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Key Change: A COC Podcast
50 minutes | Jun 8, 2021
Episode 16: An Opera House Like No Other
Celebrating 15 years since its opening in 2006, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto is a spectacular opera venue, community hub, and home to the Canadian Opera Company. This week, Robyn and Julie look back on the building’s origins, legacy, and future with three guests who all hold a very special connection to the performance space: Jack Diamond, lead architect of the Four Seasons Centre and co-founder of Diamond Schmitt Architects; Janice Oliver, who oversaw design and construction of the opera house; and world-renowned soprano Sondra Radvanovsky, a regular presence on the COC's mainstage. Join us for a collection of inspiring, heartwarming, and hilarious stories as we mark a milestone for this home of Canadian opera.
55 minutes | May 25, 2021
Episode 15: Opera & Criticism – Part II
This week on Key Change, Robyn and Julie revisit the topic of opera and criticism with Karen Fricker of the Toronto Star, with a focus on why reviews matter long after a performance run has closed. As a seasoned writer and academic, Karen makes the case for criticism as a historical record, shares her hopes for the future of performance art, and also helps draw parallels between opera and… circus!
61 minutes | May 11, 2021
Episode 14: Opera & Space – Scale and Immersion
In an art form often viewed as traditional and static, Yuval Sharon and Debi Wong are known for their experimental and unorthodox takes on opera production. From site-specific works that audiences drive through, to a virtual reality “choose your own adventure” experience, Robyn and Julie explore what happens when we push the boundaries of opera’s physical spaces and ask “What would opera look like, if it were created or invented today?”
55 minutes | Apr 27, 2021
Episode 13: Opera & the Body
When it comes to great opera, where is the line between artistry and athleticism? This week on Key Change, we explore all things physical in an episode dedicated to opera and the body. Performance Kinetics Consultant Jennifer Swan and Canadian mezzo-soprano Krisztina Szabó join Robyn and Julie for a look at how singers “feel”, manage, and successfully engage their breath and bodies during performance — as well as some new, holistic ways that artists are being trained for opera performance.
60 minutes | Apr 13, 2021
Episode 12: Opera & Contemporary Art
The worlds of opera and modern art collide in this lively discussion with Icelandic contemporary artist Ragnar Kjartansson and Adelina Vlas, Associate Curator of Contemporary Art at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Co-hosts Robyn Grant-Moran and Julie McIsaac discover how experiments in musical repetition and duration create freer experiences where audiences can explore works on their own terms.
27 minutes | Apr 10, 2021
Bonus Episode: In Conversation with Rebecca Caine
In this special bonus episode, Robyn and Julie are joined by soprano Rebecca Caine, a delightful storyteller and much-loved performer who has uniquely divided her career between opera and musical theatre. In this candid chat, Rebecca recounts colourful stories from the stage, thoughts on maturing within the performing arts industry, and shares what she is looking forward to most on the other side of the global pandemic.
59 minutes | Mar 30, 2021
Episode 11: Ask Us Anything
This week on Key Change, Robyn and Julie invite listeners to hop into the hosting seat with a special “Ask Us Anything” edition of the podcast. With a little help from some friends, they’re tackling everything you ever wanted to know about opera and breaking down some of the mystery that can still linger around the opera-going experience.
55 minutes | Mar 16, 2021
Episode 10: Opera & Criticism – Part I
Long-time music critic Anne Midgette has reviewed and interviewed everyone from opera powerhouse Luciano Pavarotti and famed dancer Twyla Tharp to director Spike Lee and performance artist Marina Abramovic. After 11 years with The Washington Post, Anne chats with Key Change co-hosts Robyn Grant Moran and Julie McIsaac about cherished memories, perspectives on the craft, and the rapidly evolving role of the modern arts critic.
47 minutes | Mar 2, 2021
Episode 9: In Conversation with Michael Greyeyes
Transcending the boundaries of artistic disciplines, actor/director/dancer/choreographer Michael Greyeyes provides fascinating insights into his multi-disciplinary career on stage and screen, how he has pursued his creative passions and the joy of collaboration. Join Michael in conversation with Key Change co-hosts Robyn Grant-Moran and Julie McIsaac.
57 minutes | Feb 16, 2021
Episode 8: Opera & Activism – Part II
What does it mean to be both a conductor and a disruptor? Through his work with neurodiverse, prison and other marginalized communities, Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser helps to extend the boundaries of classical music. Learn more about his boundary-breaking journey and his powerful experience with Washington National Opera in this insightful chat with co-hosts Robyn Grant-Moran and Julie McIsaac.
54 minutes | Feb 2, 2021
Episode 7: Opera & Activism – Part I
Explore how opera – past and present – serves as a space for activism. Join co-hosts Robyn Grant-Moran and Julie McIsaac as they speak with musicologist Rena Roussin, who studies activism and intersectional identity in art music. Find out how Mozart and Beethoven were subversive for their time and how opera, now more than ever, is a driving force for change.
42 minutes | Jan 19, 2021
Episode 6: In Conversation with Perryn Leech and Alexander Neef
Join co-hosts Robyn Grant-Moran and Julie McIsaac for an insightful chat with the COC's current General Director Alexander Neef and the company's incoming leader Perryn Leech. Hear their thoughts on the future of the art form, risk-taking, the genius of Freddie Mercury, and more, in this insider's glimpse into what it's like to lead a major opera company.
57 minutes | Dec 22, 2020
Episode 5: Visions for the Future
In our season 1 finale, co-hosts Robyn Grant-Moran and Julie McIsaac speculate on the future of opera and creation – including who will be telling those stories and who will be watching – in conversations with best-selling author Cherie Dimaline (Empire of Wild, The Marrow Thieves) and COC Composer-in-Residence Ian Cusson. Both hail from the same Georgian Bay community and share their views on creating for future generations, representing their communities, as well as some exciting updates on their own new opera.
56 minutes | Dec 8, 2020
Episode 4: Making Theatre Magic
Co-hosts Robyn Grant-Moran and Julie McIsaac explore how the visual elements of an opera production come together to create “magic” on stage. They speak to special guests, the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, former Governor General of Canada and a big fan of Wagner's Parsifal, acclaimed Canadian set and costume designer Michael Levine, and the COC’s own costume supervisor, Sandra Corazza, who shares her tricks of the trade.
58 minutes | Nov 24, 2020
Episode 3: Whose Story Is This?
What stories are we telling? Why do they persist? And how can we tell them differently – in a way that invites more people into the narrative? In this episode, hosts Robyn Grant-Moran and Julie McIsaac talk storytelling with soprano and multi-disciplinary artist Teiya Kasahara and award-winning theatre director Ravi Jain.
55 minutes | Nov 10, 2020
Episode 2: Sounds Like Opera
In this episode, hosts Robyn Grant-Moran and Julie McIsaac explore how we hear opera, with special guests musicologist Dr. Hannah Chan-Hartley and acoustician Bob Essert. They’ll take us through the history and science of why opera sounds the way it does, its evolution through the ages, and how it affects audiences on both a physical and emotional level.
71 minutes | Oct 27, 2020
Episode 1: Welcome to the Opera House
In episode 1 of Key Change, co-hosts Robyn Grant-Moran and Julie McIsaac chat with four guests from inside and outside the opera world about their first experiences with the art form - the good, the bad and the ugly. You'll hear from acclaimed American soprano Angel Blue, who saw her first opera at the age of four; Canadian visual artist Shary Boyle, who draws some amazing comparisons between opera and thrash metal bands; the COC's own Music Director, Johannes Debus; and soprano Midori Marsh, a new member of the COC’s Ensemble Studio training program for Canada’s rising opera stars.
3 minutes | Oct 13, 2020
Introducing Key Change
Meet the co-hosts of the COC’s new podcast, Key Change. Robyn & Julie are active opera artists and creators but, above all else, they're opera fans who care deeply about the art form, where it's headed, and how it's connecting with audiences today. Get to know some more about our hosts, then join us for our first episode, premiering October 27.
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