Through the artist’s eyes

Taking the stage as a classical artist is exciting and glamorous but it takes years of practice and dedication. Education plays a vital role in every performer’s musical career – I, too, know from experience. Singing or playing in front of people is the easy part. How you get this is another story.

With events like Operanation, aspiring students are given the chance to learn from the best in the business as they embark on a life-changing musical path. Yes, again, I may be biased, but there is nothing I love more than seeing the arts and education flourish together hand-in-hand.

Canadian Soprano, Simone Osborne has been hailed as “a joy to hear” (Los Angeles Times) with “a sweet and clear sound, sensitive phrasing and gleaming sustained high notes” (New York Times). As one of the youngest winners of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, she is also an alumni of the Canadian Opera Company Studio Ensemble. As an active attendee, we take a look from the artist’s point-of-view.

As an artist, define your interpretation of Operanation.

I have always seen Operanation as the COC’s invitation to a young generation of Torontonians who may have yet to experience the Four Seasons Centre and the operatic art form in all of its glory. It’s an incredible introduction to opera thanks to collaborative performances with pop musicians, creative exhibitions, amazing food and drinks at the most glamorous venue in the city. In short, it is a night where guests are welcomed in true COC style, and everyone leaves feeling welcome, inspired, excited and eager to return for a full blown performance. Operanation shows the whole city that opera is meant for everyone, regardless of age, income bracket or experience. It breaks down the walls and shows people just how accessible and sensational opera can be.

You are a graduate of the Ensemble Studio – what does the support of the Operanation event mean for all current members?

The success of Operanation makes a huge difference in the lives of the young Ensemble Studio singer. Becoming a professional opera singer takes time, dedication and an incredible team of experts to show you the way. The COC brings in the very best singing teachers, coaches, language specialists, agents and masterclass teachers from all over the world. It gives each young singer a stipend to take additional singing lessons and pays each singer a living wage so that they can spend all of their time and energy honing their craft. This would not be possible without the financial support that comes from Operanation every year. By buying a ticket to Operanation, you are directly impacting the lives and growth of these young Canadian artists.

 What is your favourite part about attending as well as hosting the VIP dinner?

I love the feeling of giving back to a company that has been unbelievably supportive of me and of my career. The dinner is always exquisitely curated with a creative theme, wonderful food and great company. It’s a perfect way to meet other interesting, young professionals with a love of the arts. It’s a real VIP experience with fabulous conversation, lots of laughs and some stunning private performances. 

What are your thoughts on this year’s theme?

I love a slightly general theme because it opens the floodgates for tons of creativity. The fashion at Operanation is ALWAYS a highlight, so I love that “A Night of Curiosities” leaves enough room for attendees to go in whichever direction they choose. It also lays the ground work for some brilliant artistic collaborations, creations and experiences over the course of the evening.

Can you share anything about your fashion choices for the evening’s festivities?

I’ve been living out of my suitcase for the past three months, so I had to pick up a new piece for Operanation this year. As the host, I like to blend in a bit rather than completely clash with the artists or other speakers, so I’ve decided on a black, sequined Aidan Maddox number which should do the trick for both the glam dinner portion and full blown party mode for the rest of the night. Usually, I like to wear Canadian designers to Operanation, (last year, I was fortunate enough to be dressed by The Room at the Hudson’s Bay, and was gifted a gorgeous Sid Neigum gown) but given my busy travel schedule this month, a quick shopping trip was all I could manage, and there wasn’t anything quite right within the Canadian designed options. Next year!

Finally, if you can (even though you’ve performed so many), what is your favourite opera?

It would be impossible to pick a favourite opera to see or hear, but my favourite to sing is “Lucia di Lammermoor”. What soprano doesn’t dream of a 20 minute ‘mad scene’, dressed in a huge white wedding gown, covered in blood from head to toe, and brandishing a dagger. To me, it’s the soprano pinnacle.

There’s still time to purchase tickets by going online or by calling COC Ticket Services at 416-363-8231.