Gloria (Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra). Ms. Fortunata was the winner of the 2012 Norcop Prize in Song Recital and was awarded a judges’ commendation in the Mildred Miller International Voice Competition (Opera Theater of Pittsburgh). She holds a master’s degree in opera performance from the University of Toronto. Upcoming COC roles include Grimgerde in Die Walküre and Berta in The Barber of Seville.
Mississauga native Clarence Frazer recently appeared with the COC as Customs House Sergeant in La Bohème and Guglielmo in Così fan tutte (Ensemble Studio performance). With Calgary Opera’s Emerging Artist Program, he appeared as Re di Scozia in Ariodante, Count Gil in Il segreto di Susanna and Ramiro in L’heure espagnole. Other credits include Marcello in La Bohème and Publio in La clemenza di Tito (Centre for Opera Studies in Italy); Prince Yamadori and Imperial Commissioner in Madama Butterfly (Edmonton Opera); Dottore Grenvil in La Traviata, Ford in Falstaff, Pinellino in Gianni Schicchi, Daggoo in Moby-Dick and Alcindoro in La Bohème (Calgary Opera); and Escamillo in Carmen (Highlands Opera Studio). Mr. Frazer won the inaugural Lois Marshall Voice Competition and was a finalist in Palm Beach Opera’s International Voice Competition. This season with the COC he sings the roles of Prince Yamadori in Madama Butterfly, Officer in The Barber of Seville and Figaro in The Barber of Seville (Ensemble Studio performance).
Originally from London, Ontario, Andrew Haji claimed second prize in the Second Annual COC Ensemble Studio Competition in 2012. His roles with the COC include Ferrando in Così fan tutte (Ensemble Studio performance) and Rodriguez in Don Quichotte. Mr. Haji holds a master’s degree in opera from the University of Toronto, where his credits include Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore, Cecco in Il mondo della luna, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, the title role in Rob Ford: The Opera and Ferrando in Così fan tutte. Other roles include Tamino in The Magic Flute (Music Academy of the West and Accademia Europea dell’Opera); and Rodolfo in La Bohème, Nemorino and Don Ottavio (Centre for Opera Studies in Italy). This season he sings the role of Almaviva in the COC’s production of The Barber of Seville (Ensemble Studio performance).
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A native of Brockville, Ontario, Iain MacNeil claimed third prize in the COC’s Third Annual Ensemble Studio Competition in 2013. He recently completed an opera diploma at the University of Toronto and received a bachelor of music degree from Dalhousie University. Credits include Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni in scenes from Don Giovanni and Dulcamara in scenes from L’elisir d’amore (Centre for Opera Studies in Italy); Bobby in Kurt Weill’s Mahagonny-Songspiel, Sweeney Todd in Sweeney Todd, Brewer in Comedy on the Bridge and Tom/John in The Face on the Barroom Floor (Dalhousie Opera Workshop). Mr. MacNeil recently participated in the International Barocktage Stift Melk in Austria and the St. Andrews Arts Council Opera Workshop at St. Andrews by-the-Sea in New Brunswick, and competed in the Stella Maris International Voice Competition. In 2013, he also participated in the Young Singers Project at the Salzburg Festival. Upcoming roles with the COC include Imperial Commissioner in Madama Butterfly and Bartolo in The Barber of Seville (Ensemble Studio performance).
Last update: August 19, 2014
A native of St. John, New Brunswick, Owen McCausland recently appeared with the COC as Juan in Don Quichotte, Lord Cecil in Roberto Devereux, Ferrando in Così fan tutte (Ensemble Studio performance), Parpignol in La Bohème, Reverend Horace Adams in Peter Grimes, the Servant in A Masked Ball, the Second Nazarene in Salome, the sailor in Tristan und Isolde and the Messenger in Il Trovatore. In 2013, he stepped into the title role in La clemenza di Tito for several performances on the COC mainstage, in addition to singing the role in the Ensemble Studio performance. Other roles include the title role in Werther (Chautauqua Institution); Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi (Opera on the Avalon) and Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni (Centre for Opera Studies in Italy).
Pianist Jennifer Szeto is originally from Calgary and holds degrees from University of Toronto and McGill University. With the Atelier Lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal her credits as an apprentice coach include productions of Hänsel und Gretel, The Old Maid and the Thief, Amahl and the Night Visitors, and chorus music preparation for Falstaff, Turandot, Lakmé and Manon. Most recently, she was staff pianist at the International Vocal Arts Institute in Tel Aviv, Israel for its production of Abduction from the Seraglio. She has served as staff pianist at the Institut Canadien d’Art Vocal in Montreal, and as an apprentice coach at St. Andrews by-the-Sea Opera Workshop and Green Mountain Opera Festival in Vermont. This season with the COC, Ms. Szeto will serve as a rehearsal pianist for Madama Butterfly, Die Walküre and The Barber of Seville.
The COC Ensemble Studio, underwritten in part by Peter M. Deeb and The Slaight Family Foundation, is Canada’s premier training program for young opera professionals and provides advanced instruction, hands-on experience, and career development opportunities. The Ensemble Studio is also supported by the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage, RBC Foundation, Hal Jackman Foundation and other generous donors.