Monday, November 26, 2012

Cast Corner (International) - Joel Cummings (Tenor)

For our second installment of Cast Corner we are happy to introduce one of our two Alfreds. One of a handful of our "International Guests", Seattle based Tenor, Joel Cummings will be joining us for the first time on the VanCOCO stage!

A graduate of the North England Conservatory (Masters of Music), Joel already has a plethora of credits to his name including Giuseppe (La Traviata), Fernando (Cosi fan tutte), and Tamino (Die Zauberflöte) just to name a few.

Joel with his beautiful bride Jaci.
In speaking with Joel we were pleased to discover that he is a true singing actor and is digging deep to bring to an honest and realistic character to the stage.

We always want to know what makes an opera singer tick and so we are always interested in the answer to this question...

Q: How did you get started with opera?

A: During my freshman year at Pacific Lutheran University, I attended the Opera Workshop performance of Die Fledermaus. The Rosalinda was Angela Meade, who made her Metropolitan Opera debut a couple years ago and is now an international star. She was good back then too. I was so blown away, and after talking with my teacher, I decided I was "all in", and the rest is history.

Q: We all have a guilty pleasure when it comes to our listening tastes, what do you enjoy listening to that we might find surprising? 

A: Renee Fleming singing Over the Rainbow.

Q: What excites you most about this show?

A: The play between the characters, specifically in the Jail Scene at the end. I just love ad-libbing on stage and playing with my stage colleagues, and this show calls for that quite a bit. 

Last question Joel... (for now anyway)

Q: Who are your musical mentors (Teachers, coaches, etc) and what is it about them that inspires you?

A: My current teacher is Erich Parce, who had a great career internationally as a baritone, most notably at The Metropolitan Opera. He has turned to directing now, and I love how obsessed he is with honesty as a singer. Sometimes we can get caught up in the act of singing and think we're fooling our audience with big, loud notes, but in reality when we are honest and truly feel the music and the character, that's when we get the best response.

Joel is "happy and excited" to be bringing to life the the wit and charm of "Alfred the Opera Singing Tenor" and we can't wait to get to know him through the rehearsal process and to share his beautiful tenor voice with our audience. We're confident our audience will leave this show humming a tune or two and thinking to themselves... Wow! Those characters were alive and vibrant!

Don't miss your chance to hear Joel make his VanCOCO debut! He will be performing the role of Alfred on Friday, January 4th (in Vancouver) and on Sunday, January 6th (in White Rock). 

And remember that Opera Tickets make great Stocking Stuffers! 

Click HERE to get yours today! 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Cast Corner - Stephanie Domingues takes the People's Choice Award at the MET Regionals!

We are happy to bring you the first installment of our "Cast Corner" series for our upcoming production of Die Fledermaus! Over the next month will be introducing you each of our cast members.

Our featured artist for this first installment is Soprano, Stephanie Anne Domingues who was just awarded the People's Choice award at the Metropolitan Opera National Audition Competition in the Western Canada District this past weekend! We're not at all suprized that Stephanie was the crowd pleaser as she simply WOW'd us in her audition in September! That said, we'd like to congratulate her on this important stepping stone in a singers career.

Stephanie, who will be singing the role of Adele this January, was gracious enough to answer a few questions about her life as a singer. Here's what she had to say...

Q. How did you get started with Opera?

A. When I was younger, I sang in a choir. My mom asked me if I wanted to go to a "Choir Camp" during the summer and I thought it sounded fun. While I was there, the conductor of the camp, Ann Coper Gay, of the Canadian Children's Opera Company, asked me if I wanted to join her choir.  I remember looking at my mother and saying "No! I don't know how to sing opera!" After listening to some recordings and talking with Ann, I accepted.  Throughout grades 7 to 10 I commuted two hours twice a week to Toronto to sing in the choir and through the CCOC, I also got the opportunity to perform with the COC and for some amazing people in Toronto. While I was singing at the COC, Peter Barrett told my mother that I should apply to this program in the USA called "Tanglewood". I looked into it and applied. I remember really wanting to get into the program, and I did. I atteneded the program in 2005 and 2006.

Q.  What might you say to someone who has never been to an opera before to get them excited about this particular show?

A. It's kind of like when you were a child and went into your mother's closet and put on her most beautiful gown and heels and her makeup. Then, you danced around the house pretending you were at themost hip A-List event in town!

Last question Stephanie...

Q.  Could you imagine yourself doing something else besides singing?

A.  Of course not. I am a strong believer in doing something you love and following your dreams and passion, this way, it doesn't feel like you're working. I can honestly say, every time I perform, every hour I have spent in the practice room, or sitting in a class throughout my Bachelors and Masters degree, I have enjoyed it all. Yes, it has been a challenging road, but it has all lead me to new opportunities, new challenges, and always keeps me happy.

We are very proud of Stephanie and all of the rest of our cast members who competed this past weekend in the Metropolitan Opera Competition. Bravi tutti! And... if you'd like to read more about Stephanie, you can read her full bio on our website!

Stay tuned for our next installment of Cast Corner and all of our other upcoming gems!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Celebrate the New Year Viennese Style with VanCOCO

It's official! Vancouver Concert Opera Society (VanCOCO) will be opening it's Third Season with Johann Strauss Jr's classic gem Die Fledermaus. We have gathered an exceptional International team of artists that will bring the sparkle and the charm of this holiday favorite to you this coming January with performances in Vancouver (January 4th and 5th) and in White Rock (January 6th)!

VanCOCO Presents Die Fledermaus
The story behind "the bat"... The best of friends play pranks on each other, but when Eisenstein abandons Falke in the middle of the town square dressed as a bat, Falke swears revenge. With Prince Orlofsky's permission the stage is set and Falke has invited everyone to a grand ball at the Princes' summer palace where Falke will once and for all strike his revenge. Fast forward to the next morning where the entire party finds itself in the town jail and all swear that it was Champagne, the King of effervescence, who is to blame.

As our mandate says, VanCOCO is all about the music and as such we will be performing this work in its original german language but we will be delivering our witty and charming dialogue to you in English.

You won't want to miss these performances and we want you to stay tuned to our blog and social media in the coming weeks so that we can share with you the cast of amazing singers that we will be featuring in these performances and a little bit of what makes them tick as opera singers. We might even throw in a few holiday treats along the way.

For more information and advance tickets please visit!

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