Talking with singers: Joyce El-KhouryNovember 02, 2015Jenna SimeonovInterview
Canadian soprano Joyce El-Khoury is the perfect person to ask about Violetta Valéry, the heroine of Verdi's beloved La traviata. She has sung the role in over twelve productions, including at De Nederlandse Opera, Welsh National Opera, the Canadian Opera Company, and currently with the Royal Opera Covent Garden.
We met Joyce between performances in Toronto to talk about the role she knows so well, and what's good about the Canadian opera scene. For details and ticket info for the COC's La traviata, follow the box office links below.
Jenna is the editor and co-creator of Schmopera.com. She's also a pianist, vocal coach, and répétiteur, and working with singers is how she fell in love with opera. Her favourite operas include Peter Grimes, Ariadne auf Naxos, Tristan und Isolde, Written on Skin, and Anna Nicole.
In review: La traviata at ROH
The broad-strokes architecture of the opera's four sets are a clean contrast against the ladies' luxurious dresses, even against the messy humanity of Verdi's simple, classic tale of love and the opinions of others. Joyce El-Khoury's Violetta comes with easy charisma, and a strong desire to maintain composure and dignity. El-Khoury matured along with Violetta's story, yet somehow retained a young voice, full of the best intentions. Her third-act aria, "Addio del passato" was the highlight of the night.Read More
Spotlight on: Claire Kuttler
"Get right with failure (again, a constant work in progress). Keep working hard, there is value in working hard no matter the outcome. You don't know half of what you think you know. Get right with being humble. Read books. Study foreign languages more. Watch more comedies than tragedies (I still don't follow this one)."Read More
Talking with singers: Jamie Barton
"This seems a bit cliché in terms of mezzo roles, but dude, throw me a Carmen. I would love to sing a Carmen. I think I would sing the pants off of her. And she's also, once again, a character who is so fascinating to me, psychologically." Barton is eager to portray opera's infamous, hedonistic femme-fatale as "someone who is not the typical body type. I think that is an envelope I would love to try and push, given the right director and the right production."Read More
Talking with singers: Anna Devin
Devin feels "completely at home in Handel" and relishes the collaborative process of pulling the music off the page. "You can't actually be wrong; you can have a difference of opinion between you and the conductor, but there's nothing to say that you're wrong. And I quite like that, because it means we can have interesting discussions about why you should do one thing and why you shouldn't do another."Read More
Talking with singers: Alan Held
Currently, bass-baritone Alan Held is in Toronto, a common stop for him in recent seasons, to sing the Wanderer in the Canadian Opera Company's production of Siegfried, opening January 23rd. He chats about being patient with big roles, building stamina, and Wagner as bel canto.Watch Video
Talking with singers: Leah Crocetto
American soprano Leah Crocetto is a Cardiff BBC Singer of the World, a Metropolitan Opera National Council Audition Grand Finals Winner, a former Adler fellow at San Francisco Opera, and this season, she made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Liù in Franco Zeffirelli's iconic production of Turandot.Read More
Talking with singers: Peter McGillivray
"I came to opera a little bit later," says McGillivray, who studied English, history, and Political Science before turning his attention to singing. "I think it was helpful for me to have to make the conscious decision to study this, because in the end you do decide that it's the only thing you can do."Read More
Talking with singers: Nicole Cabell
"There's a part of me, and every singer I know, that wants to settle down and have a normal job and a family, and all that. But then there's this other part, and I think if you don't have this, you're gonna have a hard time. There's this other part where you're really restless if you're not aways going, and having crazy adventures. *Wanderlust*, I guess. I have that in me."Read More
Talking with singers: Jorell Williams
Jorell Williams is a baritone based in New York City, back home after a busy summer with Santa Fe Opera's Apprentice Program, singing in productions of La fille du régiment, Rigoletto and the world premiere of Jennifer Higdon's Cold Mountain.Read More
In review: La traviata at the COC
Last night the Canadian Opera Company opened its new production of La traviata, and I was officially excited. La traviata is done often, but it's another thing to hear it done really well. I got my fix at the Four Seasons Centre with the first of two casts singing the 11 shows between now and November 6th.Read More
Talking with Singers: Jennifer Holloway
American singer Jennifer Holloway is currently in Toronto, all set to make her Canadian Opera Company debut as Donna Elvira in Dmitri Tcherniakov's production of Don Giovanni, which opens January 24th. She was kind enough to sit down with me and talk about the character of Donna Elvira, about sympathizing with the Don, and about Mozart's sense of feminism.Watch Video
Talking with Singers: Simone Osborne
Vancouver-born soprano Simone Osborne is no stranger to the stage at the Four Seasons Centre. She’s sung Oscar in Un ballo in maschera (2014), Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi (2012), Gilda in Rigoletto (2011), Pamina in Die Zauberflöte (2011), and she’s mid-run as Nannetta in the Canadian Opera Company’s current production of Falstaff.Watch Video
Talking with singers: Alice Coote
British mezzo-soprano Alice Coote was in Toronto until very recently, singing Dejanira in Peter Sellars' production of Hercules at the Canadian Opera Company. Alice is in demand all over the world, known for trouser roles (Octavian, Sesto, Ruggiero, le Prince Charmant), and utterly versatile across the stylistic board.Watch Video
La traviata at the Canadian Opera Company
Interested in getting a monthly recap of all the interesting things happening in the land of opera? Sign up to our newsletter and we'll be happy to send one out to you!