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THE SCOOP | Toronto City Opera Announces Winners Of Its First Annual Giuseppe Macina Operatic Voices Competition

By Anya Wassenberg on May 13, 2024

Opera singers Front L to R: Jennifer Tung, Hannah Crawford, Simona Genga, Midori Marsh, Giuseppe Macina, Colin Mackey, Jacob Abrahamse; 2nd Row L to R: Denis Mastromonaco, Tom Diamond, Alex Mathews, Elias Theocharidis, Ellen McAteer, Ivan Estey Jovanovic, Adrianne Pieczonka, Stephen Carr
Front L to R: Jennifer Tung, Hannah Crawford, Simona Genga, Midori Marsh, Giuseppe Macina, Colin Mackey, Jacob Abrahamse; 2nd Row L to R: Denis Mastromonaco, Tom Diamond, Alex Mathews, Elias Theocharidis, Ellen McAteer, Ivan Estey Jovanovic, Adrianne Pieczonka, Stephen Carr

Toronto City Opera has announced the winners of its Giuseppe Macina Operatic Voices Competition. Held for the first time this year, the grand prize winners were: soprano Hannah Crawford, mezzo-soprano Simona Genga, and soprano Midori Marsh.

A crowd of opera lovers attended as audience members to the May 11 competition among some of the area’s gifted operatic talents. Soprano Adrianne Pieczonka, Director Tom Diamond, and Conductor Denis Mastromonaco adjudicated the competition, joined by TCO’s Artistic Director, Jennifer Tung, and Director of Development and Engagement, Stephen Carr, on the judges’ panel.

“We all know that when it comes to something as intangible and personal as art, there really is no ‘competition’. There’s no way of quantifying or calculating what may move an individual’s heart on any given day. This afternoon really is a celebration of eight already remarkable young performers, each of them unique artists. And it’s our chance, at TCO, to play our small part in supporting them along their artistic paths,” Carr told the audience.

*L  to R: Toronto City Opera founder Giuseppe Macina, soprano Midori Marsh, soprano Hannah Crawford, mezzo-soprano Simona Genga
*L  to R: Toronto City Opera founder Giuseppe Macina, soprano Midori Marsh, soprano Hannah Crawford, mezzo-soprano Simona Genga

The Competition

The judges made the decision not to rank the three finalists, acknowledging all three Grand Prize Winners:

  • Hannah Crawford, soprano
  • Simona Genga, mezzo-soprano
  • Midori Marsh, soprano

The Audience Choice Prize was won by Simona Genga, mezzo-soprano.

Along with cash prizes (awarded at the judges’ discretion), the winners will benefit from future performance opportunities with Toronto City Opera and select Southern Ontario orchestras.

“At TCO, we know how expensive it is for young singers to carve a career path, and so we wanted this event to be different — no application or processing fees, plus an additional stipend for all of the finalists in recognition of their performance,” said Carr. “We filled the audience with agents, directors, and industry insiders who will champion these singers in the future. I’m confident that we can continue to expand what we’re able to offer them as this becomes an annual highlight of the season.”

The competition, which will be held annually, was named after Toronto City Opera founder Giuseppe Macina, who, in 1971, took a long running opera workshop held in conjunction with the Toronto District School Board and revitalized it as Toronto Opera Repertoire. The company was later incorporated as Toronto City Opera (1980), and Macina remained as Artistic Director until his retirement in 2013.

In 2018, the organization became professionally oriented, and cut ties with the TDSB, among other changes to its organization and performance models. The Macina competition is one of the most recent developments.

Giuseppe Macina was present at his namesake event, and reflected on the organization’s growth. “My first year we had eight singers. But the following year, it was one hundred and twenty… It was hard to create it, but when you have the love of the music, there really is no obstacle.”

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