2014 Ensemble Studio Finalists

Tenor Charles Sy of Toronto took home first prize and the Audience Choice Award at the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio Competition on November 25, 2014, at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. Sy was selected from seven finalists to receive the $5,000 award. Baritone Dimitri Katotakis of Toronto, won the second prize of $3,000, and tenor Aaron Sheppard of St. John’s, N.L.., was awarded the third prize of $1,500. In addition, Sy was selected by the audience as the winner of the Audience Choice Award, worth $1,500.

Zoe Band

Mezzo-soprano Zoe Band is a native of Toronto. She graduated from the Peabody Conservatory with a bachelor of music and a master of music in voice performance. Her roles with Peabody Opera include Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Miss Benson in Lakmé, Ferdinand in Ariel’s Tempest, Betty Parris in The Crucible, Anna in The Trio and Zinniein Dora. Additional credits includeLucretia in The Rape of Lucretia (HexaCollective); Hansel in Hansel and Gretel (Toronto Summer Opera and Little Patuxtent Opera); and Patricia Hutton in Camelot Requiem (The Figaro Project).

Eliza Johnson

Eliza Johnson grew up in Stratford, Ontario, and earned a bachelor of music in voice performance and a master of music in opera from the University of Toronto (UofT). Her UofT roles included Governess in The Turn of the Screw, Adina in L’elisir d’amore, Despina in Così fan tutte, Rob Ford’s Mother in Rob Ford: The Opera and Lucy in The Telephone. Recently, she appeared as Pamina in The Magic Flute (Opera Lyra’s Opera Studio) and Soeur Valentine in Dialogues des Carmélites (Opera Theatre of Saint Louis/OTSL). In 2014, Ms. Johnson was part of the COC Chorus for the company’s productions of Così fan tutte and A Masked Ball. Upcoming roles include Berta in The Barber of Seville (OTSL).

Dimitri Katotakis

Born in Toronto, Dimitri Katotakis currently studies at McGill University where recent roles include Demetrius in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Lorenzo in Capuleti e i Montecchi. He earned his bachelor of music in vocal performance from the University of Toronto where he sang the roles of Belcore in L’elisir d’amore, Guglielmo in Così fan tutte,and M. Lacouf and Le Fils in Les Mamelles de Tiresias. Other credits include Escamillo and Le Dancaïre in Carmen,and Harlekin in Ariadne auf Naxos (Opera NUOVA); Le Podestat in Le Docteur Miracle (Stu&Jess Productions); Masetto in Don Giovanni (Centre for Opera Studies in Italy); Curio in Giulio Cesare (Aradia Ensemble); and Chorus in of Der Entführung aus dem Serail  and Le nozze di Figaro (Opera Atelier).

Nathan Keoughan

Charlottetown native Nathan Keoughan received a bachelor of music from the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) and completed a master’s degree in vocal performance at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston (NEC). Credits include Luka in The Bear, Angelotti in Tosca and Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte (Highlands Opera Studio/HOS); Pankrol in Milk Bar (Mount Allison Opera Studio); Colline in La Bohème (Cowtown Opera and HOS); the Mayor in Dr. Miracle and the Lackey in Ariadne auf Naxos (NEC); Roy Gardner in Anne & Gilbert (Harbourfront Theatre); and Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor (Opera by Request). Upcoming roles include Dr. Dulcamara in Elixir of Love (Cowtown Opera).

Aaron Sheppard

A native of St. John’s, Newfoundland, Aaron Sheppard is currently a member of the Atelier lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal (OdM). His OdM credits include Hadji in Lakmé, Pong in Turandot, First Philistine in Samson et Dalila, Kronprinz in Silent Night and Joe’s Brother in Dead Man Walking.  Additional roles include Tamino in Die Zauberflöte and Bonario in Volpone (Opera McGill); Pedrillo in Die Entführung aus dem Serail and Monostatos in Die Zauberflöte (Salzburg Festival Young Singers Project); Ferrando in Così fan tutte (Jeunesses Musicales du Canada); the title role in Albert Herring and Prince in Rusalka (Opera NUOVA); and Brooklyn Boy in Lillian Alling (Banff Centre). Mr. Sheppard is also a recent winner of the Western Canada Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. .

Michelle Siemens

Calgary-born mezzo-soprano Michelle Siemens received her bachelor of music from the University of Toronto (UofT) and is currently earning her master’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music. Recent roles include Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and La Suora Infermiera in Suor Angelica (Opera on the Avalon); Dido in Dido and Aeneas (Yorkshire Opera Workshop); and Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro, Ocypete in The Harpies and A Woman in Riders to the Sea (Halifax Summer Opera Workshop). Ms. Siemens has also trained at the Canadian Vocal Arts Institute, the Centre for Opera Studies in Italy (COSI) and NUOVA Opera Intensive. As a chorus member, she has appeared in productions with UofT and COSI.

Charles Sy

Toronto native Charles Sy currently studies at the University of Toronto (UofT), earning a master of music in opera performance. His UofT credits include Mr. Owen in Postcard from Morocco, Ralph Rackstraw in HMS Pinafore, Mayor Upfold in Albert Herring, Alamão in Pedro Malazarte, and covering the title role in Rob Ford: The Opera. Additional credits include Remendado in Carmen (Opera by Request); Lechmere in Owen Wingrave (Banff Centre); Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni (Opera NUOVA); Paolo in The Wings of a Dove (The COSI Connection); and Basilio and Curzio in Le nozze di Figaro (Toronto Summer Opera Workshop). In 2015, he will sing the role of Adolfo in La Rondine with Opera Theatre of St. Louis. .