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THE SCOOP | The Canadian Opera Company Adds Three To Ensemble Studio Roster

By Anya Wassenberg on January 19, 2024

L-R: Incoming artists of the 2024/2025 Ensemble Studio, Emily Rocha, Duncan Stenhouse, Gabrielle Turgeon (Photos courtesy of the artist)
L-R: Incoming artists of the 2024/2025 Ensemble Studio, Emily Rocha, Duncan Stenhouse, Gabrielle Turgeon (Photos courtesy of the artist)

The Canadian Opera Company is welcoming three new emerging artists to its Ensemble Studio program for the 2024/25 season. Sopranos Emily Rocha and Gabrielle Turgeon and bass Duncan Stenhouse will become part of the company’s professional development program for Canadian artists.

All three new members placed as finalists in the Centre Stage: Ensemble Studio Competition last October. Emily Rocha was awarded Second Prize, and Duncan Stenhouse Third Prize.

“We were thrilled, excited, and deeply impressed by the gifts of Emily, Duncan, and Gabrielle through every stage of the Ensemble Studio Competition,” says COC General Director Perryn Leech in a statement. “It’s clear these three are immensely accomplished artists who are passionately dedicated to their craft. I’m looking forward to watching their skills grow throughout their time in the program and am genuinely excited by the talent that we’re seeing in this newest generation of Canadian opera performers.”

The new members join the six singers who are returning to the Ensemble Studio for 2024, including
soprano Karoline Podolak, mezzo-soprano Queen Hezumuryango, tenor Wesley Harrison, baritone Korin Thomas-Smith, and pianist/coaches Brian Cho and Mattia Senesi.

Existing members of the COC Ensemble Studio (Photo courtesy of the COC)
Existing members of the COC Ensemble Studio (Photo courtesy of the COC)

Meet the New Ensemble Studio Artists

Emily Rocha, soprano

Second Prize winner of COC’s 2023 Centre Stage: Ensemble Studio Competition, Emily Rocha is a recent graduate of UofT Opera. As the 2023 Concerto Competition Winner, she’ll be performing the Mahler Rückert-Lieder with the University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra this season. Later this year, she will be a Vocal Fellow at Tanglewood Music Center 2024.

Duncan Stenhouse, bass

Duncan is a composer as well as a singer, and he is currently completing his Advanced Operatic Diploma at the Royal Academy of Music. He earned a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance with a minor in Composition from the Memorial School of Music in St. John’s. Duncan has lived in London, England since 2020, where he has performed at a number of summer festivals.

Gabrielle Turgeon, soprano

After earning a bachelor’s degree at the University of Toronto, Gabrielle went on to the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), where she is currently a student. Other competition wins include placing as a finalist in the Houston Grand Opera Eleanor McCollum Competition. Gabrielle was the Michigan District Winner in the Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition, and was a Vocal Fellow at the Ravinia Steans Music Institute.

The Ensemble Studio

As members of the Ensemble Studio, young artists benefit from a blend of practical experience and advanced professional level coaching. Their progress is tailored to their experience and talents, and during the multi-year program, they’ll perform and understudy a range of mainstage roles.

They’ll learn from industry recognized vocal, language, movement and acting coaches, along with one-on-one sessions with visiting artists. Career advice and guidance is customized to each individual.

In short, it’s a big step up to a solid professional career.

“I am delighted to welcome Emily, Gabrielle, and Duncan to the Ensemble Studio next season,” says Dorian Cox, Director of the Ensemble Studio. “Each of these singers brings a unique point of view to their artistry, and I am excited to see them explore that further at the COC through the program’s holistic approach to artist development.”

After leaving the program, artists have gone on to busy performing careers. That includes soprano Ariane Cossette, featured in the COC’s production of Carmen (2022) and in the upcoming The Cunning Little Vixen, soprano Charlotte Siegel, who starred as Musetta in last fall’s La Bohème, and mezzo-soprano Alex Hetherington, who was featured in two productions during 2022/2023, and will be seen in the upcoming The Cunning Little Vixen. Ariane, Charlotte and Alex will perform a final farewell performance as part of the COC’s Free Concert Series this spring.

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