2023 National Capital Opera Competition

Gerald Finley, OC, Honorary Patron

The Competition

2023 NCOC Poster

Competition Poster
- click to enlarge -

Date and Time

The 2023 National Capital Opera Competition will take place .


The 2023 National Capital Opera Competition will take place in .

Getting There Despite LRT Construction: Because of construction work for the LRT, it isn't possible to take the usual route into the Congregation. Click here for a map showing the current access route to the Congregation.


Tickets may be purchased:

In advance, via Eventbrite

Premium: $49.26 ($45 + $4.26 Eventbrite fee)
Regular: $33.28 ($30 + $3.28 Eventbrite fee)
Student: $11.98 ($10 + $1.98 Eventbrite fee)

At the door

Premium: $45.00
Regular: $30.00
Student: $10.00


The prizes are:

For a history of the competition and a list of previous winners and their biographies, see the Competition page.

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The Program

The Competition Program unfolded as follows:

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The MC

Sandra Graham, MC

Mezzo-soprano Sandra Graham has established a worldwide reputation after winning top prizes in the International Vocal Competitions of s’Hertogenbosch in Holland, the Montreal International Competition, the Canadian Opera Company Mozart Competition, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra Competition and the Toulouse, France, International Vocal Competition. Miss Graham has appeared in concert and on the operatic stages of Germany, Canada, United States, Holland and China, and performed and recorded with Helmut Rilling, Christoff Penderecki, Charles Dutoit, and Vladimir Ashkenazy, appearing with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony, the Montreal Symphony, the Chicago Symphony, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Oregon Bach Festival, Wigmore Hall, the Canadian Opera Company, the Welsh National Opera, the Arizona Opera, and the Deutsche Oper am Rhein.

Sandra Graham has performed extensively in Germany, most often with the Staatstheater Stuttgart where she was a guest artist from 1992 until 2006 singing lead roles in Hansel und Gretel, Cenerentola, La Vie Parisienne, Idomeneo, Tristan und Isolde, Ariadne auf Naxos, and Cavalleria Rusticana. The distinguished mezzo’s recordings include Raminsh’s Songs of the Lights with the CBC Vancouver Orchestra, Mozart’s Requiem and Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass with the Slovak Philharmonic, and Prevost’s Ahimsa with the Toronto Symphony, The Sound of Music with the Cincinnati Pops, and a CBC recording of Harry Somer’s The Fool. Her recent performances of Respighi’s Il Tramonto and Vivaldi’s Nissi Dominus at the Incontro Chamber Music Festival in Italy were featured in a documentary by Bravo!

Sandra Graham was a professor of voice and directed the opera ensemble at the University of Ottawa from 1996 until 2020 and with her husband Ingemar Korjus toured China where they were invited to give concerts and master classes.

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The Finalists

In July 2023, the preliminary jury chose the following candidates for the competition recital:

Picture of Daniela Agostino

Daniela Agostino, soprano

Soprano Daniela Agostino is known as a “bright and agile soprano” (Stage Door) and is hailed for her “soaring and lively” voice (Opera Canada). She holds a master’s degree in performance and literature from Western University), where she studied with soprano Jackalyn Short. She was the winner of the London Opera Guild Scholarship in 2017 and most recently was awarded the Jacqueline Desmarais Foundation Scholarship for the production of performance videos. During her studies, she played Gretel from Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel, and First Lady in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte.

Picture of Jordan Baldwin

Jordan Baldwin, countertenor

Jordan Baldwin is a countertenor residing in Toronto. He is currently completing his MMus in Historical Performance at the University of Toronto under the guidance of Jean MacPhail and Daniel Taylor. This past summer Jordan was a part of the Opera Connections Program in France facilitated by Jeannette Aster.

Picture of Ariane Cossette

Ariane Cossette, soprano

Ariane Cossette, soprano, is part of the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio. She made her professional operatic debut as Frasquita in Carmen (COC). She performed in France in Choeurs Éternels concerts in 2018-2019. She is a Christina and Louis Quilico Awards second-prize winner and has received the support of many foundations.

Picture of Angela Gjurichanin

Angela Gjurichanin, soprano

Angela Gjurichanin is a soprano based in London, Ontario. In 2022, she was a District Winner for the Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition and won the Gordon Wallis Opera Competition. She had the privilege to perform the role of Nella from Gianni Schicchi with the Opera Workshop at Western in March, 2021 and she joined them again in performing Adina from L’elisir d’amore in March, 2022. Ms. Gjurichanin had her debut with the Regina Symphony Orchestra as the soprano soloist for Messiah in December, 2022 and had her international operatic debut this past summer singing Zerlina with the Lyric Opera Studio Weimar.

Picture of Kathryn Rose Johnston

Kathryn Rose Johnston, soprano

Kathryn Rose Johnston is an up-and-coming soprano on the Canadian opera scene, having recently been selected as a finalist with the Atelier lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal National Auditions. A graduate of the University of British Columbia and the University of Toronto, Kathryn has performed opera and concert across the country. Recent roles include Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, First Wood Sprite in Rusalka and Musetta in La bohème.

Picture of Angelo Moretti

Angelo Moretti, tenor

Canadian-Italian tenor Angelo Moretti made his professional debut in 2022 at Opéra de Montréal as Ruiz in Verdi’s Il Trovatore. He is a current member of Opera de Montréal’s Atelier lyrique and holds a Master of Music degree in Opera Performance from the University of Toronto’s Opera School. In 2023-24, Moretti joins the mainstage casts of Opera de Montreal’s Le Nozze di Figaro as Don Basilio and Don Curzio and La Traviata as Gastone and will sing Nemorino for the Orchestre symphonique de Drummondville.

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The Pianists

Thomas Annand, pianist

Thomas Annand won First Prize at the RCCO National Organ Competition and since then has pursued an active career as organist, harpsichordist, pianist and conductor. He was Director of Music at St. Andrew’s Church, Ottawa for three decades, giving over 200 recitals there, including a series of weekly recitals where he performed the complete organ works of Liszt, Franck, Widor and Mendelssohn. As harpsichordist he performed all the major works of Bach in seven marathon recitals in 2004-2005. He has appeared as a soloist with the National Arts Centre Orchestra and Les Violons du Roy, touring with them to Carnegie Hall on numerous occasions. He has been a featured artist in the Boston Early Music Festival, the Carmel Bach Festival, the International Congress of Organists and the . As a conductor he was the founder of Capital BrassWorks, with whom he recorded for the CBC SM5000 series, and a frequent guest conductor of the Thirteen Strings. He has appeared on film (Denys Arcand’s Le Règne de la Beauté), radio and television. In addition he has had his choral music published and performed and has contributed continuo realizations to editions of early music.

Maxime Dubé-Malenfant, pianist

Maxime Dubé-Malenfant is a pianist and vocal coach based in Montreal and Ottawa, Canada. As a vocal music specialist, Maxime has collaborated with professional singers and orchestras across Canada, including Les Violons du Roy, the McGill Chamber Orchestra (now known as the Orchestre Classique de Montréal) and the Sinfonia de Lanaudière, and was an apprentice coach with Opéra de Montréal for two years. Equally at easy in opera and in art song, he has performed recitals on many scenes across Canada. This Rimouski-born musician learned his craft at McGill University under the guidance of Michael McMahon, and at l’Université de Montréal with Maneli Pirzadeh.

Jennifer Szeto, pianist

Praised for “an immense sweetness and precision which seemed to be flawless” (L’Opéra) and “stunning versatility” (Opera Ramblings), Jennifer Szeto is a graduate of the San Francisco Opera Adler Fellowship, Canadian Opera Company Ensemble, and Merola Opera Program.

A passionate administrator and producer of new works, she joins Opéra de Montréal as the Director of the Atelier lyrique in the 2023-24 season.

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The First-Round Judges

Susan Blyth-Schofield, Judge

Susan Blyth-Schofield began her mosaic career in music as a performer in opera, operetta, musical theatre, and recitals across Canada and in Europe. She has performed at many venues in Ottawa, including at the National Arts Centre and has been heard on CBC Radio and seen on Belgian and Canadian television.

Susan is passionate about teaching and has maintained a private vocal studio for over thirty-five years in Ottawa, Toronto, Brussels, Geneva, and London. She joined Carleton Music as a performance instructor in 2002, has lectured in Opera and the History of Musical Theatre. She directed the Musical Theatre Ensemble from 2013 and is now the co-director of its successor—the University’s Lyric Theatre Ensemble. She holds a master’s in performance studies from City University and the Guild Hall (London, England), a Bachelor of Music in Performance from the University of Toronto and is an Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto. Susan is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, the Ontario Registered Music Teachers’ Association, the Canadian Actors’ Equity Association, and the Alliance of Canadian Television and Radio Artists. Susan is also a sought-after vocal adjudicator and gives frequent workshops and masterclasses. Behind the scenes, Susan has worked as a stage director of opera and musical theatre.

Sandra Graham, Judge

See MC.

Dr. Andrea Kovago, Judge

Dr. Andrea Kovago, lyric mezzo soprano comes to us from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. A sought-after solo performer throughout the United States and Canada, she has performed steadily in the areas of opera, oratorio, chamber music, music theatre and numerous solo and collaborative recitals throughout her career. In addition, Dr. Kovago is a distinguished and well respected voice and piano teacher, and has worked with countless students of all ages and levels for more than 30 years.

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The Final-Round Judges

Andrew Ager, Judge

Andrew Ager has written six operas as well as a catalogue of instrumental and vocal works. His music has been performed across Canada and internationally since 2002. He is also active as a pianist in Ottawa, both accompanying and playing solo works.

The 2023-24 season of New Opera Lyra includes two world premieres by Ager: The Mummy on October 27/28 and The Great Gatsby on April 19/20. Details may be found on the New Opera Lyra website.

Laurence Ewashko, Judge

Former conductor of the Vienna Boys’ Choir, Opera Lyra Ottawa Chorus and Cantata Singers of Ottawa, Laurence Ewashko celebrates his 33rd season of musical activity in the National Capital Region. As a choral clinician, conductor, vocal coach and adjudicator, he makes a significant contribution to the quality and appreciation of vocal music in Canada and abroad. Laurence has prepared choruses for many prestigious conductors, and he regularly does so at the National Arts Centre. A Full Professor of Choral Studies at the University of Ottawa, he conducts the School of Music’s two choirs, teaches choral conducting and voice as well as the Art Song seminar for graduate students. Many of his students have gone on to have successful careers in the opera stage including Philippe Sly, Wallis Giunta and Jean-Philippe Fortier-Lazure. Laurence is a recipient of the prestigious Leslie Bell Prize for Choral Conducting and numerous awards from the Canada Council of the Arts. His choir, Ewashko Singers (founded in 1992) perform regularly with the National Arts Centre Orchestra and have travelled across Canada and Europe.

Maghan McPhee, Judge

Maghan McPhee is a revered lyric coloratura soprano thanks to her sensitive artistry, precise musicianship, and luscious instrument. Maghan has sung with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the American Symphony Orchestra at Rideau Hall and Carnegie Hall.

Maghan is a curious artist and forever dedicated to her passion for exploring the human voice’s power and possibility. She imparts the training she received in New York and holds a private in-person and online studio. She is the founding executive director of the Breno Italy International Music Academy, a summer program dedicated to helping young artists awaken their artistry in a unique tailored program for singers, composers and flutists.

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