Artist of the Week 20 Qs for Colin Ainsworth

by | Mar 31, 2023 | Artist of the Week, Featured, News

This week Canadian tenor Colin Ainsworth—our Artist of the Week—opens Opera Atelier‘s long-awaited production of Handel’s The Resurrection singing the role of Saint John (running until April 9, tickets here). Afterwards, Ainsworth is Victoria-bound to perform in Pacific Opera Victoria‘s Friends of Timothy: Celebration Concert, a program specially curated by POV Artistic Director Timothy Vernon with soprano Suzanne Rigden, soprano Lauren Margison, mezzo-soprano Allyson McHardy and baritone Bruce Kelly on May 15.

Ainsworth’s past engagements have included appearances with The Royal Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Chicago Opera Theatre, Glimmerglass Opera, Opera Atelier, and the Greek National Opera. He also boasts a growing discography, which includes Naxos Record’s “Vivaldi’s Griselda” (featuring Carla Huhtanen, Lynne McMurtry, Jason Nedecky, Marion Newman, and Giles Tomkins), CBC Records‘s “Gloria in Excelsis Deo” with the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, and CentreDiscs‘s “A Play of Passion” featuring the music of Derek Holman with Stephen Ralls and Bruce Ubukata. 


When was your first singing lesson, and with whom?
I had my first lesson in grade 11 with Irene Ilic in Newmarket.

Drink of choice?
I’ll drink anything with caffeine but a soy latte is my drink of choice.

Top 3 favourite operas
It always changes but my three favourites are: Werther, Eugene Onegin, and The Rake’s Progress.

Who is a singer you admired from the past?
There are so many great tenors that I love listening to (Björling, Gedda, Pavarotti) but my current favourite is Alfredo Kraus. He had such wonderful finesse, refinement, and expressivity.

What’s your favourite orchestral instrument? Why?
When singing with an orchestra, I tend to be seated in front of the cellos. If I had to go back and learn a different instrument, it would the cello. It is such a wonderfully sonorous and warm sound, like a hug from a friend.

Tent or hotel?
Every year, my son and I go camping, which we absolutely love, but I’d take a nice hotel too.

What was the first opera you ever saw?
I’m not sure if this was my first opera but it was certainly the one that has stuck in my mind as my first: Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex/Symphony of Psalms at the former Hummingbird Centre. I remember being blown away by the staging, production, and singers. I hadn’t realized opera could be presented in that way and it was riveting.

What’s your ancestry?
My family is Scottish.

What’s your favourite mind-calming practice?
I love to run and will be running my next half marathon in May. My favourite part, after the initial 20 min of pain and everything in my body screaming at me to stop, is when my legs go on autopilot, the breathing slows down, and I can just let my body do its thing and let my mind wander.

What’s your favourite non-classical band?
I have way too many to name but I do love Patrick Watson and Coldplay.

Where did you go to school?
I began my studies at Western with Darryl Edwards and finished my degrees at the University of Toronto.

What book are you reading at the moment?
Handel in London: The Making of a Genius by Jane Glover.

Which TV show did you binge-watch last?
Jack Ryan

Which actor would be cast as you in a film about your life?
Matt Damon

Do you have a funny joke for us?
I’m always up for a good dad joke so….How does NASA organize a party? They planet.

Are you superstitious? 
I’m not so much superstitious as I have some things that I always do before/after a performance. At the end of a show, instead of clapping after the curtain has dropped I clap as the deaf do by shaking my hands in the air. It is also very close to the word ‘finished’ so a fun double entendre.

What is one very popular thing that you have no interest in?
Reality TV Shows

Which of your roles has had the greatest impact on your perspective?
The Rake’s Progress is a role that changed my perspective in terms of how to handle a role as a complete unit. Tom begins the opera as a self-centred and focussed on all the wrong things in life – wealth, fame, and his own desires. As he experiences each of these and the emptiness he feels, it begins a downward spiral into depression and sadness that overtakes him and his mind. It’s such a great character to play and such an huge journey from beginning to end.

Do your on stage experiences also feed into your personal life?
Yes, if I’m working on a comedy or lighthearted piece, my days working seem to be happier and joyful. When it’s a heavier piece, it tends to make me a bit more introspective and serious. I try not to bring “work” home with me but when you get in that character’s mind, it tends to spill into real life.

Favourite social media platform?

Colin Ainsworth © Bo Huang

Colin Ainsworth (Renaud) with Stephanie Novacek (Armide) in Opera Atelier’s Armide, 2005 © Bruce Zinger

Handel’s The Resurrection
Koerner Hall at the TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning

April 6, 8 and 9, 2023

Meghan Lindsay and Colin Ainsworth Ⓒ Bruce Zinger


Opera Atelier’s long-awaited production of Handel’s The Resurrection arrives fully staged at Koerner Hall, just in time for the Easter season. Handel’s expansive vision for this story of victorious rebirth is widely considered one of his greatest works. A ravishing harbinger of Spring, not to be missed!

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