Rhinegold Photo credit: Michael Cooper

Katy Wright

Deputy Editor, Classical Music

Simona Genga wins COC vocal competition

11:49, 3rd November 2017

Mezzo-soprano Simona Genga has won the first prize at the Canadian Opera Company’s annual Ensemble Studio Competition.

She receives a $10,000 cash prize and a performance opportunity at Ontario’s Elora Festival. She also won the Audience Choice Award ($1,500) for her performance of ‘Adieu, forêts’ from Tchaikovsky’s Jeanne d’Arc.

Genga is currently working towards a masters degree in opera performance at the University of Toronto. As a Gerdine Young Artist at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis this summer, she appeared in the choruses for La Clemenza di Tito, Madama Butterfly and The Grapes of Wrath, in which she also sang the role of the Cabin Mistress; she has also performed with Opera NUOVA, University of Toronto Opera and Western University Opera.

Bass-baritone Joel Allison won second prize ($3,000), and soprano Anna-Sophie Neher was awarded third prize ($1,500).

The Ensemble Studio Competition features singers from the final round of auditions for the COC Ensemble Studio. The adjudication panel heard each finalist perform an aria, accompanied by the COC Orchestra conducted by Johannes Debus, at the Centre Stage gala fundraiser.

The adjudication panel comprised COC general director Alexander Neef; COC director of music and artistic administration Roberto Mauro; director of the COC Academy Nina Draganić; head of the COC Ensemble Studio Liz Upchurch; Canadian soprano and Ensemble Studio head vocal consultant Wendy Nielsen; and Canadian soprano Mary Morrison.

‘Centre Stage is an opportunity to celebrate the immense wealth of operatic talent that this country has to offer and, as the strength of this year’s competition proved, Canada has a lot to be proud of,’ said COC general director Alexander Neef, who founded the competition in 2011. ‘I continue to be impressed by the level of talent on display from our Centre Stage finalists and look forward to following the next stages of their careers.’

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