The Canadian Opera Company (COC) has named Cecilia Livingston as its new Composer-in-Residence, a program that is custom-tailored to each artist and created to support artistic growth and career advancement. The residency will last two years, and entail Livingston being mentored by and working with the company at various levels. During this time, the COC will work closely with Livingston on an artistic project showcasing her abilities and she will regularly collaborate with the company’s Ensemble Studio for emerging artists.
“It means the world to me to come home to Canada and make an ambitious new work with our national opera company,” said Livingston. “I admire the COC’s leadership in supporting Canadian artists on its international stage, and I’m thrilled to collaborate with the premiere presenter of live opera in this country.”
Prior to joining the COC, Livingston was composer-in-residence at Glyndebourne from 2019-2022, building on her already dynamic career that entailed fellowships with The American Opera Project in Brooklyn and Bang on a Can. Last summer, she joined the faculty at Banff Centre’s Opera in the 21st Century program, and her opera Singing Only Softly won the inaugural Mécénat Musica Prix 3 Femmes and was nominated for two 2020 Dora Mavor Moore Awards for Theatre (including Outstanding New Opera). Livingston’s work has also been performed in recital for Deutsche Grammophon’s Digital Stage by Canadian mezzo-soprano Emily D’Angelo.
In a statement, COC General Director Perryn Leech said: “Opera is an art form that continues to evolve and push boundaries like no other. I am committed to finding talented new artists to be part of that future and Cecilia’s ability to find a sound world that builds on what has gone before, and excites and enriches the stories yet to be told, stood out incredibly strongly amongst our many applicants. Cecilia already has a wonderful understanding of the voice and, while this residency will provide plenty of opportunity for honing that ability, it will also shed crucial light on the practicalities and day-to-day realities of mounting an operatic work–all important experience for a composer of new opera.”
“To me, the theatre is a place of empathy,” says Livingston. “Now, more than ever, we’re hungry for the immediacy of live performance. The singing voice is at the heart of my work, and its electric intimacy drives my thinking about structure, atmosphere, and pacing–about how we listen, and how music can unfold around a spine of melody to create opportunities for audiences to experience something profound.”
More details on the COC’s Composer-in-Residence program available here.
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