opera star

Hopefuls compete in Toronto to be the next opera star

With competition TV shows and live theatre hitting an all-time high, the Canadian Opera Company joined the ranks of Tyra Banks, Simon Cowell, and Rupaul yesterday to crown Canada's Next Opera Star.

The COC's 3rd annual event posits itself as a classy fundraiser but had the audience on the edge of their seats, blouses matted in sweat and shellacked french tips chewed to a bloody pulp by the end of the show.

The event pitted eight finalists, chosen from 120 prospective stars, against each other. Each potential star, outfitted by The Bay, performed one piece accompanied by the Canadian Opera Company orchestra while former contestants Karine Boucher and Charles Sy acted as the Ryan Seacrest and Brian Dunkleman of the competition.

The stars were evaluated by a panel of judges including Alexander Neef (the General Direction of the COC) and Roberto Mauro (Director of Music and Artistic Administration) for three cash prizes and the coveted title.

The audience also voted for an Audience Choice Award recipient using cool real-time technology reminiscent of the Ask the Audience lifeline from Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

Though opera sounds like something reserved for bourgeoisie or at least, someone who speaks any language other than autocorrect-mangled English, it was extremely engaging and exciting.

During each piece, I felt the type of chills I had previously thought were exclusively reserved for Selena Gomez songs. Later, during the judges deliberation, the audience was treated to amazing surprise performances by Canadian Opera Company superstars Andrew Haji and Joyce El-Khoury.

In the end, no one could come close to Torontonian Emily D'Angelo's breathtaking performance of Contro Un Cor from The Barber of Seville. She won the title of Canada's Next Opera Star, as well as the Audience Choice Award. BC native Lauren Eberwein placed second and Montrealer Bruno Roy took third.

Centre Stage is the Canadian Opera Company's biggest fundraiser of the season. All funds raised directly benefit the Canadian Opera Company's Ensemble Studio.

Photo of Lauren Eberwein courtesy the COC.


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