The Magic Flute at the Music Academy of the West

Since the middle of June, I have been in Santa Barbara, California, attending the Music Academy of the West. It is a summer music program that brings over 100 musicians (singers and instrumentalists) together for 2 months, performing in concerts, masterclasses, and culminating with an opera.

Last night was our second and final performance of Mozart’s The Magic Flute. It was a spectacular production. Directed by David Paul and conducted by Warren Jones, we were in very good hands. It was, without a doubt, one of the most fulfilling and enjoyable productions of an opera I’ve ever been in.

For more information about the opera, check out the Music Academy of the West’s website. A review of the opera in the Santa Barbara Independent reads:

“There’s nothing else quite like The Magic Flute, and this bright and fun-filled production brought Mozart’s masterpiece fully to life.”

Here are some photos from the production, both from on the stage and behind the scenes!

Hello, Canadian Opera Company!

On November 29, 2012, I participated in the second annual Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio Competition in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre at the Four Seasons Centre. Out of the 10 finalists who were selected to perform in the final round, I was awarded 2nd place, which came with a cash prize of $3000.

Just this morning, the Canadian Opera Company announced that I will be joining the Ensemble Studio for the 2013-2014 season. More information can be found on their website. I am thrilled beyond words to be joining such an incredible company, and look forward to the exciting things that lie ahead when the season begins in August.

Così fan tutte

It seems like it was only yesterday, but it’s now been almost an entire month since we opened Mozart’s Così fan tutte at the University of Toronto. Directed by Michael Patrick Albano and conducted by Miah Im, it was a spectacular production and was definitely some of the most fun I’ve ever had on stage.

The response to the show was quite positive–and I got a pretty glowing review from Mooney on Theatre:

“Andrew Haji as Ferrando has a divinely beautiful tenor instrument. His sound is sweet, pure and powerful with remarkable control and consistency for a singer his age. The sensitivity of his sound commands pathos for his character. Once he has refined his dramatic abilities a bit more, he will be unstoppable.”

I’ll take it. :-)

Here are some photos from my cast’s dress rehearsal that took place on March 5th. All photos were taken by Richard Lu.

Rob Ford, the Opera

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past several weeks and haven’t already heard, the University of Toronto just mounted a production of Rob Ford, the Opera as part of its annual New Music Festival. Four student composers wrote music to a libretto written by our very own Michael Patrick Albano.

It was quite an experience, especially since I got to play the title role: Rob Ford, himself! Copious amounts of hair spray paint and make-up transformed me into the spitting image of His Highness. (Check out the pictures below.)

There was an unbelievable amount of buzz surrounding this production, evidenced by the fact that we managed to fill all 800 or so seats in MacMillan Theatre for our one and only performance on Sunday, January 22nd. Here are some photos, reviews, and videos I’ve collected from various websites.

Rob Ford: The Opera has packed crowd roaring with laughter (Toronto Star)

Rob Ford, the Opera: It’s an honour to be spoofed, right? (The Globe and Mail)

Rob Ford: Opera’s Lucky Charm (Torontoist)

People have been calling for an encore performance of the show, but given this was only really intended to be a workshop for student composers, it doesn’t seem likely to happen. In any case, it sure was a lot of fun to do.

Poulenc Double Bill Opens Tomorrow!

The University of Toronto’s production of Poulenc’s La voix humaine and Les mamelles de Tirésias opens in less than 24 hours! We’ve been working on the show for many weeks and I’m excited to finally perform it in front of an audience tomorrow.

On Thursday and Saturday I perform the role of the reporter from Paris, and on Friday and Sunday I will be the drunk Monsieur Lacouf, “friend” of Monsieur Presto. Here are a few photos to whet your appetite, courtesy of Bob Dunkin: