Finalists Announced For Canada's Biggest Opera Voice Competition

All proceeds from the evening support the COC's groundbreaking artist development program, the Ensemble Studio.

By: Oct. 21, 2022
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Finalists Announced For Canada's Biggest Opera Voice Competition

Following live auditions across the country, seven of Canada's most promising new opera singers have been selected to compete in the Canadian Opera Company's Centre Stage: Ensemble Studio Competition on November 3, 2022 at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. All proceeds from the evening support the COC's groundbreaking artist development program, The Ensemble Studio.

With a theme this year of "A Night in the Spotlight," the annual event aims to shed light on the newest generation of Canadian vocal talent while offering audiences an hour-long concert of some of opera's most beautiful musical numbers. The evening invites the public in for the live final round of the competition where finalists sing one last aria, accompanied by the acclaimed COC Orchestra, for a shot at cash prizes, invaluable performance opportunities, and the chance to be invited to join the COC Ensemble Studio.

Nearly 100 candidates applied to be a part of this year's process, with judges traveling nationwide to hear 64 young artists in-person, with stops in Calgary, Montreal, and Toronto. This year's competition finalists are:

  • Hannah Crawford, soprano
  • River Guard, tenor
  • Wesley Harrison, tenor
  • Matthew Li, bass
  • Laura Nielsen, soprano
  • Karoline Podolak, soprano
  • Korin Thomas-Smith, baritone

"All the young artists we heard have shown a dedication to their craft and an inspiring resilience to create, despite the obvious challenges of the past few years," says Dorian Cox, Director of the COC Ensemble Studio. "Each of our seven finalists has a unique voice, and demonstrates an extraordinarily high level of artistry. I can't wait to celebrate their well-deserved evening in the spotlight!"

On November 3, the singers will be evaluated by a judging panel comprised of:

  • Perryn Leech, COC General Director
  • Roberto Mauro, COC Director of Artistic Planning
  • Adrianne Pieczonka, internationally-celebrated Canadian soprano
  • J'Nai Bridges, two-time Grammy Award-winning American soprano

In an exciting, interactive element of the night, following the performances, audience members are invited to cast their vote for the Audience Choice Award winner.

As part of the fully inclusive Competition Experience ticket, attendees are treated to a complimentary cocktail reception, featuring canapés and refreshments curated by The Chase. With the Premium Spotlight Experience, attendees also enjoy a three-course dinner after the main event, presented in the stunning Henry N. R. Jackman Lounge, along with dedicated time to meet and mingle with competition winners, finalists, and current Ensemble Studio artists.

For full details on competition timing and tickets, please visit

Tickets for Centre Stage: Ensemble Studio Competition range from $150 for The Competition Experience to $1,000 for The Premium Spotlight Experience. They are available online at, by calling 416-363-8231, or by visiting the Four Seasons Centre Box Office in person at 145 Queen St. W.