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An Opera McGill production of Benjamin Britten’s Albert Herring in November 2018. Photo by Sebastien Duckett.
Director: Patrick Hansen
Participation: Entrance is by audition (see audition schedules). This ensemble is open to music students, and McGill University students from other faculties. Participation is required from September-April.
Opera McGill Mission Statement
To train, inspire, nurture and educate the next generation of singers for success on the operatic stage through a comprehensive program focused on excellence and the individual needs of our students.
About Opera McGill
As one of the leading opera training programs in North America, Opera McGill’s students come from all over Canada, the United States, and Europe. At least three new productions are created each season: a mainstage opera with orchestra, a baroque opera with period instruments and tuning (in collaboration with the Early Music program), and a “black box” production. Additionally, Opera McGill has inaugurated a series of Community and Educational Engagement and Events that allow students to perform off- campus in the Montreal area as well as in the CEGEPs and elementary schools.
After a successful audition in the fall, which is open to all undergraduate and graduate voice students, the selected casts receive extensive coachings on their role(s), classes in audition techniques, seminars on summer programs, headshots and resumes, and specialized master classes from experts in their respective operatic fields that focus on everything from the business of opera to period movement. Acting techniques and bodywork are introduced through seminars and the staging rehearsal.
Each production is rehearsed in the spectacular Wirth Opera Studio over the course of many weeks prior to the performances. Special care is given to the details of the musical score, the creation of a character’s internal emotional core, his or her physical characterization, and a deep exploration of the meaning of the text. All productions are fully designed in either period or in update, with sets, costumes, lights and props designed specifically for each cast and show.
An important aspect of Opera McGill is the exploration of the eight multiple intelligences of opera (Musical, Linguistic, Kinesthetic, Mathematical, Spatial, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, and Environmental). The students become stronger in these “intelligences” through vocal coachings, one-on-one dramatic coachings, audition and acting techniques classes, physical movement classes (such as Tai Chi), Feldenkreis instruction, and group discussions about the business aspects of opera.
Masters of Opera and Voice
Masters of Opera and Voice students will experience as many levels of operatic roles as possible (Lead, Featured, Supporting, Bit, and Chorus Bit, as well as Covering roles and singing in the chorus) to give them a comprehensive operatic repertoire experience (C.O.R.E.). Masters of Opera and Voice students also experience backstage and supporting offstage “roles” such as assistant director, assistant stage manager, wardrobe and props assistance, supertitles work, and more.