The Toronto Metro Youth Opera is coming of age.

The Toronto Metro Youth Opera Company is turning five. Since being founded 2010 by Kate Applin, the MYOC has been giving Toronto’s young and up-and-coming opera singers the chance to perform full roles on stage and be paid to do it. The company is celebrating this milestone with a modern edition of Hansel and Gretel in their 2014-2015 season.

Anton Mamine as Guglielmo, Alexandra Beley as Dorabella, in MYOC’s Cosi Fan Tutte, 2011. Photo by Gene Wu.

Hailing from Toronto, soprano Kate Applin holds an Honours BMus in Voice Performance and an Opera Diploma from Wilfrid Laurier University, where she studied under the tutelage of Kimberly Barber and Christiane Riel. After graduation, Applin realized that there were simply not enough opportunities in Toronto for young, talented opera singers.

“I didn’t know what happened between training and becoming a professional,” Applin says. “How do you get from one end to another? Kate decided to self-produce a production of Così fan tutte in which she and other Young Artists could perform. From this blossomed the MYOC, whose mandate is to be able to pay each member of the cast and team for their work. “The hardest thing is to get a company to take a chance on you,” says Applin. “So that is what we do. We take the chance on youngsters.”

Kate Applin, founder of Metro Youth Opera Company.

Over the past several seasons, the MYOC has employed 19 unique singers, music directors and stage directors to date. This includes stage director Alison Wong. Driven to explore and extend the Singer’s range in the craft of storytelling and performance, Alison began directing as an undergraduate at the Don Wright Faculty of Music at the University of Western Ontario.

Alison Wong, MYOC Stage Director.

Her recent credits include directing Metro Youth Opera’s Triple Bill and L’elisir d’amore. The MYOC’s triple bill consisted of La serva padrona, Mavra, and Le magician. It was the first show of its kind for the company, with one of the largest casts the company has had to date.

Giovanni Spanu as Vespone, Jenaka Welihinda as Uberto, Kate Applin as Serpina in La Serva Pandora. Photo by Greg King Photography.

This season’s show is the classic Brothers Grimm fairy tale Hänsel & Gretel originates from the medieval times of famine, warning young innocents of the dangers beyond an impoverished life. With a new production concept by Alison Wong, Metro Youth Opera turns Hänsel & Gretel into a modern day fable where our two young heroes must face the realities of their own urbanized world.

Lyndsey Promane as Hansel and Kate Applin as Gretel, 2014. Photo by Greg King Photography.

For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit the MYOC website.

 

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