Stage Door News

Toronto: Free digital programs at the COC – “Gender & Opera” and “March Break: Exploring New Opera”

Monday, February 8, 2021


The Canadian Opera Company expands on its popular Women in Opera event with this interactive discussion exploring how gender constructs affect opera professionals, the art form itself, and beyond. The virtual event takes place on March 5, 2021 at 7 p.m. EST and is moderated by Aria Umezawa, Canadian stage director, consultant, and co-founder of Amplified Opera, the COC’s newDisruptor-in-Residence. The panel features Amplified Opera co-founders Teiya Kasahara, Marion Newman, and Asitha Tennekoon; COC Ensemble Studio baritone Jonah Spungin; performer, creator, and transgender advocate Avery Jean Brennan; and actor/singer Jonathan Christopher.

Following the discussion, viewers can participate in a live Q&A with the panelists using the YouTube and Facebook Live chat feature.

Admission: FREE. For full details on this program, visit


Hosted by COC Opera Teaching Artist Makenzie Morgan, March Break at the COC gathers a group of artists and craftspeople to explore what a career in the performing arts can look like. Get a behind-the-scenes look at Fantasma, the company’s upcoming original Opera for Young Audiences for youth ages 12-18. Between March 15-19, tune in at 2 p.m. daily for hour-long sessions with Fantasma’s creative team, to learn about what it's like to work with a composer, design props and costumes for the stage, and much more!

Admission: FREE. For more information and to receive an alert for when registration opens, visit

March 15, 2021, 2 p.m.

COC Composer-in-Residence Ian Cusson takes us through the genesis of the story of Fantasma and how this translates into his music.

March 16, 2021, 2 p.m.

Ensemble Studio artists Matthew Cairns (tenor) and Alex Soloway (pianist) share what it is like to work with a living composer, and originating a new role in an opera.

March 17, 2021, 2 p.m.

Wulf Higgins (COC Props Supervisor) gives us a behind-the-scenes look at how the world of Fantasma is created and brought to life through the use of props and set dressing.

March 18, 2021, 2 p.m.

Wig & Makeup Supervisor Sharon Ryman and Costume Supervisor Sandra Corazza give us a sneak peek at the Zombie character in Fantasma, and share some of their backstage tips and tricks.

March 19, 2021, 2 p.m.

Julie McIsaac, COC Lead Curator, Opera Everywhere, speaks with music therapist Dr. SarahRose Black about her considerations in staging Fantasma, as well as creating an engaging experience for young people from the moment audience members walk in the door.

Photo: Teiya Kasahara in The Queen In Me. © Tanja-Tiziana.