"After successful performances throughout Canada and abroad, through my participation in HOS, I met and sang for Bruce Zemsky who has since signed me to the Zemsky/Green Roster in NYC and I have recently made my Met debut. The high level of training and networking opportunities in an intimate environment make HOS a truly invaluable experience." – Peter Barrett, baritone
SET IN THE BEAUTIFUL SURROUNDINGS OF THE HALIBURTON HIGHLANDS IN CENTRAL ONTARIO, CANADA, HIGHLANDS OPERA STUDIO PROVIDES ADVANCED OPERATIC EXPERIENCE TO A SELECT GROUP OF TALENTED YOUNG PROFESSIONALS WITH THE MAIN OBJECTIVE OF PROVIDING THESE SINGERS WITH THE NECESSARY SKILLS TO EMBARK ON A CAREER IN OPERA.
Highlands Opera Studio was established in 2007 by internationally acclaimed Canadian tenor, Richard Margison, and former Metropolitan Opera stage director, Valerie Kuinka, as a professional training program and performing arts organization to help young, highly qualified, emerging professional singers make the transition from University-level training, to the professional world of opera, both on the national and international level.
Operating 2 1/2 hours north of the GTA in the town of Haliburton, in the heart of the Haliburton Highlands, HOS has grown from a 3-week summer session in 2007, to a 5-week intensive program running July 31 to August 31, in 2017, providing advanced professional training, highly specialized coaching, and international networking opportunities through visiting opera professionals (vocal teachers/coaches, conductors, directors, agents, etc.), along with performance experience through several concerts, public masterclasses, and 2 fully-staged operas.
Richard and Valerie have always felt that these young accomplished artists, who are selected through competitive audition from across Canada, should no longer be expected to pay for an advanced training summer program. Therefore, the program, including accommodation, is offered free of charge to Canadians. The cost to HOS of this sponsorship is approximately $8500 per participant for the 6 week period. Every year approximately 20-25 participants are chosen (22 singers, and one collaborative pianist this year), which means fundraising is a big part of Richard's and Valerie's year round activities.
The program provides 6 hours of professional training a day, 6 days a week, including private coaching, masterclasses, auditions, seminars on related topics ('Finding an Agent', 'Financial Planning', etc.), and staging/music rehearsals. Accommodation and lunches are provided. Other meals are the responsibility of the participant.
In Valerie's words:
"We have been embraced by the community of the Haliburton Highlands. Although our theatre is small (225 seats) and we present with piano only, we have witnessed audience members moved to tears by the sheer beauty and power of the human voice and the intimacy of the vocal and dramatic experience. Being situated where we are, we are bringing the art form, vocal excellence and awareness, and the young artists themselves, to a rural region well outside the GTA, providing a level of enrichment to the local residents that was previously unknown. However, with our reputation growing rapidly outside the region for providing not only the highest level of professional development for our participants, but also an unparalleled audience experience of intimate interactive opera at the highest level, we feel we are offering something truly unique, and exciting."
In Richard's words:
"Our long range goals include bringing more people to our performances, and to the beautiful region of Haliburton County. Although one of the primary vacation and summer leisure destinations in Ontario, many people are surprised to learn that Haliburton County is the most economically depressed county in Ontario. We want to help by building on our growing reputation as a place to experience the best young voices Canada has to offer in an intimate, interactive performance environment unlike anywhere else, and feature and promote the beauty and resources that the region has to offer."
The majority of our financial support comes from both the private and government sectors, with our biggest supporter being BMO Financial Group.
Highlands Opera Theatre (producers of Highlands Opera Studio) is a registered charity.
From September to June, Richard Margison and Valerie Kuinka offer advanced vocal, dramatic, and scene study training for very advanced singers aspiring to a professional career in opera.
Performance and networking opportunities available. Application and acceptance through private interview and audition.
To request an audition, please contact 905-640-5235 or INFO@MARGISONKUINKA.COM
Auditions for our 2017 program are now closed. If you're interested in being notified about future auditions, please fill in your contact info below.
Highlands Opera Studio participants who owe program fees can use the button below to make payments.