Artist of the Week 20 Qs for Colin Ainsworth

by | Dec 13, 2023 | Artist of the Week, Featured, News

 Canadian tenor Colin Ainsworth is in Toronto, preparing for a string of performances of Handel‘s Messiah with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, running Dec 17-23 (tickets and info here). He is joined by fellow Canadians mezzo-soprano Krisztina Szabó and baritone Joshua Hopkins, as well as soprano Lauren Snouffer, conductor Dame Jane Glover, and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir under the direction of Jean-Sébastien Vallée.

Most recently Ainsworth starred as Orpheus in Opera Atelier’s Orpheus and Eurydice (Gluck) and will join them later this season in their mixed program All is Love (tickets and info here). Other past highlights include performing Lensky in Seattle Opera‘s Eugene OneginAlfredo in Pacific Opera VictoriaLa Traviata,  and Pylade in Teatro Nacional de São Carlos Lisbons Iphigénie en Tauride.

This week we sat down and talked about the joys of being a father, cravings for the Canadian classic snack: Hawkins Cheezies, and how “the opera community is one big family”. Read on to find out more!

Favourite city that you’ve worked in?
I performed Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride in Lisbon, Portugal and loved my time there. Originally it wasn’t a city that I had put on my travel “to-go” list but I’m dying to go back. It is such a wonderful city with beautiful sights, food, and culture.

Favourite place?
I feel at home in Vancouver and go as often as I can. I love being close to the mountains, the ocean and all the outdoor activities that the West Coast offers.

Top 3 favourite composers?
It’s usually the composer whose work I’m currently working on but generally, I love Britten, Massenet, and Bach.

Top 3 favourite operas?

Eugene Onegin, Werther, and Roméo et Juliette.

What’s something most people don’t know about opera life?
One of the best things about opera life is the colleagues that you get to work with, sometimes from different countries or backgrounds. There are many times that these people become like family, especially since you spend extended periods working with them, eating with them, spending days off together, etc. But, in some cases, your paths never cross and you never work with them again but thankfully because of the internet, you can keep in touch. But, it does feel like the opera community is one big family in some ways.

Tent or hotel?
Both! My son and I have an annual summer camping trip, where we spend about a week in nature but as a singer and travelling, I do love a great hotel.

Coffee or tea?
Definitely coffee.

What’s your ancestry?

Are there more musicians in your family?
Both my grandfathers were musicians. My father’s parents were singers and guitar players and my Mother’s father was a tenor in Guelph. But, both my parents were born deaf so there was not much music in my house besides the radio.

What’s your favourite mind-calming practice?
Long-distance Running. It’s where I do my best thinking. After getting over the first 20 minutes or so of discomfort, my legs go on autopilot. I’ve signed up for another half-marathon in Vancouver next year.


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A post shared by Colin Ainsworth 🇨🇦 (@colinainsworth_tenor)

Where did you go to school?
I began my studies at Western University and continued at the University of Toronto.

What’s the luckiest thing that has ever happened to you?
My son is the best thing in my life! I’m so proud to be his Dad.

What was your childhood dream job?
I wanted to be a dentist (cue Little Shop of Horrors).

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Hawkins Cheezies.

Which TV show did you binge-watch last?
Beckham on Netflix but The Office (the American version) is constantly playing in my house. I think I’m on my 7th repeat run of the whole show now.

Do you have a funny joke for us?
My friend was showing me his tool shed and pointed to a ladder. “That’s my stepladder,” he said. “I never knew my real ladder.”

Do you enjoy cooking? If yes, what is your best dish?
I really enjoy cooking although, I’m not the kind of person that can look into a fridge and create a meal – I need a recipe. But, we do make a lot of homemade pizzas on the outdoor grill, experimenting with varying toppings, which we love!

What is something most people don’t know about you?
I have a motorbike.

As a performer, have you achieved everything you wanted to achieve?
I have so many operas that are on my bucket list and a few cities I’d still like to work in but, I’m very proud of the work that I’ve done thus far.

What does it mean to be brave with music?
It takes a lot of courage for a musician to be on stage, be vulnerable, and bear one’s soul. But, this transparency allows us to connect with our audience and effectively communicate the intent of what we are performing.

© Bo Huang
As Pylade with William Berger as Orestes
Teatro Nacional de São Carlos Lisbon’s Iphigénie en Tauride
Courtesy of x


Handel’s Messiah
Toronto Symphony Orchestra

December 17-23, 2023

 CONDUCTOR Dame Jane Glover

SOPRANO Lauren Snouffer
MEZZO-SOPRANO Krisztina Szabó
TENOR Colin Ainsworth
BARITONE Joshua Hopkins

CHOIR Toronto Mendelssohn Choir
ARTISTIC DIRECTOR Jean-Sébastien Vallée,

Dame Jane Glover leads your Toronto Symphony Orchestra; the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, prepared by Artistic Director Jean-Sébastien Vallée; and four outstanding soloists in Handel’s cherished oratorio, Messiah. Gather loved ones for this grand holiday tradition–a majestic performance will reign in your memory forever and ever.

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