Winners of the 2019 Christina and Louis Quilico Awards vocal competition
Toronto, February 12 2019 – On Monday, February 11th, the rising stars of the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio, Canada’s premier training program for young opera professionals, competed in the fifth biennial Christina and Louis Quilico Awards, with Anna-Sophie Neher claiming the first prize of $8,000. Joel Allison won the second prize of $4,000, and Simona Genga won the third prize of $3,000. The event took place at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.
(l-r) COC General Director Alexander Neef, Ontario Arts Foundation Board Member Judith Gelber, Second Prize Winner Joel Allison, Third Prize Winner Simona Genga, First Prize Winner Anna-Sophie Neher, Russell Braun, Christina Quilico and Tracy Dahl. Photo: Chris Hutcheson
The competition was adjudicated by a panel composed of Alexander Neef, General Director of the Canadian Opera Company, Tracy Dahl, Canadian coloratura soprano, and Russell Braun, Canadian baritone. The young artists featured in the Feburary 11th competition sang one aria of their choice and one aria selected by the panel.
About Anna-Sophie Neher
Gatineau, Quebec native Anna-Sophie Neher recently completed her Master of Music degree at McGill University where she won the prestigious Wirth Vocal Prize. She has also studied at Bard College and the Montreal Conservatory. Winner of First Prize at the 2017 OSM Manulife Competition, her operatic credits include Blanche in Dialogues des Carmélites (Opera McGill); Adele in Die Fledermaus (Opera McGill); Pamina in The Magic Flute (Bard College); Belinda in Dido and Aeneas (Montreal Conservatory of Music); and Barbarina in The Marriage of Figaro (Orford Music Festival). Three-time winner of the Jacqueline Demarais Scholarship, she has also appeared as a soloist with Clavecin en Concert, Montreal Bach Festival, Orchestre Symphonique de Gatineau, Festival Schubert de Montréal and Festival Lanaudière. With the COC this season, she sings the roles of Lavia in Hadrian and Chloe in WOW Factor: A Cinderella Story (Opera for Young Audiences).
About the COC Ensemble Studio
The COC Ensemble Studio is Canada’s premier training program for young opera professionals. Since the inception of the program in 1980, over 220 young professional Canadian singers, opera coaches, stage directors and conductors have acquired their first major professional operatic experience through the Ensemble Studio. Former members include Ben Heppner, Isabel Bayrakdarian, John Fanning, Wendy Nielsen, Joseph Kaiser, David Pomeroy, Allyson McHardy, and Krisztina Szabó.
The members of the Ensemble Studio are the COC’s resident artists and important ambassadors for the company. They receive a blend of advanced study and practical experience through an individually tailored, multi-year program, involving understudying and performing mainstage roles, intensive vocal coaching, language and acting studies, and career skills development, as well as participation in masterclasses with internationally renowned opera professionals
About the Christina and Louis Quilico Awards
Christina Petrowska-Quilico established the Christina and Louis Quilico Fund in 2000 to honour her late husband, renowned baritone, Louis Quilico, and to recognize outstanding young singers, pianists and composers for voice. During his 45 years on the stage, Louis Quilico shared performing credits with Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, José Carreras, Joan Sutherland and Renata Tebaldi. He was instrumental in furthering the careers of many young singers through his teaching and master classes. The Ontario Arts Foundation manages the endowment that funds the Christina and Louis Quilico Awards.
This year’s competition is generously supported by Burgundy Asset Management, Gluskin Sheff and Associates and Turtle Creek Asset Management.
The COC Academy is underwritten by The Catherine and Maxwell Meighen Foundation, with additional support by Keith Ambachtsheer & Virginia Atkin.
The Ensemble Studio is underwritten in part by Anne & Tony Arrell, Peter M. Deeb, Marjorie & Roy Linden, Sheila K. Piercey, RBC Foundation, Slaight Family Foundation, Government of Canada, Hal Jackman Foundation, with additional support by: ARIAS: Canadian Opera Student Development Fund, David & Kristin Ferguson, Ethel Harris & the late Milton E. Harris, Peter & Hélène Hunt, Patrick and Barbara Keenan Foundation, Joy Levine, Patricia & Frank Mills, Roger D. Moore, June Shaw, The Stratton Trust, Janet Stubbs, Toronto Wagner Society, Ruth Watts-Gransden, Brian Wilks, Nora Wilson.
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Established in 1991, the Ontario Arts Foundation (OAF) is passionately committed to building long-term support for the arts in Ontario. In 2017-2018, the OAF paid over $3.35 million in endowment income and $260,000 in awards and scholarships.
Based in Toronto, the Canadian Opera Company is the largest producer of opera in Canada and one of the largest in North America. The COC enjoys a loyal audience support-base and one of the highest attendance and subscription rates in North America. Under its leadership team of General Director Alexander Neef and Music Director Johannes Debus, the COC is increasingly capturing the opera world’s attention. The COC maintains its international reputation for artistic excellence and creative innovation by creating new productions within its diverse repertoire, collaborating with leading opera companies and festivals, and attracting the world’s foremost Canadian and international artists. The COC performs in its own opera house, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, hailed internationally as one of the finest in the world. For more information on the COC, visit coc.ca.
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