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Opera opportunity: new production brings huge milestone for Calgary singers

This is a very exciting time for some talented young Calgary singers. They’re getting a rare chance to hit the stage in a way that gives their careers a big boost.

The opportunity comes as performers with the Calgary Opera rehearse the company’s new production of The Elixir of Love.

“It’s a romantic company with a little bit of tragedy and an aspect of swindling,” singer Branden Olsen said. “My character is always trying to sell things that aren’t actually real.”

The production brings a first for Olsen and other singers in the Calgary Opera’s training program – the chance to play the lead roles for one of the performances.

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“What’s significant is it’s actually very rare that young artist programs in Canada will let their young artists go on as these bigger roles,” singer Nicole Leung said. “It’s a very special moment for all of us of us, a huge milestone for the next generation of young artists in Canada.”

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The young singers are hoping it will help them build their careers in Calgary and beyond.

“It’s a neat opportunity for us to stretch our legs as performers,” singer Connor Hoppenbrouwers said.

Opera veterans working on the production are impressed by what they’re seeing from the young performers during rehearsals.

“They are working a lot and they are having fun, which is crucial for comedy,” director Pablo Maritano said. “They’re doing just great.”

Company leaders say this new initiative is working well.

“Here at Calgary Opera we are absolutely dedicated to supporting the next generation of young singers,” Calgary Opera CEO Sue Elliott said. “We cannot be happier about featuring this home team.”

The Elixir of Love runs Feb. 3, 4, 7 and 9 at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, with the singers in the training program playing the lead roles during the Feb. 4 performance.

“We’re all very excited,” Leung said, “and grateful for the opportunity.”

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