Born and raised in St. John’s, Newfoundland, tenor Aaron Sheppard studied opera at McGill University in Montreal, where he received a bachelor of music. He is a past member of the Atelier lyrique, Opéra de Montréal’s young artists training program, and in the fall of 2015, he joins the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio.
Since discovering opera, Aaron already has several roles to his credit, including Hadji in Lakmé, Pong in Turandot, First Philistine in Samson et Dalila, Kronprinz in Silent Night and Joe’s Brother in Dead Man Walking (Opéra de Montréal); 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). He is also a recent winner of the Western Canada Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
A full house for Canadian art song at 21C
The Canadian Art Song Project itself has an unblemished history of presenting concert events that are thoughtful, wisely collaborative, and beautifully executed. No doubt, their high standards of concert-giving would extend beyond the realm of Canadian music; yet a trustworthy entity like CASP is a valuable tool in the large challenge of getting Canadian music written and heard. Simply put: if there's quality to the work, a sold-out crowd is no mystery.Read More
Tough to watch: Oksana G.
There's much about Oksana that's maddening. Kind and trusting people make risky and uninformed decisions, and evil people lie and harm others with no remorse; everyday people ignore cries for help from sex workers, and helpless parents, left without money or police, turn to fortune-tellers in times of desperation. Maddening as it may be - and easy as it seems to say, "I'm too smart to fall for that" - the story of human trafficking is true and happening now.Read More
Good first impressions: CASP's latest commission by Ana Sokolović
Sokolović's work brims over with imagination of sound. In setting the human voice, she never seems to run out of ideas, and with this new cycle, she brought out audible reactions of delight from the audience.Read More
A week in the Amphitheatre
It was Megan Quick's performance of Robert Fleming's The Confession Stone (The Songs of Mary) that left the deepest impression. She sang five songs from the Canadian set written for Maureen Forrester, and showed off an enormous, rich mezzo that seemed to shake the intimate Amphitheatre. Her performance was subtle and thoughtful, yet centred in the voice; she had us thinking of a young Jamie Barton, and we're excited to hear her on the big stage.Read More
Discomfort: Louis Riel at the COC
Perhaps without Hinton's supernumeraries, Louis Riel might have been more "comfortable" for Toronto audiences. With the faces of the affected placed right amid a piece of theatre that comes out of a Western European tradition, the production seems to mirror the slow, significant steps being taken by Canada as a whole, beginning with the acknowledgement of injustice within our country's short history.Read More
In review: An Evening with the Ensemble Studio
With the incredible COC Orchestra on stage surrounded by the set of their current production of Mozart's The Magic Flute, the night opened with the overture and first five scenes of Mozart's La finta giardiniera, then the stunning Norma/Adalgisa duet scene from Norma. After intermission they closed out the night with the final string of scenes from Handel's Ariodante.Read More
Perhaps the most surprising announcement is the appointment of Canadian soprano Jane Archibald as the COC's new Artist-In-Residence. Archibald sings leading roles in three of the company's mainstage productions next season, including two role debuts. She'll also perform in the Free Concert Series in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre at the Four Seasons Centre, and she'll work as a mentor to the members of the COC Ensemble Studio and the Orchestra Academy.Read More
Meet the contestants of A Little Too Cozy!
"Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never met?" That's the big question on the minds of the four hopeful, love-seeking contestants on A Little Too Cozy. Felicity and Dora have been getting to know Elmo and Fernando in that classically romantic way, texting. Soon, they'll join host Donald Alfonso and talent relations guru Despina for the finale episode of A Little Too Cozy, where they'll finally be able to go on a face-to-face date with the objects of their text-affections.Read More
Quasi review: The Ensemble Studio's Figaro
These annual performances are often a cornerstone for the members of the Ensemble Studio. It's a unique experience, both as a performance and as a learning process; rarely in their lives will these young artists have so much rehearsal time, coachings with multiple members of music staff, or compounded staging rehearsals (both as understudies and as principal roles).Read More
The COC Ensemble's Marriage of Figaro
On Monday, February 22nd at Toronto's Four Seasons Centre, the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio takes the main stage for their performance of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro. This is an annual highlight for the young artists, who take on the task of understudying the main cast, on top of countless hours of preparation for their very special night.Watch Video
#COC1516: the new Ensemble Studio
The Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio have kicked off the 2015/16 Free Concert Series in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre with their annual introductory concert, Meet the Young Artists. Eight singers and two pianists performed in what's called the "death by aria" style, each singer showing off an aria that shows what they do best.Read More
Banff Diaries: a postlude
Opening night brought audiences into a seedy bar, with intimidating bouncers, walls covered in sex toys and a floor littered with latex. Novelty aside, the team delivered in quality with two...arousing?...performances.Read More
Music as Theatre: a chamber concert in Banff
This week at The Banff Centre, the artists of Open Space: Opera in the 21st Century collaborated with the Master Class for Strings and Winds Program for an evening of chamber music at the Rolston Recital Hall. It sounds like your average chamber concert, but I promise you, it wasn't.Read More
Così fan tutte: misogynist, or just unreasonable?
The other day I was fortunate to hear Graham Forst speak about Così fan tutte. If Graham's last name sounds familiar, it's because his wife is the formidable mezzo-soprano Judith Forst; they're both gracing The Banff Centre with their presences, she to teach, and he to get our minds a-spinning.Read More
What's my line?
I asked the casts of A Little Too Cozy and Crush to send me their favourite lines from their respective librettos. Read on, and get curious about these shows. Bonus points if you can identify which bits are Ivany, and which are Chatterton.Read More
Opera Karaoke Night, Round 2
Another Friday night, another Opera Karaoke night at the Royal Canadian Legion in Banff. The singers and pianists of Open Space: Opera in the 21st Century ventured down the mountain for some great music and good beer. This time, we were heavy on the duets (think La bohème and The Phantom of the Opera), and the Legion patrons even got a sneak peek of Against the Grain Theatre's upcoming A Little Too Cozy. Of course, our favourite #operababy, Sammy, joined us too.Read More
AtG in Banff, 2015
This summer at the beautiful Banff Centre, Against the Grain Theatre and the Canadian Opera Company collaborate for the second consecutive year, with Open Space: Opera in the 21st Century. This year, they'll put up two shows, one of which is A Little Too Cozy. The third in his transladaptations of the Mozart/Da Ponte operas (Figaro's Wedding, #UncleJohn), AtG Artistic Director Joel Ivany writes an original libretto to Mozart's Così fan tutte.Read More
Meet the cast of A Little Too Cozy: Ferrando
Newfoundland-born tenor Aaron Sheppard is heading to the Banff Centre this summer, to sing Ferrando in [Against the Grain Theatre](http://againstthegraintheatre.com/)'s A Little Too Cozy (libretto by Joel Ivany, music by Mozart).Watch Video
Centre Stage 2014: Let's Hear It For the Boys
Last night the seven finalists of the COC's Ensemble Studio Competition sang on the stage of the Four Seasons Centre for the second annual Centre Stage Gala. I like this event, and I like the hype it brings to this exciting part of today's opera world. This year, Centre Stage was hosted by Canada's favourite tenor, Ben Heppner, who was as warm and funny as he was respectful of the competitors.Read More